Source: Borrowed from local library

#ADayeAMonth | Book Review of “Rosemary & Rue” (book one: October Daye series) by Seanin McGuire

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

#ADayeAMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tim Mossholder (Creative Commons Zero)

Co-host | @FoxesFairyTale | Discussion *threads for Twitter

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Borrowed Book By: I’ve been consistantly borrowing “Rosemary & Rue” either through my local library and/or through ILL (inter-library loan) since January, 2019. I can’t even begin to remember how many times I’ve had a paperback copy of this novel on my shelf “to be read” – wherein, during January I only managed to read the first four or five chapters before my migraines disrupted my readings. I finally had a chance to extend my last local borrow of this novel until the 10th of June – re-reading those initial chapters starting on the 4th of June and thankfully being able to complete my readings of the novel before it was due back [again!].

I was not obligated to post a review in conjunction with this readalong however similar to my joy of sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the #smallangryplanet RAL I participated in November, 2018 – I decided to blog my thoughts as I move through the October Daye series. Ironically, both of these series were not ones I might have picked to read myself and am thankful for the RALs and my two co-hosts (ie. Lisa @deargeekplace for #smallangryplanet + Lou @foxesfairytale) for encouraging me to take a full step outside my zones of comfort to embrace these series. I am sharing my honest reactions whilst I read “Rosemary and Rue” which was able to be done was I borrowed the well-read paperback copy from my local library system. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I decided to read #OctoberDaye:

Strictly speaking, my love of Urban Fantasy is the key reason I agreed to read the October Daye series combined with the fact I stumbled across the series on my own not that long ago but never actually picked up the series to read. I am uncertain if it was because I was still considering whether or not this series was actually #notmycuppa or just slightly on the upper tier of a series I could get invested into is uncertain. All I knew is when Louise pitched the idea via Twitter to host this readalong in the New Year, I felt ‘why on earth not?’

I’ve taken a lot of chances on the books I am reading – either by suggestion and/or personal wanderings within sub-niches of beloved genres or new extensions of genres I’ve previously not had the joy of sorting out if I would appreciate them or just avoid like the plaugue. Either way, I knew October Daye might either a) become a challenging read for me OR b) become a series I would really feel connected inside and for whichever reason get a wicked lot of #bookJOY out of particpating in this randomly inspired RAL for 2019.

The only downside is I never realised how LONG it would take me to actually OPEN the book (ie. the first book, mind!) and get myself firmly settled into Toby’s world. #neversawthatcoming! Secondly, the other angst in my umbrella was the fact I couldn’t contribute to the Qs for the discussion *threads Louise was kindly assembling for us and my distance in the DM convo which has been evolving through the series since we became the ragtag team of readers discussing this Urban Fantasy has been quite impressively *active!* whilst I’ve been hanging in the margins of it for far, far too long.

This Summer – rather than re-queue an attempt to devour #20BooksOfSummer because the two years I had an #epicfail of that was not enough to dissway my re-attempt at the challenge – I decided this Summer 2019, I’d rather focus on a few other things such as a) #ADayAMonth RAL, b) #ReadingValdemar RAL, c) my extensive backlogue of reviews and d) devouring a bit of my #SpooktasticReads #WyrdAndWonder choices ahead of October as a precursor of having some of those featured in the opening days of the event rather than falling further behind like I had this past May. Ooh, and did I mention JUNE is #AudiobookMonth!? No. Hmm. How did I forget THAT?!

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Rosemary and Rue Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Rosemary and Rue
Subtitle: An October Daye novel
by Seanan McGuire
Source: Borrowed from local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0756405717

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by DAW Books

on 1st September, 2009

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 368

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

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The stories #JorieReads this Summer
for the #ADayeAMonth readalong:

#ADayeAMonth banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer JR Korpa

Book One: Rosemary & Rue | (see also Lou’s Review)
Book Two: A Local Habitation
Book Three: An Artifical Night
Book Four: Late Eclipses | (see 3x mini Lou’s Reviews)
Book Five: One Salt Sea
Book Six: Ashes of Honour
Book Seven: Chimes at Midnight
Book Eight: The Winter Long

Legend: (avail via ILL) + (avail via local library)
+ (after book five OR eight I’ll rejoin the RAL group)

(*) as unsure as I am about how quickly I can get the missing books I need to be reading in order to ‘catch’ my group as their reading Six (June), Seven (July) and Eight (August) – I decided to plan ahead to where I’d either be right as rain by the end of whichever month this Summer I am able to get all the books I need through the borrowing routes I have available to me.

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook, Ebook and Mass Market

Converse via: #ADayeAMonth (this RAL) + #OctoberDaye (the series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Cats and Kittens, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Immortals, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature

#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Adrift” (Book One: Staying Afloat series) by Isabelle Adler

Posted Sunday, 26 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Isabelle Adler – her s/o about the novel on Twitter was most enticing (see also tweet) because ever since I co-hosted a RAL with Lisa (deargeekplace.com) for #smallangryplanet I’ve noticed I am enjoying Soft Sci Fi, found family narratives set in Space and the interworkings of a crew who are sent on a mission which is both secreted from them as far as the fuller scope of why they were sent and the curious ways a long-term mission can either make/break the crew itself. I love Hard Sci Fi and Space Operas but I also like the rebels & rogues of Space, too! (ie. Rimrider!)

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I submitted a purchase request to my local library for “Adrift” which is published by NineStar Press an independent publisher of LGBTQ+ Fiction. I was thankful to find out my library accepted my purchase request and I decided to share my review on behalf of “Adrift” for my own edification as much as continuing to share my readerly life with my readers. I was not obligated to post a review for this novel but I choose to write one as I love celebrating the stories I am finding as a social reader. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

I happily found an LGBTQ+ Space Opera during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

My second choice is to highlight the novel I had my library purchase for me by an author I crossed paths with during #ReviewPit – the twitterverse event where Indie Authors are matched with book bloggers and/or reviewers who are seeking Indie Fiction to read and review. It is a spontaneous event in that you do not know which genres are up for grabs and you do not know which stories are avail in the format you are able to read – for me, being a migraineur, this means I needed to find authors willing to send me their stories in print. The joy of the event was finding a lot of Speculative Fiction authors who had written Indie Fantasy novels and those are the stories you’ll see start to alight on Jorie Loves A Story between the 3rd and 5th week of MAY for Wyrd And Wonder – ahead of that, I wanted to read the first 25 pages of ADRIFT as this is a Science Fiction novel which drew my eye for its premise and the approach the author took in navigating us through this world.

To say I was overjoyed my library accepted my purchase request is putting it mildly – as it is a lovely feeling to know you have a local library whose striving to bridge the gap between Major Trade, Indie Publishers and Press and Self Published authors for today’s library patron who is seeking to expand their literary horizons.

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

#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Adrift” (Book One: Staying Afloat series) by Isabelle AdlerAdrift
Subtitle: Staying Afloat : Book One
by Isabelle Adler
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Borrowed from local library, Purchase REQ | local library

Some jobs are just too good to be true.

Captain Matt Spears learns this the hard way after a mysterious employer hires his ship to hunt down an ancient alien artifact but insists on providing his own pilot. Ryce Faine is handsome and smart, but Matt has rarely met anyone more obnoxious. With tensions running high, it isn’t until they are attacked by the hostile Alraki that Matt grudgingly begins to respect Ryce’s superior skills, respect that transforms into a tentative attraction.

Little did he know that their biggest challenge would be reaching their destination, an abandoned alien base located on a distant moon amid a dense asteroid field. But when Matt learns that Ryce isn’t completely who he says he is and the artifact is more than he bargained for, he is faced with a difficult choice. One that might change the balance of forces in the known galaxy.

Matt doesn’t take well to moral dilemmas; he prefers the easy way out. But that might not be possible anymore, when his past comes back to haunt him at the worst possible moment. When faced with a notorious pirate carrying a personal grudge, the fragile connection Matt has formed with Ryce might be the only thing that he can count on to save them both.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781945952555

Genres: LGBTQIA Fiction, Men's Fiction, Military Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera


Published by NineStar Press

on 26th January, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 192

Published by: NineStar Press (@ninestarpress)

The stories of the Staying Afloat series:

Adrift (book one)

Ashore (book two

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Isabelle Adler

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Historical Adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 26 May, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Military Fiction, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

#Harlequin Heartwarming Series Book Review | “If Not for a Bee” and “A Family like Hannah’s” (Book Three & Four: Seasons of Alaska) by Carol Ross

Posted Friday, 29 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Borrowed Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

This particular review is slightly different from my regular blog tours and hosting features for Prism Book Tours – as an opportunity came along this March to secure a spot on a ‘review tour’ rather than a ‘blog tour’ for a novel within the Seasons of Alaska series by Carol Ross. I had previously read a novel by Ms Ross when I was attached to the five-book series “Return of the Blackwell Brothers” review tour wherein I read the entire series as a hostess for Prism Book Tours.

This time round – I am borrowing most of the “Seasons of Alaska” book series through my local libraries – either through ILL (inter-library loan) and/or local borrowing opportunities as one of my libraries had more of the books in their local catalogue than the others. My readings of this series will be spilt into review showcases of two books in sequence leading into my review for the review tour of “In the Doctor’s Arms” which is the latest release for this Harlequin Heartwarming series.

We had a lot of flexibility with this review tour – we were not required to read the entire series, however, being a serial fiction reader who likes to read more of a series than less – I elected to seek out the series in full to be read before “In the Doctor’s Arms”. The author herself was kind enough to send me a copy of the one novel I couldn’t borrow through my library which is “Bachelor Remedy”. The scheduling of my readings and my review postings for this review tour are as follows: “Mountains Apart” and “A Case for Forgiveness” (post one); “If Not for a Bee” and “A Family Like Hannah’s” (post two) and “Bachelor Remedy” and “In the Doctor’s Arms” (post three) – the third of which will be featured on my 6th Blogoversary the 31st of March, 2019.

I decided to read all the stories in this series ‘blind’ – meaning, I didn’t read each of the synopsis’s before setting into the stories as I was reading them. I knew I could trust where Ms Ross would take me as I loved her instincts for Return of the Blackwell Brothers – therefore, it became a bit of a lovely adventure seeing how her characters within this new series would develop, strengthen and grow!

I borrowed the following novels “If Not for a Bee” and “A Family Like Hannah’s” through the local library’s catalogue. I was not obligated to post a review and am sharing my ruminative thoughts for my own personal edification whilst keeping my readers updated on my readerly life whilst I progress through the Seasons of Alaska series. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Although I did not receive these novels through Prism Book Tours and/or the author – I did receive a few of the Press Materials to be used in conjunction with my reviews leading up to reviewing “In the Doctor’s Arms”.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What I have been enjoying about reading the #SeasonsOfAlaska series:

Considering the fact I have oft-mused what it would be like to live in Alaska despite the jaw-dropping ice-inducing temperatures the state is renown for having during Winter – the opening paragraphs of Mountains Apart gave me a hearty laugh of joy as I had a feeling nothing is ever quite as it seems when your living in a place whose harsh environs would test even the strongest of wills for a transplant! Alaska is truly one of the last places where you can honestly say going in is an experience in survival, wit and adventure; still though – if you jaunt round the Alaskan cities websites, drink in the videos on YT and find the awe-inspiring raw lifestyle of living on the fringes of the wilds a compelling reason to jump ship from the lower 48 – you can see why people opt for Alaska! I know my adventurous soul has considered it more than a half dozen times as there is just something alluring about that particular state! The lack of regional hospitals notwithstanding as you can opt-in to helio ambulance services – Alaska has a lovely niche of natural living and natural beauty which is unparalleled.

Thus, as I started to soak into #SeasonsOfAlaska – what you can gleam through online research and what you can ascertain through other stories set in this lovely state, you could immediately identify with the angst of what Emily is facing – the intensity of the cold wicking through your bones and the antiquated technology which hasn’t gone through an upgrade but still assists you in your business if you have the patience to wait out the quirks of using it. Felt like the best way to enter her life as it hugged close to what you presume might be a life set in Alaska and the quirkiness of how life has a way of keeping you on your toes even if you think you have all your ducks in a row!

I felt Ross presented both sides of the argument well – even though some of the more technical aspects of what drives the risks and toxicity of fracking can do on a particular region of extraction were left for readers to research themselves, she took the compassionate route to entice the reader to view this from a community-based response – where a towne has to decide where they stand for their future and what kind of legacy they want to instill on the present lives of their residents. That is truly what matters the most – what you believe in and how far you will stand on the side of that truth to overtake a powerful company from re-identifying your own community.

However this wasn’t just an entreaty about the concerns over environmental impact and small communities – at the heart of the story remained a turning point in the lives of Bering and Emily. They were each smitten with each other but for different and very distinctive reasons – Bering saw in Emily aspects of herself she was a bit blind to knowing existed as she lived life with a very narrow focus on her career. Emily on the other hand was like a woman moving through her own personal insurrection – where she had to stop, examine and re-evaluate her own life. Bering brought out the unexpected and the unknown – he encouraged her to embrace the ordinary of the hour and the beauty of a living moment. Emily hadn’t known how to live before she met Bering because her whole life was rooted in how her family had raised her to see the world. And, this is what I felt made reading Mountains Apart even more dimensionally intuitive – how a stepping out of time and of life can re-render a world view you never considered.

Ross is etching a firm grip on the art of living within A Case for Forgiveness – as we view Jonah going through the motions of life in Rankins, we find a bloke who has forgotten that there is more to life than living for work. He’s a predominately Type-A personality – he can’t stop thinking about work nor can he separate his corporate life as a lawyer in the Mid-West for the slower paced lifestyle his grandfather (whose also a lawyer) enjoys in coastal Alaska. For Jonah, if your not billing hours you’re defeated – he views everything in his life by the bankable hours he could be earning at his firm and it doesn’t take long to realise how backwards he has set his life to run. Having a stable income is viable and important but Jonah takes this to the next level – he cannot separate himself from the job and it is this obsessive compulsion to work without having a life outside of it which Ross brings to the center inside his character’s journey.

Jonah is the kind of guy he’s facing his own insurrection of sorts – he has caught between the life he believes is the right one for him to claim and the life that someone a bit wiser thinks he should reconsider. He’s also a bit of a lousy friend and lacks better judgement in knowing when to route information to people in his life – such as the exchange between him and Shay at the restaurant wherein he discredited the importance of making a phone call. He tries to side-step it with Shay but if you read between the lines, he simply didn’t place an importance on that call as much as Shay had herself. It was another glimpse at his disconnection with Rankins and of the life they once shared together whilst he lived there.

You have to give it to Ms Ross – this is the second series I’ve read of hers which involves the craftiness of an old gent who is bent on proving a point to the younger generation! lol I won’t say what exactly is going on in this regard, but I happen to think one of her assets as a writer is setting the field for characters to become involved in a moment of truth reckoning that is set-up by someone close to them who feels they need to take a better stock of the kind of life their living and if that life is the one they really wanted to choose to live. From that – I love how she puts a spin on Contemporary Romances – where it is not merely about the two persons who need to develop or reconsider their own relationships but how she carries the arc of the narrative through all the characters’ in her series. She paints the broader picture of how individual lives are at the intersection of affecting other people’s lives as much as their own but also, how as a community, everyone’s life has a purpose towards the benefit of the whole. I love that adage of insight but I also love how she writes Contemporaries rooted in family and the benefits of finding family even if they are outside the ones you’ve been raised. She has both sets of family in Seasons of Alaska – giving you a proper glimpse into how all of her characters have chosen to live intuitively next to the wilds and to live authentically with the persons who call this remote Alaskan towne home. This is of course one of the underlying testaments of the series – how if your not living authentically and owning your own choices in life, how then, can you have proper friendships and relationships?

The fact she set this one in Alaska is wicked brilliant as I have a personal affection of interest in the state and I also like how she brought current events and environmental issues into the foreground of the story itself. Ross has a true gift for bridging you into the lives of persons who have a very dramatic life – they’re going through this epic life shift and sometimes, they are not even aware of how much change is about to enter into their lives until their living through it. I find this to be the most relatable aspect of her writing style as she knits in real world situations into her characters lives in such a way as to be not just believable but honestly compelling. You start to feel for her characters – the unresolved angst, the anguish of striving towards something they feel they need to prove and the overwhelming odds stacks against them – you take this incredible journey alongside her characters and along the way, your spirit soars with their triumphs and their heartaches.

I was hoping #SeasonsOfAlaska would be family centred as much as #ReturnOfTheBlackwellBrothers and I was not disappointed! Bering has such a close-knitted family – you can’t help but become caught inside his love for his nephews which are in-scene with both Emily and Bering whilst they babysat the boys together. It was lovely finding young boys not just articulate in a Contemporary Romance but also very matter-of-fact and interesting just like their composites would be IRL. The two were a bit opposite of the other – one was intellectual and the other was more game oriented but the blessing was how much admiration they had for their Uncle Bering. I loved finding this thread of familial connection inside the Seasons of Alaska series and I was definitely intrigued at how the series would progress forward – would it remain within Bering’s family or extend to other families in the towne?

As we made our return back into the series with A Case for Forgiveness – what I loved the most is how I felt whilst I was reading the story. When you read serial fiction, your looking for the moment where you feel as if time has stalled and where as soon as you re-direct yourself back inside an installment of the series you’re progressing through – it is as if nothing has happened before your return. I felt this rather immediately as soon as I was keeping in step with Shay, Jonah, Caleb (Jonah’s grandfather) and Hannah (Shay’s sister). Everyone is just as I had remembered them being – they didn’t change their personalities and the continuous line of entry into the evolving series felt organic and natural. I love series which reflect an awareness of their characters and setting – Ross has definitely maintained this scope of identity within Seasons of Alaska!

-quoted from my reviews of Mountains Apart & A Case for Forgiveness

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Seasons of Alaska series by Carol Ross

Seasons of Alaska series by Carol Ross

Mountains Apart (book one)

A Case for Forgiveness (book two)

If Not for a Bee (book three)

A Family Like Hannah’s (book four)

Bachelor’s Remedy (book five)

In the Doctor’s Arms (book six)

If Not for a Bee
Subtitle: Seasons of Alaska
by Carol Ross
Source: Borrowed from local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373367436

Also by this author: The Rancher's Twins, Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms

Also in this series: Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance


Setting: Alaska


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st October, 2015

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 380

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin

& #SeasonsOfAlaska

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About Carol Ross

Carol Ross

USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age.

As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 29 March, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction

#Harlequin Heartwarming Series Book Review | “Mountains Apart” and “A Case for Forgiveness” (Book One & Two: Seasons of Alaska) by Carol Ross

Posted Thursday, 28 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Borrowed Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

This particular review is slightly different from my regular blog tours and hosting features for Prism Book Tours – as an opportunity came along this March to secure a spot on a ‘review tour’ rather than a ‘blog tour’ for a novel within the Seasons of Alaska series by Carol Ross. I had previously read a novel by Ms Ross when I was attached to the five-book series “Return of the Blackwell Brothers” review tour wherein I read the entire series as a hostess for Prism Book Tours.

This time round – I am borrowing most of the “Seasons of Alaska” book series through my local libraries – either through ILL (inter-library loan) and/or local borrowing opportunities as one of my libraries had more of the books in their local catalogue than the others. My readings of this series will be spilt into review showcases of two books in sequence leading into my review for the review tour of “In the Doctor’s Arms” which is the latest release for this Harlequin Heartwarming series.

We had a lot of flexibility with this review tour – we were not required to read the entire series, however, being a serial fiction reader who likes to read more of a series than less – I elected to seek out the series in full to be read before “In the Doctor’s Arms”. The author herself was kind enough to send me a copy of the one novel I couldn’t borrow through my library which is “Bachelor Remedy”. The scheduling of my readings and my review postings for this review tour are as follows: “Mountains Apart” and “A Case for Forgiveness” (post one); “If Not for a Bee” and “A Family Like Hannah’s” (post two) and “Bachelor Remedy” and “In the Doctor’s Arms” (post three) – the third of which will be featured on my 6th Blogoversary the 31st of March, 2019.

I decided to read all the stories in this series ‘blind’ – meaning, I didn’t read each of the synopsis’s before setting into the stories as I was reading them. I knew I could trust where Ms Ross would take me as I loved her instincts for Return of the Blackwell Brothers – therefore, it became a bit of a lovely adventure seeing how her characters within this new series would develop, strengthen and grow!

I borrowed the following novels through my local library “Mountains Apart” through ILL (inter-library loan) services and “A Case for Forgiveness” through the local library’s catalogue. I was not obligated to post a review and am sharing my ruminative thoughts for my own personal edification whilst keeping my readers updated on my readerly life whilst I progress through the Seasons of Alaska series. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Although I did not receive these novels through Prism Book Tours and/or the author – I did receive a few of the Press Materials to be used in conjunction with my reviews leading up to reviewing “In the Doctor’s Arms”.

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What I truly loved about discovering the Contemporary Romance styling of Ms Ross:

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was expecting to find in the segue between the Rancher who needed a Nanny and the Nanny who needed a second chance – at life, at romance – at everything to be honest! Lydia was running towards a place she could re-start her life, even if the one she’s left behind was still looming over her shoulders. What I appreciated about the ways in which Carol Ross introduce the elements of Romantic Suspense into her narrative is the unexpected nature of it – your thinking your settling into one kind of story, whilst being giving elements of surprise suspense where you become dearly concerned over the welfare of a character.

Ross knits in a lot of humour into her stories – even the kind of humour where it isn’t entirely meant to be funny, as it is awkward circumstances of two people trying to come together but who feel they have nothing in common with each other, so why attempt civility? Except in this case, it is the bloke who is at odds over his hired nanny (on first meeting) who makes soaking into this story quite enjoyable due to the natural high levels of tension erupting through the opening chapters! You truly feel you want to invest in reading this story if only to see if Lydia can succeed in making a positive impact on the twin girls’ lives or if she can even soften their father’s heart a small bit or if he will forever remain judgemental of everyone who doesn’t fit the image he has for a woman to be in hie life on his ranch. On that level, I was thinking about a second Hallmark Channel film which was Straight from the Heart (2003) (starring Teri Polo) where a city girl fell in love with a rancher!

Ross gives you such a firm grounding of centre – she introduces us to the Blackwells in such a way as it doesn’t feel like we’re meeting them for the first time (an echo of the style I am used to from Karen Rock and her Rocky Mountain Cowboys). We are getting into the back-histories of the family lore, the angst of having your grandfather go missing without notice and the issues of running a ranch when the grandfather left no forward notice of where to find him should he be unreachable. If you stop to consider everything on Blackwell’s mind, it is understandable why he’s uncertain how to approach Lydia.

I’ve mentioned Hallmark Channel quite a heap on this review because what I loved about reading The Rancher’s Twins is the fact it has the same kind of uplifting heart I love finding in certain Hallmark Channel movies – let’s face it, sometimes they have a few duds amongst the gems, but overall, what I love most about the ones which truly wick out a love of joy for me to be watching (esp the latest series All of my Heart) is how you feel pulled into the story-lines in such an organic way of alighting straight into the shoes of the characters! You can’t wait to see if they will get a happy ever after (even if mostly its a given but how will it pan out is always the critical mystery!) – and this same feeling is tucked inside the very first Return of the #BlackwellBrothers!

I am overjoyed I am able to participate in my first serial review tour! What a wonderful start to a series I am super excited to continue reading! I have not received the second book in the series The Rancher’s Rescue but I am dearly anticipating it now!! If I dare say – this particular one I’ve just read ought to be considered for Hallmark! It would fit well with their series of Western Romances – they haven’t put together a new Cowboy / Ranch Romance in awhile… hmm,… (*nudge, nudge*)

-quoted from my review of The Rancher’s Twins

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Seasons of Alaska series by Carol Ross

Seasons of Alaska series by Carol Ross

Mountains Apart (book one)

A Case for Forgiveness (book two)

If Not for a Bee (book three)

A Family Like Hannah’s (book four)

Bachelor’s Remedy (book five)

In the Doctor’s Arms (book six)

Mountains Apart
Subtitle: Seasons of Alaska
by Carol Ross
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373366705

Also by this author: The Rancher's Twins, If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms

Also in this series: If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance


Setting: Alaska


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 25th February, 2014

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 379

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin

& #SeasonsOfAlaska

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About Carol Ross

Carol Ross

USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age.

As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 28 March, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction