Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

+Book Review+ Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear #Contemporary story grounded in #realistic fiction.

Posted Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Official Author Websites@marymcnear | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Ebook

Converse via: #ButternutLakeSeries & #UpAtButternutLake

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Butternut Summer” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. Realising this was a second novel within a series, I requested a copy of the first novel “Up at Butternut Lake” in order to understand the continuity of the characters & the story. I received a complimentary copy of the novel direct from the publisher William Morrow without an obligation to post a review. Whereas I received a complimentary copy of “Butternut Summer” direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

Stories of second chances have always held fast to my heart, as life has this beautiful way of giving us a bit more than we’re expecting it to yield most of the time. The idea that there are ways to have a renewal of our lives through a second chance or a new beginning elsewhere from whence we are currently has a very alluring appeal! I have been an appreciator of Contemporary Romance & Contemporary Women’s Fiction for a good 20 years now, as I snuggled into a fierce appreciation for Debbie MacComber originally when I first started noticing both of these genres. Sherryl Woods followed 15 years later when I discovered the small towne of Serenity, and the series the Sweet Magnolias (although I personally refer to that series as ‘Serenity’). MacComber’s Angel series drew me into her narrative arcs, followed closely by the Cedar Cove series and Blossom Street; as I appreciated her style of story and the homespun sincerity of her characters. Being that both MacComber & Woods are going to have series based off their novels on the Hallmark Channel within the next year or so, humbles me a bit as I have this history of discovering both authors ahead of their newfound popularity. I even knew Debbie MacComber’s works would find a home on Hallmark Channel, but that’s a story for another time, perhaps!

I had started to curate a List on Riffle entitled: Contemporary Romances : Returning back to the Modern Era as I wanted to walk back into an area of literature I have started to negate reading. When I first had the opportunity to have a library card after a considerable absence, my checkout queue looked quite hyperactively complied! I simply couldn’t wait to grab this or that novel, and try this or that author! I started so many wicked awesome series by new-to-me authors, I have a list a mile long of ‘next reads’ to continue the happiness I had begun five years ago! Then, I started to shift my wanderings a bit, exploring new genres and/or committing to new styles of the craft of storytelling itself. My wanderings are always a bit decidedly serendipitous in their nature, but as much as I have a niche for being addicted to the historical past, I am equally entranced by the modern era!

I may or may not have highlighted my joy of giving back to deployed servicemen & women as much as I have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work they give whilst they dedicate their lives to others. Military fiction was a branch of literature I was attracted too as a young teen, and likewise, my passion for watching JAG, NCIS, NCIS: LA, & NCIS: NOLA originated out of my love of Jack Ryan stories (by Tom Clancy). Hallmark Channel has a lovely Romance with Lori Loughlin entitled: Meet My Mom of which I loved for bringing a realistic story to their offerings and shining a positive  light on today’s military families.

As soon as I read the book synopsis, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to read both of these novels, whilst being wicked happy the third novel: Moonlight on Butterlake releases in 2015!

+Book Review+ Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear #Contemporary story grounded in #realistic fiction.Up at Butternut Lake
by Mary McNear
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, Mary McNear introduces readers to the town of Butternut Lake and to the unforgettable people who call it home.

It’s summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family’s cabin beside tranquil Butternut Lake, where as a teenager she spent so many carefree days. She’s promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She’s promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband’s death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crosses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he’s ever known?

Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances—her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop—are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself—until he takes a shine to Wyatt . . . and to Allie.

Everyone knows that moving forward is never easy, and as the long, lazy days of summer take hold, Allie must learn to unlock the hidden longings of her heart, and to accept that in order to face the future she must also confront—and understand—what has come before.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945)



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Butternut Summer, Interview with Mary McNear, Moonlight on Butternut Lake

Series: Butternut Lake, Butternut Lake Trilogy


Also in this series: Butternut Summer, Moonlight on Butternut Lake


Published by William Morrow

on 8th April, 2014

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 400

Author Biography:

Mary McNear
Photo Credit:
Amelia Kennedy

Mary McNear lives in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

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Picking up the pieces : from loss & tribulations:

One of the hardest obstacles about living our lives forward without the benefit of understanding the events that will take place in the future, is being able to dig deep into our wells of strength and fortitude to accept the hope that our lives will start to turn back around. The thematics which are strongly represented in Up at Butternut Lake are an evolving exploration of Change (questions of destiny, permanence, and stability – of not only the mind, heart, and spirit but the physical locale of where your life will be lived); where each character who takes a central focus is at a turning point in their lives. Where they can choose to move forward and let go of the past that is weighing them down, or they can continue as they are without moving forward at all.

The complaisance’s of life arise out of the complexities of a cobweb’s worth of lies, spun innocently enough at the time they are created but woven into the texture of your life can become a haunting self-reminder of how untruthful of a life you’re actually living. Within the thematics of the story, this kernel of truth is an underscore that affects different characters in different ways, as the lies we tell ourselves to recover from something we feel we cannot face head-on are just as damaging as the lies which remain unspoken or proven untrue through the wrinkles of time itself.

Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Review (non-blog tour), Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Life Shift, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, Minnesota, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Scribd, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, TLC Book Tours, War Widow, Widows & Widowers

Blog Book Tour | “The Monogram Murders” by Sophie Hannah, the next #Poirot #cosy authorised by the Christie estate!

Posted Friday, 10 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

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Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Authors Websites: Agatha Christie: Site@QueenOfCrime | Facebook
Sophie Hannah: Site@sophiehannahCB1 

Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook

Official Page from the Christie Estate: The Monogram Murders

Converse via: #MonogramMurders, #AgathaChristie, #Poirot, & #CosyMystery

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Monogram Murders” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. This is the first blog tour whereupon a book I was scheduled to review underwent an ’embargo’ and this led me to realising something about the book industry I hadn’t  yet known about beforehand! Certain books have a high expectation of popularity by readers around the time of release, and this is when publishers initiate an ’embargo’ on the book, to hug the reviews & criticisms of a release closer to or shortly after the release date. My journey as a book blogger is constantly expanding my understanding & knowledge of the inter-workings of the publishing industry; for which I am keenly aware and always full of gratitude. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Passionately & Affectionately an Admirer of Agatha Christie:

It is quite curious re-entering a world of Agatha Christie after spending a near full-life away from the pages of her collective works, as I recollect the first time I had sat down with her stories I was quite a young girl. I always was piqued with a rapt fascination for sociological suspense and the mystery of crime. I spent a considerable amount of my elementary years wrapped up in the pages of a mystery of some shape or form; yet whilst I was still consuming Nancy Drew & Hardy Boy mysteries, I had a curious notion of expanding my world view of the genre. I was always a bit open with my leanings in literature with my parents, and imagine my plumb surprise in finding hardback editions of Agatha Christie as gifts the very same year I brought it to their attention I wanted something ‘a bit more I could chew on’ than the regular Nancy Drew? Nothing too mature mind you, but something with a bit more depth? Not that my parents would have given me anything overly brutal to read (as murder, wells, murder is murder you see!) but they knew the time had come along for me to read Christie all the same.

Curling into The Monogram Murders felt as though time had stopped and picked up where I had left off during those curious years where my mind furrowed itself around the angst of the human psyche and the methodologies of investigators who elicited themselves fanciful to understand the criminal mind. I loved the intellectualism of the Christie’s novels and how her main characters were always rather charmingly observant. Keenly aware of their surroundings and picking up on the slightest detail —  it is no wonder at all I would come to belove the mysteries of Columbo! I cut my teeth on this formative style of the craft by warming myself to Miss Marple; Poirot was always the odd duck out to me, as it would take a longer expanse of time for me to entertain his genius.

I think perhaps it was due to the fact I had a close attachment to my great-grandmother and a healthy connection to my grandparents; Miss Marple simply fit into my family as though she were always meant to be there. Decades would go past before I would meet Mr. Monk (of the series Monk), Detective Goren (of the series Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Jesse Stone (of the series Jesse Stone), and Sherlock (of the BBC serial Sherlock) whose attributes extend out of my love of how Doyle and Christie curate their mysteries for the enlightenment of the reader. No, I had Columbo, Jessica Fletcher (of the series Murder, She Wrote) and the Harts (of the series Hart to Hart) to keep me satisfied outside of my Miss Marple stories. There are a heap of other television detectives and mysteries I have enjoyed over the years, but I was attempting to reveal the origins of my love for them rather than chronicle the entire circle of what I have admired.

The electric excitement of being given a new collection of Marple stories or wondering what will befall next for all the lovely characters per each story I was beginning to read – there was a developed passion for Christie’s innate ability to draw out a measure of joy for psychological suspense that parlayed on the human condition and the joy of seeing justice win out over crime.

Blog Book Tour | “The Monogram Murders” by Sophie Hannah, the next #Poirot #cosy authorised by the Christie estate!The Monogram Murders

The bestselling novelist of all time.
The world’s most famous detective.
The literary event of the year—an all-new mystery featuring Agatha Christie’s legendary hero Hercule Poirot.

Since the publication of her first novel in 1920, more than two billion copies of Agatha Christie’s books have been sold around the globe. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation, Hercule Poirot.

‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…


Places to find the book:

Series: ,


on 9th September, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 320

The Monogram Cover Reveal via HarperFiction

Inspired to Share: The music alone makes me feel as giddy as a Cheshire cat who has a secret needing to be shared as joy is always doubled when given freely to another! The graphic designer alone should be commended for giving us such a special treat! Oh, I dare not spoilt it for you, dear heart, you must ‘click!’ play & see for yourself! Yes, click – now! Before you read my ruminations of the story itself – champion the moment! Click!

Note to Self: I must secure a British edition of this novel! I fancy the cover art to much not to find a way to acquire a hardback edition that sports it in all it’s glory! Lovely, most lovely I think! And, most decidedly ‘wicked’!

 Authors Biographies:

Dame Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976.

Sophie Hannah

Internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah breathes new life into the incomparable detective. In this thrilling tale, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London—a diabolically clever puzzle that will test his brilliant skills and baffle and delight longtime Christie fans and new generations of readers discovering him for the first time. Authorized by Christie’s family, and featuring the most iconic detective of all time, this instant Christie classic is sure to be celebrated by mystery lovers the world over.

Listen to an Excerpt of Chapter 1:

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah via HarperAudio_US

Note on the Narrator: I found the rhythmic manner of voicing Poirot to be quite bang-on brilliant in this particular clip from Chapter 1! The manner in which I associated Poirot to ‘sound’ in my own mind’s eye comes across quite smashing as he is fully explored through the narrator’s voice and inclination towards bringing him forward through sound. I even liked how he elected to voice the secondary characters, and etched into this audiobook a tone of story that I felt myself was present all along in the print edition! How wicked it shall be one day to listen to the audiobook whilst re-reading the novel at the very same time! How electric! Champion! I hope you find the same felicity of joy in listening to this excerpt as I had myself!

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On the continuance of Hercules Poirot & the legacy of Agatha Christie therein:

There is a signature of tradition with Agatha Christie novels, as they are the monarch butterfly of eloquence and excellence inside the Cosy Mystery genre – inflecting such a deeply etched prominence as to become beloved by each reader who soaks into her collective works. I, for one, have already revealed how much I am deeply attached to her canon, yet if I were to draw any measure of concern about this after canon prior to reading it, it would have been the same concern I voiced on behalf of Sherlock Holmes. I only wanted to seek out a writer who not only understood the full scope of the written voice of the original writer but could carry forward the principle character in such a way as to be a mirror of reflection infused with new insight, curiosity, and probable continuity.

I am a particular reader of ‘after canons’ as I soak inside certain authors tomes of creative voice outside the original texts yet I shirk away from others. To me, it is simply a question of how I feel whilst I alight in the next continuance of the story that has already formulated such a stronghold in my conscience and heart. There are story-tellers who endear us at such a young age (for me this echoes my passion for Christie) they transform our reasoning to attach ourselves to someone who comes along next. Reading is such a unique sensory experience – we become tangibly connected through the book held in our hands, we viscerally insert ourselves into the footprints of the characters, and we envision the writer’s legacy as the words lift off the page and play out through our imaginations. To me to be passionately connected to the craft of stories and to be open as a reader to encourage new voices to step forward from a generation outside of the original era of the canon, is what endeavours me forward as I wander through literature as a whole.

The little instances of knowing your wrapped inside the comfy cosy world of a Christie novel came thundering back to me as I reached page 2 of The Monogram Murders, as Christie has such a knack for giving us a level of suspense and sense of place that bespoke to a different era. I loved curling inside her stories for this one particular reason because she was lamenting her observational narratives in such a traditional voice of fiction, it begged to become an addiction. Read More

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Posted Friday, 10 October, 2014 by jorielov in After the Canon, Audiobook Excerpt, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Classic Mystery, Classical Literature, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut in United States, Detective Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Library Love, London, Sequel Authors, Sociological Behavior, Soundcloud, Story in Diary-Style Format, TLC Book Tours, Writing Style & Voice

+Blog Book Tour+ The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

Posted Wednesday, 24 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

Published By: Ecco (@eccobooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Author Websites: Site@sbfeldman  | Facebook
Available FormatsHardcover, Ebook

Converse via: #TheAngelOfLosses

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Angel of Losses” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher Ecco, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am always seeking stories which will challenge my mind and take me somewhere completely outside of where I have travelled before in literature. I had a sense that this was a story that I would devour — a story which would alight inside the vast plane of my imagination and give me something hearty to chew on afterwards. It was a premonition of a reaction long before the ARC ever arrived by Post. Do you ever find yourself stumbling across an author or a novel that you simply ‘know’ will leave an etched impression on your mind?! This is what I felt when I read the premise of Feldman’s novel and as I read the final words cast on the final page of the last chapter, I knew my premonition was true.

A notation on the cover art design:

The cover art for The Angel of Losses is a mosaic of the visual representations and clues of where the story leads you to follow it’s epic conclusion and of whom you need to pay particular attention to as the story evolves. Pictorial stimulating clues that you will only recognise as you alight on the pages in which give you the insight to understand the circle of their presence. The story is nearly a riddle when all is said and told – a riddle of a theory and a puzzle of an ancient truth aligning forward out of history.

+Blog Book Tour+ The Angel of Losses by Stephanie FeldmanThe Angel of Losses
by Stephanie Feldman
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

The Tiger’s Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters.

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli’s notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To find the truth about Eli’s origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York Stephanie FeldmanCity and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.

Author Biography: Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and her daughter.

Genres: Magical Realism



Places to find the book:

Published by Ecco

on 29th July, 2014

Pages: 288

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Elements of Folklore, Mythology, & the Craft of Stories within a Story:

One of the most beautiful additions to a story I am reading is the otherworld presence of either folklore, mythology, or the craft of how stories are told as they are passed down from one generation to another; oft-times referred to by myself as ‘living  histories’ as they truly are ‘the living history’ of a particular family. Inside Feldman’s novel, you gather a proper sense of time, place, and the stability of connection between the sisters and their grandfather was unified through the genesis of his art for story-telling. Their connective bond was untethered as they grew apart as they aged, but what I loved is seeing how the grandfather’s stories took such a central focus and method of shifting the story forward as I read deeper into the novel itself. To the level that his handwritten stories and prose scribbled into his notebooks were shared with the reader from one chapter into another. It felt very natural to go from an ordinary day out of Marjorie’s life, straight into a piece of this story she only had a peripheral knowledge of before finding one of her beloved grandfather’s notebooks.

My Review of The Angel of Losses:

Such a haunting and riveting opening of a Prologue for The Angel of Losses as we are caught inside of a memory of two sisters who are transfixed and spellbound by their grandfather’s tale of a land far away where a magician knows part of the truth of a missing son of a King. What implored me forward from there is this sense of foreboding, where did the tale leave off from the lore of the bedtime story and where did reality step forward out of the tale? I love feeling an undercurrent of suspense when I read a novel, and as this is my second Magical Realism with an under thread connection to Judaism (as the first was The Golem and the Jinni) I was mesmerized! Entering the story out of the Prologue, time has shifted forward for both sisters, as Holly (the one who was horridly afraid of her Grandfather’s story) switched religions and lived an orthodox life whereas her sister had grown into a bittersweet version of her younger self soured on how the loss of her sister has affected her heart. Her sister is still living, mind you, but the version of Holly as an adult is a far cry from the sister Marjorie knew as a child. The two are living worlds apart rather than mere blocks or cities separated by streets and the swirl of modern life between them.

I loved seeing the larger sense of their familial bond being tested by how one half of their connection is being shattered by the inability to have compassion outside of religious grounds. In this instance, I am referring to Holly’s husband is not accustomed to a non-Jewish family nor does he condone non-religious texts inside his home. A home that was inherited to Marjorie but on loan to Holly; the mere fact that Marjorie has to refer to Holly as Chava is another wrinkling thread of Marjorie’s disfavour of Holly’s choice in husband. You gather the sense at this point in the story where Marjorie is attempting to lock a hold of her past into her present, that the sister’s disconnection was already occurring long before Holly made her choice in marriage. There is an absence of words and an absence of sisterly compassion between both of them, and it points to a larger issue at hand that is slowly unfolding in the narrative itself. I like being caught up inside of a family drama, watching everything unravell as the story unfolds on its own timeclock.

Feldman has a gift for narrative voice stemming out of a wordsmith’s spirited soul for visceral imagery – she innately has gifted us with a special treat of a story, giving us a full-on adventure as we hug to the coattails of Marjorie as she pieces together the legacy and the history of a fabled Magician and the true meaning behind where the lore was always meant to take a believer; the latter of which she never felt she could ascertain on her own behalf. It is a true quandary of a problem – how to root out the history of a theory she has nibbling inside her own mind which other scholars were equally mystified about themselves? Her journey towards understanding edges her further into the mythes and pathos of ancient ruminations.

There are moments whilst I am reading I have gathered a proper sense on how each novel I consume is a building block for another yet to be known novel I will pick up in the future. As if I were stitching a tapestry woven exclusively with the threads and stitches of knowledge itself and of wisdom flowing out of the stories by which have enchanted my mind and enraptured my heart. Each story which slips into my mind’s eye has allowed me to grow, to transcend where I was before I read the story and to appreciate a bit more than I had already before the characters had lived their lives as a shadowy presence inside my own spirit. As I went deeper inside this story, I noticed little nuances of memory flittering through my internal memory files; automatically opening, closing, and filtering as I read Feldman’s prose. I had not realised I had amassed enough knowledge of the religious past to propel myself forward through this story at such an alarming clip of a pace! I cannot wait to re-read this novel when time is not extinguishing off the clock whilst a deadline was passed and overdue.

The researcher in me was happily appreciating the sections devouted to Marjorie’s attempt to research her thesis as much as research further into the legacy of her grandfather’s story. As she was always on the brink of realising that the story itself was much more than it first appeared to be. Being hunkered inside a library, piles of books atop of a table, and pages littered with bookmarks, post-it notes, and notebooks clotted full of scribbled ‘spur of the moment’ notes is what makes my own writerly heart go aflutter! Research is in part how I fell in love with writing, and it is research of another writer I treasure whilst I am reading their own stories cast out into the world for us to find. There is an electricity of excitement reading The Angel of Losses,…

At some point I started to read on autopilot, willing myself past sleep and choking myself a bit on exhaustion, but I simply needed to know how this story, this novel was going to end. I was a bit worried it might end on a cliffhanger, as I never take too kindly to ambiguous endings of stories; especially without the foreknowledge of a pending sequel. Two hours blinked off the clock and I’m at a loss for words — I’m so absorbed into this story, I feel as though I am the one pursuing the research to understand what is just outside of my own memory. This story is not like any other I’ve read and I will never quite forget it either. It is meant to be absorbed and illuminated inside the reader’s mind without revealing everything to the next reader who comes across it. For each of us has to read it ourselves and satisfy our own curiosity,… especially if we’re a seeker of stories and understand the greater meaning of what stories can give us all.

Stephanie Feldman gives her readers a window into a portal of time:

We are stepping through a veil slit into a portal of time made available through an opened window which is the novel inside your hands as your reading The Angel of Losses. Two stories came to mind as I started to read this fantastical journey: The Golem and the Jinni (novel) and The Neverending Story (film) as they are akin to how it feels to step through this world Feldman has provided us to discover. She gave us the same vehicle Bastian had in The Neverending Story, to become one within the story as it unfolded and to live as one with the character as she found where she was going herself. I loved this aspect of the novel because all of reality around me dissolved as I was wholly consumed by the voice of the evoking narrator and the clarity of Feldman’s vision for this unique novel which bent genre and illuminated the world half out of mystic history and half out of the truism of where faith can take anyone if only they were to believe in what is not yet seen.

On the footheels of consuming The Ghost BrideI felt honoured to have had the chance to read Feldman’s tome of esoteric concentration of mystic Judaism cross-sected with religious ancient truths. The suspension of reality and the generous backstories of where the mytho origins of the story can be traced was a treasurement to fall in front of my eyes. I devourted this novel as readily as if I were astride a thunderbolt – even knowing I was outside my intended deadline (as the moon had long since waned and the midnight hours had tilted into a crescendo) I could not yield to sleep. I had to consume the text as quickly as I could process the words on the pages themselves, as my mind was lit aflame by the creativity and the ingenuity of how the historical arc was interlaced into the present of the character’s lives.

Fly in the Ointment:

I counted the words this time and there were less than a dozen splintered out across the whole of the novel. I wasn’t happy to find them; this is an intellectually stimulating piece of literary fiction and they felt misplaced amongst the rhetoric. I am not even sure why they were included in such a brilliant spec of literary voice. They degraded the quality in my eyes, as not only could this stomach their expulsion it was necessary to keep in tact the gift Feldman had writ.

A small explanation on my tardiness:

I had lost hours whilst being needed at the hospital in visitation of my neighbour (as previously disclosed here & here) as much as I was out of the house on another appointment that could not be detained. I attempted to revive the lost hours and run into my deadline without passing through it — but alas, I am quite human and not as immortal as the character inside this novel. Time can be bent but time cannot be recaptured once lost. I apologise for the delayed response, but my tweeting at least was a small clue at my enjoyment whilst I read. I am attempting to make the rest of my scheduled book reviews & tour stops to be alight earlier in the day / evenings from here on out; barring any further unexpected life emergencies, crises, or unplanned events such as lightning storms. 

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and although I had happily made sure that I could reacquire the WP Comments where you can leave me a comment by using: WP (WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Email a java glitch disrupted my plans to have these activated! Therefore, I had to re-instate CommentLuv, which only requires Email to leave a note for me!

Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

Reader Interactive Question:

Have you ever alighted inside of a novel that you unexpectedly were swallowed up inside? Taken root inside the shoes of the character, where their life was full of emotional upheaval and partially an exploration of how to create a life shift that will alleviate their disillusion with where their life was heading; to find a different way of living and carve out their own little peace of happiness? Did you ever read a novel that surprised you?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Angel of Losses”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “The Angel of Losses”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

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Posted Wednesday, 24 September, 2014 by jorielov in Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Angels, Biblical Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Browse, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Bookish Discussions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Mystery, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Judaism in Fiction, Judiasm, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Magical Realism, Modern Day, New York City, Psychological Suspense, Reincarnation, Religious History, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, TLC Book Tours, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, World Religions

+Blog Book Tour+ Vintage by Susan Gloss

Posted Monday, 22 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 8 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Vintage by Susan Gloss

one of The Débutante Ball bloggers of 2014 | the Blog & their Tweets

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Official Author Websites: Site | @susangloss| Facebook | Etsy Shoppe | Blog
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, & Ebook

Converse via: #Vintage

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Vintage” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I hadn’t realised my hardback copy of “Vintage” was damaged until I started to read the novel itself, where pieces of the pages started to rip apart and shred right off individual pages of the novel. I found the culprit but could not do anything to stop it from continuing to happen as on page 155 all the pages were glued together! A sticky substance had attached itself to the top of the pages and therefore, try as I might to be gentle & delicate – the pages would not yield nor would they budge without causing them to rip either in full chunks or strips. Of course the worst part is that page 156 & 157 were glued *together!* and by pulling them apart I lost whole words, sentences, and saw all the ink obscured completely! :( I grieved for this novel at that point. I had tucked it’s story into my heart and although I was breathing in love with each page I had turnt, the novel simply was starting to fade away from me due to ‘glue’. When this happened, I knew I would lose the beautiful pace of what I was reading,… how could I not with ‘whole pages’ stuck to each other that could not be undone without ripping the book apart? I had to stop pulling page 156 – it was just too heart-wrenching. Part of the page was so thin in the upper paragraphs you could see right through the paper! :( I ended up missing an epic fight between April & Violet as pieces of the top pages of 158 & 160 ripped apart so I could start Chapter 15.

I decided not to let this deter my reading enjoyment but it proved to be quite of a challenge as it is the first time I received a book whose damage was quite literally making it difficult to read the story. Prior to page 155 each page I read had this unique slant to it, as it wouldn’t release from the top inside binding; therefore, I read this in a very creative way all the way around!

The hardest pill to swallow is that when I read novels which are new when they reach my hands, I’m the kind of gentle reader who can read the book without leaving a trace I’ve read the story. No bent pages in the upper corners (I use bookmarks), no writing inside the book (I couldn’t even do that with textbooks!), no eating of food that could transfer through my fingers (you’d be surprised what people eat whilst reading library books!), and I barely arch the spines in order to view the words on the page! Not only for hardbacks but the paperbacks — my ChocLit novels & my William Morrow P.S. Edition paperbacks are a good cases in point; they do not show any evidence I read them in this way because I treasure keeping books in a condition that honours their texts. Even when I purchase second-hand novels and non-fiction books I’m always trying to keep the stability of the book in its current condition.

This is wretching experience for a book lover whose own heart was bleeding with the characters and wanted to know all of their thoughts without skipping over pages stuck together without any hope of being undone. And, sadly I haven’t had the pleasure of taking book binding lessons and book recovery classes to know how to fix this if there were a plausible and affordable way to undo the damage. My reading slowed down considerably as I had to peel each page as best as I could to read the rest of the novel. I will omit mentioning how long it took for me to free the pages in order to read them. The top of Chapter 22 really suffered: it looked like someone took a bite out of the page!

Inspired to Read:

I had an impression of an idea what I would find within the pages of Vintage, as I devoured A Vintage Affair by Isobel Wolff via my local library a few years prior to when I first learnt about this new release by Susan Gloss. I fancy stories which are centered around the history and enriched life of clothes and the personal items that occupy our hours alongside the time in which we walk our path on Earth. I oft wondered about the secret histories of second-hand copies of novels could speak inside of a whisper of my ear and the same can be said for vintage clothing boutiques who re-sell clothes previously worn yet gently returned back into the wild for someone else to find them. There is such a hearty treasure to seeking clothes from previous generations, and I for one, am a happy hearted vintage clothes shopper! Mind you, I haven’t gone into the true posh boutiques yet, but the re-sell shoppes for everyday living are quite splendid!

I love the textural experience of wandering from row to row and hanger to hanger, sorting through the ingredients of the clothes (in my particular case, avoiding most synthetics), and noting the styles I am finding being offered. I love the fact that you can pull shirts, skirts, dresses, and bottoms straight-off the rack and know for a start your not about to see anyone soon wear the same ensemble. We’ve become a bit cookie-cutter in our society, and although I cannot fathom why everyone wants to dress like everyone else, I’ve always celebrated individual style and a personal awareness of what types of clothes and articles of fashion make me wicked happy to have them alight in my closet!

I love pulling from different styles of thought, mixing in my own take on an old trend and/or re-inventing a style that is uniquely my own by fusing pieces that might not seem alike but smashingly look brilliant in combination! I love a comfortable fit, I avoid high heels like the plague (they are seriously not a method of wellness for foot), and I like finding a nodding towards the past by finding pieces that match an eloquence of femininity that is nearly all but lost in today’s world of fashion. I’m vintage but I’m alternatively creative in my choices, I love Bohemian for instance, but I like to add a bit of funk to my colour palette and the alternative styles that might be on the fringes of punk. I love cargo pants but I like a nice comfortable pair of washed denim jeans. The accessories are always a happy delight as generally speaking in any second-hand clothing shoppe or boutique, your bound to find estate sale keepers alongside costume jewelry sparklers! The true mirth of joy is being able to go shoppe to shoppe and find pieces of your spirit drifting in through the clothes which speak to you to wear!

I am not sure why I never came round to borrowing Vintage from my local library, but because I hadn’t, it allowed me to be on the blog tour!

Quite simply, how could I not love a novel entitled Vintage?

When it pertains to clothes and a vintage sensibility of style?!

And. shh! One of my secret places to observe wicked alternative fashion is ETSY!

Rock on, dear hearts! Be uniquely defined by what enlivens your own spirit!

+Blog Book Tour+ Vintage by Susan GlossVintage
by Susan Gloss
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

A small-town girl with a flair for fashion, Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. But when faced with the possibility of losing the store to an unscrupulous developer, she realizes that despite her usual self-reliance she cannot save it all by herself.

Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect vintage wedding dress to Violet’s shop, she forges an unexpected bond with women who won’t let her give up on her dreams.

Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her vibrant Indian silk dresses. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears her best days are behind her . . . until she discovers an outlet for her creativity with a needle and thread.

Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal, love, and hope when we least expect it.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Women's Fiction



Places to find the book:

Published by William Morrow

on 25th March, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 320

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Excerpt from Vintage by Susan Gloss by WilliamMorrowBooks

Author Biography: Susan Gloss

Susan Gloss is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin Law School. When she’s not writing fiction, Susan can be found working as an attorney, blogging at GlossingOverIt, or hunting for vintage treasures for her Etsy shop, Cleverly Curated. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.

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A Triptych of Insight:

Violet, April, and Amithi (along with Betsy who plays a supporting role as much as Lane) are the key characters in Vintage, who nestle into your heart as you read their stories unfold. What I found so striking about this particular story is the differences in their ages and the differences of where they are in their lives. April is just starting out on her own path as she’s a teenager on the fringes of college and motherhood, whereas Violet has lived quite a life of woe intermixed with the happier moments she carved out for herself in the world of business. Amithi is the classic housewife whose illusions of a happy marriage are shattered and irrevocably set her course on a new line of sight. They provide a triptych of insight into how life shapes us each day that we breathe and accept to take in the new experiences that cross our path. Whether or not we react well or unkind to how our lives change, it is our own attitude of how we approach life that can determine how much we can enjoy and how much we can appreciate the journey.

Gloss shifts backwards and forwards through the story alighting on chapters which highlight the specific observations and emotions of each of the three women as you soak into Vintage. This unique point-of-view lends itself a unique lens to get into the heart of the novel, which I had originally fell in love with whilst reading Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers as a teenager.

My Review of Vintage:

The name of the vintage shoppe inside the novel Vintage is Hourglass Vintage, a beckoning title of alluring to how time may be of the essence or a direct factor to off-set the harmony of the characters inside its pages. I like how writers choose names to give their readers a curiosity about what they will find as they read along and discover more of where the narrative is about to take them. Half the time I worry I might read a bit too much into the selections of names, but oft-times I find myself realising writers have a heap in common with songwriters; each etch into their creative works a tell; a signal left behind for someone to recognise and knowing feel museful.

Violet is the proprietor who happily loves to lead an unconventional life despite the fact she has very traditional (and quite conventional) aspirations she wants to fulfill.  I never understood how some women feel that if you wanted to be a Mum your life automatically becomes traditional: white picket fence, two story house, traditional job, and your children play soccer whilst you drive a mini-van. There are a lot of stereotypes and stigmas that I think cloud over the quite curiously wicked alternative, non-traditional, and unconventional families who thrive in the creative arts and/or create their own independence by pursuing a career that matches their passion. There are so many different roads to travel down, I am never certain why we all feel pigeon holed into one or two. Even motherhood is not hinged to marriage, as so many women tend to believe as well.

April is at a crossroads in her life as she is attempting to sort out how to attend college whilst facing the reality of being withchild; cast alone in the world since her Mum died her sole support system is anchored by a scholarship which is run by people who genuinely care and want to help her. She’s at that unique spot in life where you have to make grown-up choices and realise somewhere inside you there is a well of strength you never knew you had. I like how she has a strong head on her shoulders, embracing a bit of no nonsense carefree attitude when her hormones are not affecting her emotional sensibility and a rock of determination that defies her circumstances. She’s a bit caught in-between childhood and adulthood, stepping as brave as she can into where the future has led her but unsure of how she’s going to get to where she wants to be.

Amithi is in transition of realising her daughter has no interest in maintaining family traditions nor in keeping close ties to her extended family in India. Amithi did not have the same freedom of choice for her marriage or her life when she was the same age of her daughter, and it is how she is shifting through this transitional period of her life that endeared me to her as a character. She was raised in a traditional Indian home and had hoped part of her heritage and culture would have affected her daughter, yet each time she thought she made a bit of progress the daughter would rebel and walk a different path away from her parent’s background.

The beauty of reading Vintage is the allure of second chances and second beginnings when life at first doesn’t seem to take you down the path you’ve been wanting to walk. All three women have a unique path in life they are walking as we meet them in the story and all of their lifepaths are starting to collide into each other as well. They are three extraordinarily different women, but at the heart of who they are they are incredibly alike. The story takes on a time slip arc as each new kernel of insight into each of the women’s past is revealed; we go from the present into a slip of the past as a flirting glimpse into how each of them was moulded into who they are now.

On the writing style of Susan Gloss and why I love her approach to this novel:

Outside of my flexing of a disparaging opinion on language in the ‘fly in the ointment’, my readers I believe know by now that on occasion I can overlook these blemishes and blights to see the story outside of the wrinkling of my nose. I cannot always overlook language, especially if it is threaded into each or every other paragraph, but if its sprinkled in such a way as to remind me of flies on a picnic; I become invested in the story itself. What I appreciated the most about Gloss’s style to tell the story is her infusion of using the time slip arc, to allow us the added benefit of seeing Violet, April, and Amithi as a younger version of themselves — writ right in line with the present day goings-on. It is a unique vehicle to carry-on the unknown elements of each of their past, whilst giving the reader the breadth of what makes them who they are in the present. I love time slips as much as I love life shift narrative arcs (and I believe this qualifies in triplicate) or time travel sequences. They give added dimension outside the general scope of where a story fits inside its sub-genre and happily allows us to soak in information in a way that feels as though we are conversing with the characters ourselves.

Fly in the Ointment:

Recently whilst I was reading Someone Else’s Love Story and I Shall Be Near to You, I had mentioned how finding such brass language inside novels being released was growing tiresome. I must contend, my disdain hasn’t altered now that I’ve picked up Vintage, as I am seriously starting to wonder how to advocate for word usage changes and how to get back into the heart of how to write a novel without dropping words which singe ears and wrinkle brows. I read a lot of heart-warming fiction, including the YA novel The Strength of Ballerinas yesterday which begs to reason most novels can hold their salt without abrasive words flittering into the pages at the most inconvenient times. I am starting to wonder if I am amongst the few who uses her words to express her emotions and her thoughts in a way in which does not yield to the gutter.

And, why is strong language used in such a strong way in the start of a novel if only to disappear to a near blink of omission lateron? Why include it at all if the pace and style fit so well without it being added? I am always so puzzled by how language and vulgar words are being used in novels. It is nearly as if you’d have to remind yourself this novel *had!* abrasive words in it as after awhile they are simply ‘gone’. At least until they unexpectedly re-arrive back into the plot during an argument. Sighs. 

I’ve said my peace but I wish I had a slice of apple pie. This novel is a comforting Southern slice of bravery in the midst of life being upturnt unexpectedly, yet it takes place in the North; strangely for me the location never felt like Madison, Wisconsin (I ought to know I’ve been there) but rather somewhere down South, like Charleston or Greenville South Carolina. A place where the beauty of embracing a vintage lifestyle and the clothing boutiques like Hourglass Vintage would be happily inter-spaced in-between the more modern shoppes of fashion. I simply didn’t get the vibe this was a completely Mid-Western story nor did I feel it ‘fit’ Madison. Even though I realise the author lives there, when I visited the city I walked away with an entirely different point-of-view.

Before anyone asks me:

The reason I didn’t seek this novel out at my local library is because ever since Thursday night and the wee hours of Friday morning my neighbour has been in the hospital – at first under pre-caution for pneumonia (in the ER), then downgraded to bronchitis (after admitted), and then, today due to complications of the antibiotics and treatments she is being held over a week before being moved into a nursing home / rehab center. I’ve been completely distracted by going back and forth to the hospital and attempting to keep up with my reading & blog schedules. She’s more like an Aunt than a neighbour, so I honestly didn’t even think of seeking a different copy to read for the review, as my focus has been on her and my family, as there are other things going on personally at the same time which have distracted me as well. (I briefly mentioned a bit of this on my post about Early Decision) To be honest, it didn’t even dawn on me until about an hour ago the hours I lost today due to a terrible lightning storm (in which I visited my neighbour as I knew going on the computer was out of the question to write this review) and the time it took to pull the pages apart — as my eyes drew to the clock worried I’d be late in posting that a library copy would have saved me a bit of grief. Of course, my library is not the one that is open 10 minutes before 9pm! These are the moments you make lemonade out of lemons and carry-on.

Despite the faulty copy I received, I was overjoyed it was a hardback edition, as I was only expecting a paperback copy. I’m still joyful I have a hardback copy of Susan Gloss’s debut novel — I loved watching her and the other Debs at the blog take their turns in the bookish spotlights during the year, and it was an honour to host my ‘second’ Deb as I hosted Ms. Heather Webb (for Becoming Josephine) in January. I am enthused I have a whole new year of Debs to get to know and greet into the literary fold! My copy of Vintage is worn in and loved all the same — just like the beautiful clothes featured in the novel itself.

This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

click-through to follow the blogosphere tour:

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

See what I am hosting next:

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and I have happily made sure that I could reacquire the WP Comments where you can leave me a comment by using: WP (WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Email! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Vintage”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Vintage”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

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Posted Monday, 22 September, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adulterous Affair, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Breast Cancer, Cancer Scare, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Library Find, Life Shift, Literature of India, Old World Arts & Crafts, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Second Chance Love, Sewing & Stitchery, Singletons & Commitment, Time Slip, TLC Book Tours, Unexpected Inheritance, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vintage Clothes & Boutiques, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights)