Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

#ThanksgivingReadathon | Jorie’s #mustread List for #Mythothon (otherwise known as the STORIES Jorie didn’t want to stop reading after she reached page *25!*)

Posted Friday, 23 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

#ThanksgivingReadathon badge created by Jorie in Canva

This lovely readathon is hosted by Jackie @DeathbyTsundoku

You can find the Announcement Page on her lovely blog!

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

For the past three days, I’ve been reading the FIRST *25!* pages of all my borrowed #Mythothon Reads via my local libraries! Yes, you read correct, multiple libraries were involved! I wasn’t able to tweet each of the days I was reading as since Wednesday night & early Thursday morning, I have been in *severe!* pain!

Funny story short – when your selecting a special priced *ham!* from a bin in the Meat Dept. be sure to PICK IT UP with both your hands and DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE how much it weights! I literally threw my back out and the severity of the pain made it IMPOSSIBLE To read / type in any kind of combination. I’ve popped on as I could to give small updates but blessedly, after rotating hot/cold compresses I’ve been able to resume a slightly more ‘normal’ groove – hence, if you start to see reviews & posts magically populating my blog’s archive, you’ll understand ‘why’… Laughs with a smirk.

This post is to re-acquaint  myself with the *thirteen!* stories which made my cut – the ones which I achingly had to put into the “Keepers Stack” in order to dig through the rest I borrowed to find the rest of the ‘gems’ I wanted to be reading for #Mythothon!

Ironically, I had originally envisioned spending 30! days on #Mythoton & #RRSciFiMonth – in the end, I’ve spent a fortnight so far reading my Sci Fi November selections (reviews are still forthcoming have no fear!) and I’ve only spent 72+ hours reading my #Mythothon selections! Thus, I’ve amended how those Mythos stories are going to be blogged! I’m starting off with this (post) to tuck into the 13 Stories which I knew in *25!* pages these writers were giving me something wicked lovely to contemplate and muse over as I read their #awesomesauce stories!

Next, I’ll be back-posting (Thursday)’s post which are the DNF selections – the stories which held either early promise OR repulsed me so quickly off the bat, there was simply no hope of return!! Those are the ones boomeranging back to the libraries so quickly I could have had whiplash! They might be ones who will resonate with other readers, but for me, as you will soon find out – there was *something!* not quite my cuppa within their pages!

Afterwards, I’ll be back-posting (Wednesday)’s post which is a continuation of gushing JOY over having discovered the magically lovely world-building within the Japanese set “A Mortal Song” which was truly absorbed & discovered the very day #ThanksgivingReadathon kicked off and entered my life! It will also serve as a journal about how a girl & her Mum can tuck into a diner late at night after a petrol accident (ever have a gas station have contaminated air?) to ‘clear’ their lungs — chattering about everything but specifically how this #Mythothon is giving me such a delightfully unexpected passage into a ‘hidden niche’ of literature I never knew existed! I also recapped the WHOLE twenty-five pages of “A Mortal Song” – so I’ll be trying to recapture that night – whilst discussing what we ate and drank; staying til nearly close and musefully enlightened with the joyfulness of Crewe’s artful story-telling!

Settle in with your favourite brew & cuppa in hand – soak in my ruminations over these enchanting twenty-five pages – per each novel of the stack of *13!* and find out why I, Jorie, wishes to DEVOUR the rest of the pages – maybe I’ll find beloved & cherished reads, maybe I’ll find myself pulled out of them at some unknown future page – all I know, is initially as I read these cleverly writ pages, I was fully absorbed through the vision each author had for their stories!

Come with me as we chase after #Mythos & #Mythologies – specifically attempting to focus on the Greeks with a few diversions along the way! Come share with me your own travelling routes in the comments & let’s rock out #Mythothon in the joyfulness of combined discoveries!!

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

#ThanksgivingReadathon TBR List badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit jorielovesastory.com

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#ThanksgivingReadathon TBR List created by Jorie in Canva

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My #25PagePreview of my #Mythothon Reads

during the 2018 #ThanksgivingReadathon !!

ALL the stories featured today
were #borrowed via my local #library!

I do earmark which ones were ILL’d but overall, for the most part, I lucked out by pulling from the locals which had a rather IMPRESSIVE selection of Mythos in Fiction!!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

Site | @megancrewe | Pub’d by Another World Press
*Ill’d (inter-library loan)

Notation on Cover Art: I was truly taken by the artistry of the cover art design for ‘A Mortal Song’ as it held my eye, never letting turn away and told a story of its own! I love artwork like this which is custom made for the story – it gives you more dimension and a hugged in feeling as if the artist and the writer were in symmetry with each other! I had such high hopes for this one – I had no idea between the evoking artwork and the promise of the premise, I would literally find my first #Mythothon selection I wanted to hug + shout out about to the world!

A bit of a background – I personally have loved Japanese culture, tradition, customs and art ever since I was a young girl as my maternal grandparents were collectors of their art and music. I grew up knowing quite a bit about Japan as a result from a cultural perspective whilst as I grew into a teen, I started to correspond with Japanese friends through postal letters, enhancing my knowledge of their customs (such as the tea ceremony) and the contemporary living histories of my friends as we would exchange memories and traditions in our letters. As an adult book blogger, I learnt more through my readings of the Shinobi / Hiro Hattori novels by Ms Spann, as her stories are set in the 16th Century but illuminated as if we were time travelling straight back into that era and can alight as if we’re meant to live then rather than now! Thus, finding a story involving the ‘kami’ was another element of intrigue for me and one I wanted to readily explore.

Dear hearts, this novel was published in [2016] and I must confess, my copy of the novel appears to have been read either by readers who leave no trace like I do for having read their stories OR I’m the first bookish heart whose graced the pages with her imaginative heart. Either way, it felt super special dipping into this world and seeing the wonders which IMMEDIATELY started to unfold!

As I am composing a special post featuring A Mortal Song – comprising of the JOY of finding this story was breathed to life in such a unique way of giving me a fantastical quest and journey into not just the mind of Crewe but into this part of Japanese folklore and Mythology, I shall leave these short takeaways to entice you to wait for my further revelations of why this readerly girl and her Mum felt enchanted together for the symbolic beauty awaiting everyone who picks this story up for themselves to experience!

Verdict? (see also this tweet!) & (see also this tweet, too!)

How do you prepare yourself to extract yourself from a WORLD you’re so dearly captured by you literally can’t think of anything else but ‘turning’ the next pages, falling further into the story and sorting out the Mythos along the way? I dearly wanted to stay up through the night & simply DEVOUR this until every last word was breathed into my imagination – however, life has a strange way of working against you at times! My back pain & injury left me unable to devout the night to “A Mortal Song” but my mind & heart never fully left its world; the pull it had on me was FIERCE!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #ThanksgivingReadathon 2018
Divider

Posted Friday, 23 November, 2018 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, #ThanskgivingReadathon, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, RALs | Thons via Blogs

#ThanksgivingReadathon | as #JorieReads and discovers her *first!* book hug: “A Mortal Song” by Megan Crewe

Posted Wednesday, 21 November, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#ThanksgivingReadathon badge created by Jorie in Canva

This lovely readathon is hosted by Jackie @DeathbyTsundoku

You can find the Announcement Page on her lovely blog!

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

There are some stories which feel as if their world is not wholly unfamiliar to us, as if our first entrance into their setting is a returnt visit rather than the initial immersion! This is how I felt about reading A Mortal Song. The story which was unfolding right before my eyes was the kind of story you truly are hopeful to discover – where the author & the world they’ve left behind for us to find is achingly lush and spilling out into your imagination as if you’ve crossed this fantastical threshold many times and have become so familiar with what you’d see, you do not need a guide nor a map in hand to find your way again.

Of all the stories I borrowed from the libraries, this was the one I was most anxious about – I had no idea if it would even arrive in time, as I had to fetch it through inter-library loan – so imagine my happiness in finding it amongst the #libraryhaul selections I collected just ahead of the #ThanksgivingReadathon getting underway! It felt rather kismet – I was meant to read this story right now and it was a story which would evoke such an awareness of itself inside my mind, if I had been able too – I would have truly done as I tweeted: forsaken sleep and DEVOURED it straight-through on Wednesday night!

However, as I revealled on my #ThanksgivingReadathon TBR post – a serious back injury prevented me from being able to sit, type and read for any length of time. Hence why I grabbed an hour here or a few hours there between Wednesday & Friday to where I could chisel down my library holds into the thirteen stories I was most anxious to read in full! A Mortal Song simply percolated to the top of the list as soon as the world gave me something I was seeker as a reader who loves to #EnterTheFantastic whenever she can!

Nothing about Thanksgiving week went according to plan – not in the hours to read, not in the hours to plan a Thanksgiving feast and surely not, the ‘day’ in which we’d celebrate Thanksgiving. For starters, Mum was called into extra & double shifts – blessedly, our family is the most adaptive when it comes to holidays, as it was something we were always doing when my Dad worked as his industry was 24/7 as much as Mum’s is now. We decided we could cook the bird on Friday and feast after her shift; which turnt into cooking the bird from 8p to 1a on Friday rather than the morning/afternoon until after a double shift we decided a lighter dinner of chicken melted cheese sandwiches was closer to being a cosy comfort than a full-on turkey dinner with the fixings! Thereby, we re-shifted our plans once again – to where the bird is cooking happily in the oven (today) which is Saturday, by 7a the day of the #Mythothon chat! (hence why I’m trying to get two of my posts up on my blog ahead of it!)

Travelling back to Wednesday, a day and night which altered itself per hour – Mum and I found ourselves in a neighbouring towne, shopping for last minute bits for Thanksgiving and our weekly groceries – as sometimes, you just want a switch-up from going to your regular local haunts as it can become a strain of familiarity. Not to mention, our local shoppes and stores were more Grinch than Eggnog cheer this year; so by switching cities, we were able to find the ‘jolly’ we were dearly missing otherwise!

It was here, amongst free samples from cooking demos, bakery delights & deli specials we found our little cozy comfort of joyfulness the holidays generally exhume into our lives!! It was on our return trip where everything went slightly haywire – we passed by a petrol station and that is where our lungs & our eyes were inundated by a petrol leak! It contaminated the air in the car & I personally could not breathe – I have horrid environmental & seasonal allergies – which wasn’t helping at all to curb the smell – as I was trying to breathe through my shirt (and failing miserably!), I told Mum to head towards the diner which was slightly outside of the city back towards home.

There was wood smoke outside and petrol in the car – ironically enough with a biting chill to the air which gave us the most hope of all the smell would erase whilst we were tucked into the warmth of the diner. This is after hours for most places – well past the hour you’d think a place would be open but it is one of those dives you can’t help but return due to a kind-hearted staff and cosy comfortable foods! I grabbed all the bags full of our food choices and slammed the doors to walk in the brisk air and try not to hyperventilate in a delayed panic reaction to lack of breath!

As we made our ways into the front section of the diner (as who knew they’d be slammed the day before Thanksgiving?) – we settled in for coffee and conversation, as what is better than recovering from such a horrid and putrid air attack than coffee & a fireside chat!? I looked at the side dish menu of the day and spied a favourite: fried okra! Ooh, yes, please! We ordered a basket (which was plenty to share for two hungry foodies!) with bleu cheese dressing (beyond YUM) and had an unlimited mug of java to keep the conversation flowing!

The interesting bit is one of the waiters thought I was hyper excited due to the coffee – what he failed to know though is I’m naturally hyper and coffee actually has the reverse effect on me – it calms me down to my bones! I was so chill it was hilarious! What he mistook for coffee induced reactions is I was seriously on a high of love for A Mortal Song as I had just spent a considerable amount of time fully animated (with hand gestures!) discussing the ENTIRE 25 pages I had read earlier in the day!!

I wanted Mum to experience what I had experienced – thus, I tucked straight in- talking about the kami – from the crane and the monkey; commenting I hadn’t realised monkeys would be so keen for styling hair til Mum reminded me that Steve Irwin (we’ve been thrilled to bits the Irwin’s are back with their new show “Crikey! Its the Irwins” which we’re LOVING) met an orangutan who not only climbed down the tree – *he played with his hair* – I added! Ooh, I had forgotten that!

We didn’t even see the crowd in the diner, nor realise about twenty minutes went past before my mug was re-filled as they were making fresh decaf (I like to drink half/half so I’m not drinking straight fully loaded cuppas) – we were so invested in the moment, the height of the revelations and the curiosity of what is coming *after!* those first twenty-five pages! I am not even sure if anyone overheard us if they would understand the conversation as I was even delving into how Sora could morph dimensionally through solid rock of Mt Fuji!!

I’ll never forget Wednesday – the best gift I gave myself was participating in the #ThanksgivingReadathon – similar to July when I was participating in the INSPY Reads readathon – I’ve noticed, sometimes I need a proper nudge to get me back into the stories I most desire to read. Sometimes I need to pull myself out of my routines and rhythms and simply focus on a niche of literature I’m either wholly passionate about (like INSPY) or keenly curious over (such as Mythological After Canon Fiction) – it allows you to step through literature in a condensed state of concentration and walk out the other side with a renewed passion for reading, discovery of the stories and a better sense of who you are as you evolve through a new heightened layer of being an inquisitive and intuitive reader!

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My #25PagePreview of the VERY first #Mythothon story which gave me such a warm bookish hug & inspired me to have a coffee klatch discussing it as if the pages were re-illuminating in front of my cuppa!

during the 2018 #ThanksgivingReadathon !!

A Mortal Song badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit jorielovesastory.com

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

was happily #borrowed via my local #library!

It ought to go without saying, but I am sharing my bookish ruminations for my own edification but also in a continued method of sharing my bookish life to help my readers find their own #mustreads and follow my own readerly journey into the stories I’m reading myself. I was not compensated for sharing my opinions and thoughts herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A Mortal Song
by Megan Crewe
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995216907

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, YA Fantasy


Published by Another World Press

on 13th September, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 380

Site | @megancrewe | Pub’d by Another World Press
*Ill’d (inter-library loan)
Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #ThanksgivingReadathon 2018
Divider

Posted Wednesday, 21 November, 2018 by jorielov in #ThanskgivingReadathon, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, RALs | Thons via Blogs

Blog Book Tour | “A Pivotal Right” (Book Two: Shaking the Tree series) by K.A. Servian with recollections and thoughts on behalf of (book one) “A Moral Compass”

Posted Monday, 19 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

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! When I saw this was a series in-progress, I submitted a purchase request at my library for the first novel “A Moral Compass” which was accepted and I happily had the chance to read the first novel before moving into the sequel. I decided to share my thoughts on the first installment for my own edification as much as continuing to share my readerly life with readers of my blog. I was not obliged to post my opinions or thoughts and likewise was not compensated for their inclusion.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Pivotal Right” direct from the author K.A. Servian 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 reading ‘A Moral Compass’: the first installment

You truly are attached to the approach Servian makes to alight inside the world of this young woman – travelling abroad, facing tempests of rage on the sea with her father and her brother. As this was writ in an Epistolary styling, you feel even closer to her ordeal as emotionally, Servian has her readers well by entrusting us with the truth straight out of the gate without softening the directness of what must be told. When travelling by ship, it is hard to reconcile loss – cast off so far from where you started your journey and not even yet arrived to where you were destined; it is a loss on all fronts, and this is what made the opening pages so very dramatic to read! You can instantly connect with the protagonist – not just for the heartache but the desolation and uncertainty which follows.

I appreciated the poet nature of Servian, to tuck us close inside how Florence perceives the world inasmuch as how she internalises her experiences. It is lovely to find an author such as this whose a wordsmith who can deepen the historical backdrop by placing us inside the eloquence of sophisticated depictions and declarations. I love finding this style – it is one of my favourites for reading Historicals as the writers who marry the older variants of speech and historic detail whilst consuming our minds with an enlightening plot are the ones who hold my attention the most!

Time continues to shift forward as we settle into the relationship being built between Florence and Emile. Theirs was a relationship forged out of a circumstance that by default of the customs of their day ought not to have happened as it was against social norms. There are moments like these where you truly see how restrictive women were and how despite the earnest interest of men, they did not have as much freedom to pursue someone they were keen on growing attached unless they could come up with a few creative ways to ensure their rendezvous.

Why brothers would even consider to dilute the love of their sisters is unknown, though in truth I believe he was trying to save her feelings and her heart; knowing the extent of their father’s distrust of the French. For Florence had falling in love with a Frenchman and her secreted relationship was clearly against all boundaries of society – the fact her brother aided her attempts to see this man was telling. For he had his own reasons to keep Florence’s secret and that in of itself spoke volumes about his own character inasmuch as his morals.

There is a moment in the early pages where we first learn what A Moral Compass encompasses and how it cross-relates into the narrative itself. Despite knowing the definition used and how it is brokering to affect the connection Florence shares with Emile, what is critical to note is how interesting it is limited to only one point of view and places the blame on women when it takes two to make a relationship. Both of Florence and Emile had chosen to go against the rules of their own houses in order to let the sparks between grow into a mutually accounted love affair. They knew what they were doing and they still decided to go against convention – it is not just a question of morality and spiritual enlightenment but rather, what is the truer cost of living in the height of the moment in pursuit of (perceived) true love?

I had to smile – the Bracknells were such an unexpected delight! The kind of neighbours Florence and her brother needed in New Zealand! I agree with Florence, the choice in relocation felt odd but if you stacked the oddity of its location against the crimes their father was guilty of committing – it felt like it was the only place he could secure them a future without society’s long arm of judgement reaching them. As soon as they arrived – not to an established farm but a shack on watery ground, I knew it was going to grow even more interesting from here!

This is a story broaching a heavier topic of what happens when your fate is reversed, where your safety nets are erased and where you have only your wit, grit and determination to turn round the clock on what has suddenly become your new normalcy of life. For Florence it was nearly too much to overturn and yet, here her brother was suddenly finding himself empowered to make a go of the place. It proves that sometimes a change as radical as the one they were experiencing now is enough to give someone a swift kick in the right direction after living a life on the rails!

When Jack entered the picture, your heart went out to him as he was talking about the prejudices of the English against the Scots; he, being of the latter, it was a proper shock to him that these issues were crossing the ocean and finding him in New Zealand. An honest trader by trade, he was intending to set-up his own shoppe and create a foundation on the reputation he had with his customers; except to say, not everything goes according to this ideal plan! Whilst making his final rounds and seeing the Bracknell’s before moving straight into Wellington, he comes across Florence and her ill-gotten brother. The brother of course, has made a deal against her and even forsaken the land in which they inherited from their late father. To think even this small ounce of land was stolen by cards and the drink which aches to be consumed by her brother, even Florence had reach a tipping point in what she could handle.

By the time she learnt of the deal associating her with Jack, she was wretched beyond what her nerves could handle and it did not surprise me she went straight to Mrs Bracknell to see if she could ink out a different path for her to endure. This was a hard land – a country still finding itself towards civilisation and with all the hardships of the American West; where you have colonists and natives at odds with each other, re-pleat with the distrust and the animosity that went with it.

Here we can understand why Florence is hesitating to accept Jack but without his mercy, I am unsure how long she thinks she can last as she has already withered away to mere bone and slackened skin. Her heart might be strong but without the proper nutrition and a way to make a living, her fate is nearly sealed to the grave without any further action on her behalf. For Jack, you can truly see he was changed by what he found when he came across the two – living as they were and finding that their naivety and their distrust was slowly churning into their doom.

Shortly after I wrote these notes, I became so dearly attached to the dramatic upheavals of Florence and Jack’s lives – I stopped writing down my reactions! It is hard to even put into words how gutting it was to read what became of them and how, through a lot of sinister and under-handed goings-on outside their control, they ultimately were dealt a hard fate to swallow! There were portions of their lives which I felt were a bit slightly over the top – there were separations I felt which were unnecessary past the first one – where truly, it was sounding more fictional than realistic; even so, I couldn’t stop reading the story!

What staid with me the most is how Florence truly staid a woman of her faith, strongly attached to her moral convictions and each time life sought to destroy her, she proved her fragility was only of the surface. She was a remarkable woman of strength, seeking to right the sails of her life even when everything was shattering round her and that I think, is a testament of how not allowing adversity to best you. Even when it felt there was no recourse for what she knew and what she had witnessed, she still found a way to redeem herself. She never gave up the hope of finding out what became of Jack – a part of her I think never truly let go of him. How unkind it was for them to truly become separated not out of a lack of love or commitment but due to the actions of others who were acting on their behalf without even a measure of remorse for those actions.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “A Pivotal Right” (Book Two: Shaking the Tree series) by K.A. Servian with recollections and thoughts on behalf of (book one) “A Moral Compass”A Pivotal Right
by K.A. Servian
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Florence struggled for breath as she stared into the face of a ghost. “Jack?”

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift her medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack’s child?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780473449698

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, War Drama


Published by Self Published Author

on 15th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 428

Shaking the Tree series:

The Moral Compass (book one)

Add to LibraryThing | Borrow from a Library

A Pivotal Right (book two)

Converse via: #ShakingTheTree + #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About K.A. Servian

K.A. Servian

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewelry making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewelry labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years’ design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing in around working on her novels, knocking out the occasional short story, teaching part-time and being a wife and mother.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 19 November, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Feminine Heroism, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Victorian era, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama

Blog Book Tour | “A Cowboy’s Pride” (Book Four: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock Whilst feat. reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch” and “Falling for a Cowboy” books one and two in the series!

Posted Saturday, 29 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I would imagine your curious about this post – specifically, why it is a bit more unique than my usual blog tour reviews!? I had the chance to read the first book in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series – ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ and the second in the series ‘Falling for a Cowboy’ ahead of reading the newly released fourth novel ‘A Cowboy’s Pride’. Try as I might, I was not able to secure a copy of ‘Bad Boy Rancher’ through my library ahead of the tour, so for now, that is the only novel in this series I haven’t had the joy of reading!

As you might already know – I have a fierce passion for reading novels in sequence when it comes to book series. I can’t always do this – sometimes I have to skip around the order or other times, I might pick up a book I hadn’t realised was a series in-progress – generally, this oft-times happens when it comes to Harlequin series – either through this lovely imprint (Harlequin Heartwarming) or the Love Inspired Suspense imprint which you might remember this past July I was talking about rather exclusively!

Therefore, a few things to note – I am reviewing the fourth novel for the blog tour, however, before I share my thoughts on what I found inside the fourth novel, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what I loved inside ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ & ‘Falling for a Cowboy’! If you missed my author interview with Ms Rock last year, you might not have realised I read the prequel to this series ‘A Cowboy to Keep’ – of which this was my key takeaway on behalf of how Ms Rock started this lovely series of hers:

You’ll notice a thread of interest in the Romances I love to read – they are supporting what I call ‘relationship-based romance’ wherein the heart of the relationship and what curates a connection amongst those who are dating strengthens the appeal of reading the stories themselves. Reading Romances like I do, I get caught up in the lives people are living – some make hard choices which I cannot always relate too but are right for them, therein, each time we read, we’re not only ‘time travelling through our own living histories or the historic past’ we’re stepping into different pairs of shoes of people who are living wholly unique lives whilst attempting to pursue a relationship where both parties are standing on equal ground. Romances are a lift of joy to read – even if the circumstances turn dramatic or suspenseful – if at the heart of them, there is hope for the couple at hand, odds are I am a ready fan of how the stories are being written – across publishers and imprints.

As we progress through how Jackson and Dani continue to intercede on each others’ behalf, we start to see how the seeds of their romance were firmly planted in their hearts. They each had a toll to weigh against the yearnings of their hearts but it’s how Rock shows their individual growth towards a resolution the reader rallies behind to see happen is what makes the story hold it’s salt against the ‘dangers’ lurking in the shadows. You truly want all the soul wrestling on both their parts to be for ‘something’ and as the concluding chapters show – redemption might take awhile to receive, but it’s the journey towards it that is somethings more important than how it arrives!

There were some intense moments where you weren’t sure if Jackson or Dani were going to get out of this alive – where the job of being a bounty hunter was shown exactly how dangerous of a livelihood this is to maintain countered against the will of a woman’s heart to do what is right even if she knows she might be jeopardising her future. You grieve for them both – for the past they both cannot accept without further anguish and for the futures they both are seeking which they never felt either of them deserved! There is a lovely ‘twist’ in the ending – one even I hadn’t thought of as I thought for sure this was going to play out differently – my gratitude to Ms Rock for keeping me on my toes straight til the ‘end’ as it was the sweetest reward!

This is one reason, Ms Rock stood out to me – as she’s one of the Harlequin authors I genuinely enjoy to read – she has a way of capturing what I love about the essence of a Contemporary Romance but with the ease of knowing I won’t be flinching for word usage or language issues. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reprieve in that regard!

She dives straight into the heart of what is affecting the well-being of her characters – from the psychological groundwork to the soul wrestling angst of trying to own up to your own mistakes whilst sorting out how to live at the same time. She’s tackled hard issues affecting her characters lives but does it in a humbling and honest way – seeking to share the truth of their choices whilst countered by the truth of the circumstances which has led them to this conclusion on where they individually stand.

-quoted from my review of A Cowboy to Keep

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Borrowed Book By: I made a purchase request at my local library for “Christmas at Cade Ranch” as I had previously ILL’d (inter-library loaned) the ‘prequel’ “A Cowboy to Keep” as a way of understanding the foundation for the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to read and share my thoughts on behalf of this first novel. I was not obliged to post a review and decided to share my thoughts with my readers for my own edification. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Christmas at Cade Ranch by Karen Rock

Synopsis for “Christmas at Cade Ranch”

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother’s death. With Jesse’s ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn’t save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he’s betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.

– previously featured during an Author Interview

Christmas at Cade Ranch
by Karen Rock
Source: Purchase REQ | local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373368617

Also by this author: A League of Her Own, Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), Winning the Cowboy's Heart

on 7th November, 2017

Pages: 384

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My review of Christmas at Cade Ranch:

The first six paragraphs were originally shared on behalf of reading the chapter sampler of this novel – I’ve edited those thoughts a bit but they are still reflective of what I was thinking about as I started to read this novel for the first time straight-through.

We find Jewel (the spunky cowgirl heroine of Cade Ranch), Justin (Jesse’s surviving twin) & James are taking over the duties of Cade Ranch – trying to keep the place solvent and everything running as smooth as they can manage, despite the hurdles of trying to sort out how to ‘move forward’ after such an alarmingly tragic loss. You can easily ‘step back’ into the series – as the prequel did such a great job of ‘setting the scale’ of the series by placing you into the heart of what makes the Cade’s such a strong family!

Here — we get the fuller back-story about Jesse – even though his addictive habit did kill him in the end (due to circumstances his brother, had no way of knowing would impact his future) – it wasn’t the addiction which caused his death; it was something related to being an addict. Despite this, he left behind a girlfriend and a son; a son whose five years old now – meeting his grandmother, Aunt & Uncles for the very first time. This is where we find James – the reserved & cautious elder brother who wouldn’t trust you if you looked honest – he has find a way to validate your intentions, your heart & your motivations.

In so many ways, James reminded me of Jackson! Those two are alike the most of where they are the hardest to convince your on a better path in life – even if your first attempt to ‘make it’ proved to have some obstacles in the road to overcome. Dani & Sofia would love being sister-in-laws because they each had to fight hard for what they were getting out of life – they both made certain choices which affected their futures but what united them, was their hope & belief that second chances are never too late in arriving. Sofia is as jumpy as Dani, too! I don’t blame either of them – the Cade brothers are a wee bit scary due to how they appear to be unbending & unwilling to accept you ‘where you are’. Of course, that’s one fast way to short-change their personalities – but both James & Jackson don’t exactly have the best ‘bedside manner’ so to speak! Their affection might be hard-won but if James is anything like Jackson – his heart will soften long before he allows Sofia & Javi (her son) to exit his life for good!

Seeing this part of the story – how it’s unfolding to bring everything ‘back to centre’ at Cade Ranch – where it all began and where the future shall be written for the siblings – as this is land inherited through past generations – you can gather the fuller depth of where Ms Rock is taking the series! The continuity is wonderful – I feel like this is the best place to re-insert us into the series – it is on the foot-heels of finding out about Jesse from Jackson’s POV whilst opening the door for Sofia to tell her story – what is remarkable is how it feels like both time-lines are running nearly concurrent to each other, rather than having any gaps in the momentum of the ‘next’ section of where we alight into the Cade family’s journey.

One thing to note – is I agree with the sensitive way in which Ms Rock approaches her harder hitting subjects – in this instance, it’s with addiction & recovery. Previously, it was addressing being involved in a bank robbery (Dani’s story-line) — each time Ms Rock knits us closer to her characters, she does it with compassion and empathy. In many ways, I enjoy this aspect of her writings the most – she puts in a lot of thought & time to get the lives of her characters to not only be realistically pleasing to us, the reader, but to honour the real-life counterparts who might be living a similar life. Even the fragility of Joy, the Cade’s mother – is aptly described – of being stuck ‘betwixt & between’ – of not knowing how to proceed forward after losing one’s son. I could relate to this due to not only my own personal losses but the losses of others, of whom, have felt this muddling ‘inbetween’ feeling wash over them – to where they needed to find something to ‘focus on’ outside of their grief before they realised they could ‘transition’ through their sorrow.

What does irk your ire quite a bit though is how James won’t quiet the voice in his head over Sofia! She has enough anxiety coursing through her veins without his added input to cast more shadows over her head! It is like walking between lightning strikes and hoping your not going to be struck whilst you reach the safety of a building! He has a short fuse when it comes to tolerance – he pre-judges her based on his experiences with his brother Jesse and that isn’t half as fair as it might sound because no one should be judged against another person. Even if they both had struggles with addiction – every person is different and no one should have to feel that kind of oppressive weight bearing down on them; it is too much to bear really. Sofia needs reassurances in her life – adding more stress to shoulders already buckling under the pressures she puts on herself is not aiding her ability to move forward; if anything, it’s making her question if she is strong enough to overcome her past.

A good portion of the novel centres around the cyclic season of addiction and how addicts struggle to keep clean. Sofia and Jesse were both struggling with their own addictions but Sofia found a way through the worst of those storms – so much so, what infuriated her the most about James is that he did not or rather could not see what she’s accomplished thus far forward since she was able to maintain her sobriety. I think the hardest part for Sofia, as a lot of her issues stem from her father’s persecution of her existence (long story!) – being around James was like she had recaptured what she had escaped from her father.

Ms Rock does a great job of taking you into the heart of addiction – first through the opinions of family who feel they are being helpful but in reality their falling a bit short with a few good observations. Secondly, she takes you into an NA meeting to hear the stories of other addicts who are struggling just like Sofia to quash their innermost doubts and to remain above the pains of addiction whilst re-setting their lives free of the substance of their choice. It was in one of those meetings where Sofia felt both ashamed to be present and rather awkwardly at first, comfortable amongst those who she could relate too.

Ms Rock also highlights what it is like to have a controlling personality – someone who is unable to yield or bend – this was spoken about in regards to Sofia’s father but in the present time-line of the series it is mostly directed towards James who has a definitive way of ‘taking over’ and claiming roles he was not meant to lead because doing so would jeopardise another person’s sense of self.

One of my favourite parts of the story is how closely Sofia and Joy (the Cade siblings mother) bonded over being in such close quarters whilst she was recuperating. Joy still had quite a bit of spunk left in her and she had a right to want to keep living her life to the fullest she could. Sofia inspired her in equal measure of Joy inspiring Sofia to take new risks and to keep bettering herself for her future and her son’s (Javi). Javi was an impressionable child but he also understood what was important in his young life. I can see why Sofia stressed about how he might react around James and why being around James for both of them was proving to be a bit too difficult.

One of the beautiful things about this series is how redemption and second chances permeate through the stories. Erstwhile, you are becoming closer in acquaintance with the Cade family themselves – the ranch they live on becomes the anchour to their lives, the place where they gather and they grow; where love nurtures their present and where it breathes hope into the future. Each installment of this series builds on the last story in sequence – thereby, by the time you start at A Cowboy to Keep whilst reading each new story thereafter, you are given a wonderful portrait of a resilient family. A family whose honest about the hardships in life and where good or bad, this is a family who remains evermore true of themselves.

The only part I struggled with to be honest was which Cade Sofia felt had caught her affections as to me it seemed like the case had been proven against the match. So much so, I had hoped the ending was a bit different – where she would have struck out on her own, independently and perhaps had dated a different Cade brother as I wasn’t convinced even in the end, the one she felt she loved was the best one of the bunch. I think it is because of his personality but also, of how well Ms Rock showed both sides of the romance – she took a lot of time developing these characters and so for me, in the end of Christmas at Cade Ranch, I felt the character who had grown the most was Sofia. She truly had transitioned from the woman who was full of anxiety and fears to a self-reliant woman who embraced all the pieces of her life; including the bits she was not as confident about acknowledging. On the opposite end of the story, I felt James hadn’t transitioned enough and that was the rub for me in the concluding chapters.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Divider

Posted Saturday, 29 September, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Specialised Crime Investigator, Suspense, West Coast USA, Western Fiction, Western Romance