Tag: Brenda S. Anderson

A #CFSRS20 inspired #TopTenTuesday XV | The Top Ten #INSPY #HistRom & #RomSusp Jorie definitely wants to read in [2020] !!

Posted Tuesday, 25 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

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A bit of back-history – I’ve been working on this *list!* since February:

[Topic originally was entitled: Love Freebie – however, I decided to re-write this week’s topic to reflect The Top Ten #INSPY Romances Jorie definitely wants to read!]

This wasn’t the topic this week – it was Valentine’s Week topic which I was too consumed with the Jane Austen Dragons series to pull my thoughts together on the topic I selected to feature as my nod to Romance & why I love reading INSPY Romance such as the lovelies I’m featuring on this post in response to the “Love Freebie Topic”!

In regards to “book hangovers” – they come very infrequently for me & it is not something that *always!* happens – in truth, my last was for “Christmas Once Again!” Whilst one of the authors I’m featuring on today’s post has writ a series which has left me hung on her words and dearly curious about what I shall find within her 3x trilogies which generationally evolve forward in time once you read the first novel! I’m going back to the beginning… to how Marcy met Patrick as *2020!* is the year I am reading my beloved saga the O’ Connors of Boston, via Ireland by Julie Lessman!

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A note on today’s actual TOPIC:

[18th August’s topic was dealing with books to see adapted – however, I’m in the middle of my readathon of INSPY as I’m participating in the Christian Fiction Reading Safari and decided to focus on those stories which I am finding during the readathon as this readathon is one of my favourites throughout the year.]

Except to say I wasn’t able to finish my previews of these lovely novels until the 25th – wherein the topic of the hour being shared was “Questions I’d Ask Favourite Authors” which in theory is a topic I’ll readdress lateron in the year as it is a wicked good one to pitch forward and see where it leads!

Visit and find out what everyone has posted!

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Today’s entry was inspiring to me for the following reasons:

I want to begin this post by thanking the publisher Bethany House for allowing book bloggers to use their Press Materials whilst writing posts which reflect their #currentreads, their #nextreads and/or their anticipated reads (ie. #WaitingOnWednesday) or even a fuller review of their takeaways and ruminations after they read the stories! Their Publicity department is sweet and kind – making this the first time I get to start featuring their authors & stories on Jorie Loves A Story!

You’ll notice I have several of their authors in queue to be read via my #70AuthorsOfINSPY reading challenge! Whilst at the same time – I wanted to see which of these authors I previously noted to be read vs newer authors with new releases are currently available to be borrowed via my local libraries! #lovemylibrary for giving us a hearty selection of the genres we love to be reading – whether other patrons are enjoying them alongside me OR if through my purchase suggestions, they have started to grow genre selections which are more limited in scope. This is why I am tweeting & blogging about being proactive with your local & regional libraries – to help them strive to have an inclusive library full of stories, genres, literary voices and routes of publishing such as I have been doing since 2008!

Having said that – my regional library which had a larger OverDrive catalogue removed all of us from using their digital catalogue this year. I wasn’t notified properly because the notice didn’t reach my email address – a quirk and fluke according to them but the sad bit is I didn’t get to save my ‘list’ of found audiobooks via that OverDrive catalogue which was super massive! I was finding new stories, authors and narrators to listen whilst at the same time, I had several purchase requests which were accepted and can no longer be heard. It was quite the disheartening news – I still have libraries I can borrow audiobooks from but they do not always purchase the eclectic selections I love to read like the other one had.

I wasn’t sure how to replace it – which is why I’ve been leaning on what is available in Scribd and hoping my own local library will lift the restrictions on purchase requests which have been blocked for most of 2020. Until I saw this lovely tweet by Destiny @ Howling Libraries which gave me a bit of new hope to finally have a digital library card as I had requested through my regional library after they dropped me as a patron. Now why the Brooklyn Public Library can allow anyone in the country to pay for a yearly card and my regional local library cannot is literally beyond logic! I mean, seriously!? I’ve tucked this information into a bookmark for future when I can afford to get a yearly card. I believe between Scribd, my local libraries and this BPL card I’d have all my bases covered again like I had when my regional library was not the putz they became this year in not understanding patrons needs and giving them an option to stay in their library system. (ie. by paying out of county fees)

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When it comes to reading #INSPYRomance – I must admit, it is a beautiful ‘guilty pleasure’ as some might call it but I’d like to refer to it as a ‘cosy comforting read’ wherein I get to resume from whence I left off in my readings! I’ve been a hybrid reader of both markets [mainstream & INSPY] as well as [Major Trade & Indie Pub / Small Trade (including Self-published Authors)] since I was quite young. This is why you see a wide net cast each year I am reading and sharing my bookish ruminations with you on my blog. If you missed catching my Top #NewToMeAuthors of 2019 – you might want to read through it and notice how many Indie Authors &/or Indie Publishers are listed!

Likewise, I don’t always blog all the INSPY I read per year – sometimes it is lovely to just disappear into a book and not think about [writing] a review or fully disclosing what the experience was as I read it. We all need our ‘downtime’ from being online and I’ve noticed that reading INSPY is always a wicked good way for me to find my own niche of R&R space offline. I do have the tendency of gravitating towards #LoveINSPIRED Suspense novels – as those are a pleasure of their own as I get to read them in sync with Mum! We love gushing over the plots, talking about the plot threads, sorting out the characters & of course, discussing the developing crime drama which is at the root of the storylines!!

Every July for the past 2x years I’ve been focusing on reading more #INSPY stories which is part of a readathon for it – per each book I read & finish I’ve had the chance to win some new ones by authors I’ve not previously read. It is one of those delish reader challenges where you read at your own pace, appreciate the experience of discovery and then get a bit of #bookpost afterwards! (see also posts: Year 1 & Year 2)

This year the event moved to August which was a HUGE BLESSING considering I had back-to-back severe migraines which would have rendered me unable to read and appreciate this readathon this year. Be as it were, I still had to take it a bit slower this year due to having 4×4 (four migraines, in four weeks) but I am just appreciating the downtime, the joyful discovery and the fact each author I’m reading is giving me loads of wicked sweet memories to cherish! That’s what matters to me – the style of the writer’s voice, the characters I feel dearly close to as I’m reading them and the experience of how their stories left an imprint on me as I read them.

I’ve also developed a featured showcase for INSPY reviews entitled: #INSPYSundays here on Jorie Loves A Story – a thread of interest I am looking forward to continuing and hopefully expanding into weekly installments as much as I want to round out my #SaturdaysAreBookish showcases as well to run concurrently where I am focusing on Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit [as it is aligned with my chat @SatBookChat].

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Today, let’s celebrate my Top Ten #NextReads
for #INSPY Historical Romance & Romantic Suspense –

I hope become part of my wicked #awesomesauce reads for 2020!

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#CFSRS20 readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

You can keep up with my readings via my Announcement Page

If you are unfamiliar with this readathon, it inspires readers who enjoy reading INSPY (faith-based) and/or Christian Fiction to join the event as it is a celebration of those stories along with any story that is considered a ‘clean read’ which doesn’t have explicit violence or language inclusive of its telling. I personally do not appreciate either in the stories I am reading whether I’m reading mainstream or INSPY Lit which is why I strive to find the authors who are not using those inclusions regardless of which market I am reading.

This year, I decided to go about things a bit differently – easing into the readathon a week after it began due to coming out of a severe migraine and selecting stories one by one to read and/or listen to via audiobook which was resonating with me as soon as I began to read or listen to it. Rather than how I used to approach the readathon which was to iron out a list of books to read throughout the month. This year, I am simply thankful to be reading the stories and celebrating a readathon that renews my spirits because it helps me ‘slow down’ and enjoy reading for a short spell without deadlines. Not that I mind having deadlines but everyone needs a break every now and then!

This Top Ten Tuesday I wanted to see which stories I had on my shelf and which stories I could borrow via my library which are either new authors or writ by an author I’ve previously read and are either beginning a series or continuing one I have already recognised as one I want to read. And, that’s the other side of why I love this readathon – it enables you to read new authors, seek out new stories and series and find your own rhythm of joy within the readathon which highlights today’s INSPY Fiction authors.

As a component of the readathon, I am also hosting INSPY Lit authors during @SatBookChat – I have two more INSPY authors being featuring this August, on the 22nd  (Victoria Bylin) and 29th (Linore Rose Burkard). Whilst this past weekend I hosted Janet W. Ferguson of whom was the author I read as my ‘first’ selection for the readthon this year – “Magnolia Storms” has fast become a beloved read and one of my unputdownable reads of the year.

You will see that some of the stories I read a preview of today are the ones I’ll be queuing to read next as this Tuesday it was wicked brilliant to open the stories I’ve been curious about reading, seeing what I could discern within the first twenty-five pages and continue on with my readings for a readathon that gives me so much personal joy to join. May everyone have an equally wonderful time sorting out their #nextreads as August continues to give us a chance to sort out our end of Summer reads!

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NOTE: All the books featured on this post were either gifted to me (without obligation to post a review), borrowed through my local library or were my own purchases; except for The Silent Governess which was found on a local book exchange shelf to be read and/or kept by the reader who found it without obligation to replace the book after its read.

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The Matchmaker's Rogue by Regina Scott

I recently had the chance to spotlight this novel with an extract!

Whilst I received a print copy of this (gift from the author) which I blogged about receiving earlier in the year. I have always wanted to begin reading it and simply haven’t had the proper chance to dive into the story until now!

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My #25PagePreview of The Matchmaker’s Rogue:

You had to smile when you read the first chapter because this is a towne smitten with its rhythm and the frequency of how despite the time it has stood within its own sphere of normalcy and seasons, nothing ever seems to change or disrupt its purpose to provide what others cannot seek elsewhere; the lovely spa waters which seem to bolster their ability to carry on with their lives. And, then, of course, what would put a winkle of a wench into that kind of day after day monotony? A pirate, of all things! And, yet that is what Maudie is whispering to Jess about and how lucky they are to have one amongst them!

The plot immediately thickens (which I love!) as it is hinted that this supposed pirate and Jess have a shared history. Not that that deterred her from speaking with him but it was a bit more interesting if you took into account the observation of her Aunt Maudie had said to her as it appeared there was a bit more to this bloke than meets the eye!

The irony of course is that community perception and reality do not always root out the truth of the observations being made! I liked getting into the head of the male lead – Lark was quite the character but his heart was in the right place even if he rubbed the residents a bit the wrong way round. He is here on a mission to seek out what is going wrong in the small community except what surprised him (but not me!) is that he’s not being given a lot of help in trying to get a better feel for what goes on here once the sun slumbers itself until a new dawn. He wants to find what is hidden in the shadows but he’s investigating a community which prides itself on being tucked out of sight and without any crime. I was curious how he was going to peel back the layers of what is hidden and what he’d find once he does as what if it were all for naught?

What interested me is how Jess sets her mind to explain everyone visiting the spa and also the towne – whose to be trusted, whom she keeps at arm’s length and the other ones she’s not quite sure about but keeps on another list entirely. You see, she sorts everyone into different categories and those catagories become her way of looking at the people round her in different categorisations which are based on how long she’s known them and what she believes she can trust (or distrust) of their character. It becomes an interesting commentary which threads into the narrative and you find yourself smirking more than once at her disclosures!

Final verdict? I was delighted by how gently this is written and how engaging the story becomes the more the lens shifts onto Jess and Lark. These two might have been an item in the past but with Lark off chasing a life adventure that fills him with purpose, Jess and her family had fallen on hard times which has driven such a wedge between them! I loved the set-up for this Sweet Romance because it was owning to their strengths and to their curious nature of being interested in each other without either of them wishing to pursue the other! I know something will change (of course, it has too!) which will put them both on the same mutual course but what will be the catalyst is unknown and I delight in finding out!

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Flights of Fancy by Jan Turano

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high-society world she’s always known and finds herself an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely through traditional hard work. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when a chain of mysterious incidents on the farm point to a larger threat, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

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My #25PagePreview of Flights of Fancy:

Ooh, to be a singleton in 1885! I simply cannot imagine it, really! The pressure to find a winning match and the weight of having to shoulder the expectations of your family whilst maintaining your sanity during the London Season (or the equivalency if the story is set elsewhere as this is set in America) had to be extremely taxing on the young women. I felt for Isadora even before I knew too much about her as the impression I gained in those few short moments was that she wasn’t as inclined to rejoice in the news a Duke was keenly interested in her as much as her Mum. And, could you blame her? These were the days where you could barely breathe a word out between you and a suitor without having a more formal meeting taking place and that usually included your parents (and/or the suitors parents) as this was quasi-arranged marriage territory. Each match had to be consulted and approved – by the station of their wealth to the character of their reputations. Yes, I could definitely feel for Isadora and the long sigh that she must have wanted to release as her Mum starts to go on about this Duke fellow asking after her as if *this!* was the most definitive moment of her life. (and for her Mum, I surely think she believed it were)

When Turano further reveals (through Isadora’s perspective) how this Duke was more of a rogue than a gent it spoke volumes about how these young girls were oft pressured to pursue a match simply due to the obligation of marrying well and become situated in a station that is befitting their birthright. It was not about anything other that was traditionally accepted and expected of them and that is one reason where it is sometimes hard not to cringe about those expectations placed on them and how much you wanted to see them fight their way through it all and rise up on the other side of it with their voice and independence intact. Of course, there are many generations between theirs and ours and it is easier to discern this now as we have more freedoms than they could have wished to have themselves. Evenso, I do consider all those things whilst I’m reading a story that occupies that train of thought about arranged marriages and the peerage.

What in the stars was Isadora’s mother thinking? She left her daughter with a wolf and a rogue whose intentions were so transparently sinister if you read between the lines of his charm – he didn’t have a sincere bone in his body and you could tell he was used to getting his way just because of his status and his station. I wished someone had come round the courtyard and could have saved Isadora from this rake of a man – or had they? I need to return to the pages and see how this dear hearted girl managed to get out from under his leeching presence and reclaim her freedom!

The gall and absurdity of this bloke! I was definitely siding with Isadora in needing to distance herself from him post-haste! Beyond the leering he’s made her suffer under its the blunted and forceful notion that she needs to discontinue *reading!* because it is disagreeable to him that a young woman would want to illuminate her mind with what we could now consider Classical Literature (ie. Jane Austen, etc)! He has a very restrictive view about what a lady can and cannot do with her hours whilst I had the impression that if you failed to comply with his wishes there was a darker brooding disaster awaiting you.

Good for Isadora! She really stuck it to the Duke and I was cheering for her as she left the ballroom! I mean, there is only so much a girl can take before you have to realise that for your own safety and sanctity of mind is to assert yourself in a way that the offending person realises once and for all they cannot walk all over you and expect you to take whatever they sling at you! Gosh. What a rat!

By the time I was observing her talk to her best friend Beatrix I had a feeling Isadora was brewing up a plan to get herself away from both her mother *and!* the Duke! I was dearly looking forward to seeing what would unfold but I reached the twenty-fifth page!

Final verdict? I definitely need to finish this now!! I love Isadora’s moxie and the fact that despite everything expected of her she is still finding a way to rise through her own adversities to seek out a second path that was not given to her to walk. I’d love to see what evolves next for her and to see how and when the truth about the Duke might finally settle the tension between herself and her Mum. Of course, sometimes those kinds of Mums do not fare well when they realise they’ve made such an error in judgement or they choose to put those truths under a rug! Either way, I want to rally behind Isadora and see her get a future that she deserves and hopefully with a bit of luck that that would be a love match and not one rooted in what society wants for her instead.

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Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love
Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye.
And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune–not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope.
That’s how life is…Deep in the Heart of Trouble

I have read a few novels by Ms Gist as in my mid to late twenties I was starting to read her stories in earnest. I own at least three of her novels but this particular one isn’t one I’ve had the pleasure of reading until this August. It is one of those books by an author you already love reading that simply hasn’t had time to be read!

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My #25PagePreview of Deep in the Heart of Trouble:

ONE unexpected blunder? I seem to not realised this is the first book in a series which I blame on the cover and the back of the novel because there is no mention of this being the sequel of an established series! Grr! I wish publishers would make it rather plain and informative when there are stories in sequence to be read. I realise they love adverting these are stand-alones but a lot of us have a personal preference to read them in ORDER of SEQUENCE to have a better readerly experience. Ergo, I decided to read the pages I intended today but rather than continue forward, I chose to seek out “Courting Trouble” to better understand Essie and where I find her in the sequel!

Interestingly enough, I borrowed the audiobook via my local library’s CloudLibrary catalogue and it doesn’t even match the beginning of where this story begins in print! I elected to forego trying to back-read this series until I can purchase a copy of “Courting Trouble” because I fear the audio versions are abridged or altered.

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Oh, dear my! The ways in which people get their ruffles in a knot over the simplest of things! Before we can even get too far afield into the story, we find Essie’s being physically, emotionally and verbally attacked by a man who feels that her pants which she wears to ride a bike is a statement against the structures of society wherein women were known to wear dresses and skirts but never anything that could resemble a man’s style of dress! Imagine?! This is 1898 – on the firm brink of the 20th Century and she’s being placed at the centre of an argument about how women should not be liberated to wear different clothes to enjoy different sports. Reminded me dearly of what they used to make women wear just to go *swimming!*

However it takes a rather brash fellow to go onto a stage, forcibly take hold of a woman and then speak his mind to a waiting crowd! For the life of me, I was wondering where the security bloke was at this gathering and why no one stood up for Essie who was taken quite unawares and placed in danger! Of all those spectators? Surely one among them would rise to the occasion and come to her aide?!

The story shifts off of Essie and moves to establish what is happening in the life of Tony wherein we are finding that his father was quite the cold-hearted man and not entirely the father Tony felt he was whilst growing up. However, true to life it isn’t uncommon now for those with estates to leave their children without any means at all and rather increase the difficulties they will face trying to get themselves established out in the world. I would imagine, as the 1800s were closing their doors for the arrival of 1900 it was even harder to get your foothold than it is now without a little bit of help towards that end. I connected with Tony, his mother and his sister quite immediately and I felt his pain for not must his loss but for the loss of what he once knew about himself, his father and the state of his family.

My heart bled for Tony – he’s a man without a home and without a compass to point him in the right direction of where to go from here. He landed at his friend’s house before his train would intersect him with Essie as he’s headed off to the city she’s from in order to take a job in an oil field. Not his dream job by half but something to keep him from the streets. The ease and calm of his friend’s house combined with the warmth of friendship and the joyfulness his friends’ children feel about him as their ‘Uncle Tony’ is the kind of sweet joy I love finding in these INSPY Historical Romances!

Final verdict? I honestly did not want to stop reading this!! Now, I just have to sort out how to get “Courting Trouble” as I’m not sure if  my library has that one in print – though truth be told, I have half of mind to purchase my own copy and that way I can read the series (as it is now) with books on hand from my own library! The ease in which I re-transitioned into one of Ms Gist’s novels wasn’t lost on me and I truly look forward to moving in and out of backlogue as we all await news of her current release, which as of last Summer I saw a note about how she was still in the throes of writing it. Godspeed, Ms Gist we love your stories!!

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When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad

When romance calls, will she choose to answer?

Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list does not include following rules. So when she must apply for a job as a switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy. Hello Girls must conduct themselves according to strict–and often bewildering–rules, which include absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.

Hannah doubts it will be difficult to keep that rule–until a handsome young lawyer starts getting under her skin.

With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of companionship that blossoms into sweet romance.

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My #25PagePreview of When Love Calls:

I immediately connected to Hannah and the angst of having to reach past your own height to get an item you dearly need at the grocery store! Generally speaking, I try to ask someone whose taller than me for assistance – some understand the request and happily oblige whilst others recently seem to be shocked you’ve asked them a question and then ask why you’re asking them for help! Oyy vie. This world sometimes continues to give me a bit more woe than necessary but at least in the end everyone sorted out it was merely a small ask of themselves to assist one family to complete their shopping list! And, therefore, I knew *exactly!* why she was taking this matter into her own hands and attempting to do the impossible! Who hasn’t wanted to use those in-store ladders themselves when the staff and the general public are either a) hard to locate or b) no one seems keen to be helpful?

I liked Hannah’s moxie straightaway as she’s the type of girl who has resilience bred into her to where she can handle life’s adversities as they greet her in life. She’s undertaken the duties of raising her sisters after their parents died and in doing so, the full burden of how to gather food and not feel downtrodden by one’s diminished means is a harder challenge than most would realise as Hannah herself describes. She wants to do right by her sisters but she also would appreciate a bit of kinder respect in her community as she talked about the differences in having wealth and means and what happens when you fall from grace in regards to how society views your status and station in their community. It was a very realistic nod towards what happens when families struggle financially and have to take a harder road back into realigning themselves with where they once had been when life was more balanced.

To her credit, she took the hardships on the chin and she drew courage out of her spirit to tackle the next goal on her list. Thus it was no surprise of my own when I saw the flickering of hopefulness in her eyes when she saw the advert announcing she could apply for a job she might otherwise not have known about if it weren’t tacked in front of her path of exit from the grocer’s!

What warmed me to these sisters is how they reminded me dearly of why I love the March sisters (from Little Women) as they are a force to be reckoned with as they take-on the world round them as a singular unit. Each of them wants to be respectful of each sisters’ dreams but it is more than that – Seilstad has written an appropriately forward thinking story about how women did not need to settle for marriage and thereby the assertions that a woman’s place was solely in the home. This story begins in 1908 and thankfully the Women’s Movement was already underway and inspiring Hannah to be a champion for their individual rights of pursuing a career first and falling in love second; if that is what each of the sisters’ chose to do rather than doing only what was expected of them by society’s rules. I love finding stories like this in Historical Fiction and Historical Romance – where the voices of the women are a refreshing glimpse at how hard they had to fight for a lot of the rights we have so far far forward in the 21st Century. 1908 is not that long ago and yet there is such a divide in time between what women were allowed to do and how much they had to fight to be able to do even more than what society was allowing them to consider.

When the bank came calling at her door, I was immediately worried for Hannah as I knew they would be quite direct and blunt about what was going to happen on their behalf – would Hannah find the bravery she needed to handle those new adjustments into their life? That is what was motivating me to keep turning the pages – to see how she would draw on her faith and her resilience to overcome their circumstances at a time where all hope felt surely lost for her and her sisters, Charlotte and Tessa.

Unfortunately someone has to be the bad wolf in these circumstances and that weight fell on Lincoln who was employed by the law firm who was directly affecting the course of the Gregory sisters’ lives. It was his heart and his compassion which won out in the end as he couldn’t let himself cater to the bank’s wishes without imparting a bit of humanity on the sisters in their time of need. It felt very true of events that would happen in real life and the compassion of this man to see past the numbers & the figures of what brought him to their farm was both humbling and encouraging that not everyone sees their jobs as they are dictated but takes each case personally as a way to both understand the suit itself and to see the people involved as well. This definitely played into why I love watching legal dramas such as the new CBS series “All Rise” which is about advocating for the clients and finding a balance between what brought them to court and what can be done for them from a legal viewpoint.

Ooh! I was on such pins of anxiety awaiting to see if Hannah would make it into the (telephone) operator school! I knew it wasn’t where her heart lay (as that was the law) but this was a firm step forward for her and her sisters to stand on stable ground. Who wouldn’t want to see her succeed especially as the people in charge of the school weren’t exactly convinced she was the right girl for their field. 

Final verdict? It did not take me long to realise this was a story I wanted to finish reading during the readathon as I truly warmed to Hannah and her sisters; they were realistically portrayed and had such a humbling beginning to their lives as they had to forge their own futures now that their parents had gone on ahead of them to Heaven. It is hard for any singular person to transitions out of grief and loss to find their way in the world – imagine it is definitely keenly harder for a family of three sisters who had relied on their parents until the time of their death as this was before any of them could advance in their respective fields. I definitely knew I wanted to know what would become of them and how they would achieve their personal dreams which were just starting to take flight in their hearts. 

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The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

 Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his.

But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything–his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.

Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.

This was the novel I found @ a local shelf book exchange shelf!

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My #25PagePreview of The Silent Governess:

What captures you about this story first and foremost is how Olivia has been put into situations no one should be asked to be put inside. From the ways in which her father attempted to make a quick living at the local tavern which involved her being able to do quick sums in her head to the fact that after attempting to save her Mum’s life, she had to take to the road – literally running for her life! It almost felt all too unfair for a girl who was just trying to survive her circumstances as best she could and in the ways she felt she could.

When her Mum told her to flee, the blessing there is that she had enough time to give her a bit of running money and the promise of finding employment at a far off place where hopefully no one would look for her as she was afeared that that might become the issue. Whilst fleeing she ran into a bit of trouble in the woods and that is where the story took a few turns but thankfully didn’t derail. I thought for sure the story was going to be a different kind of story where this would involve further sorrow for our young lead character but thankfully, she was able to get away by a kind older gent who had a way with arrows and a bow!

What grips you is the necessity of her situation and the hopefulness of her own heart – how she strives to look for the positive even if there is very few things which are positive right now in her life. There is something to be said for that kind of outlook and as the dawning of a new day was just beginning to cast new light on what was possible for her to find – I knew I wanted to continue to read her story!

Final verdict? I liked the writing style first and foremost, but more than that, despite the circumstances and the moments of anticipation I felt before a scene revealled itself in full, I was captured by Olivia and the path she was set upon by situations that she had no control over but which were soon consuming her life and the choices that she’d have to make in order to survive. I’d love to see what becomes of her and how she reinvents a life that she was never fully allowed to live on her own terms until now.

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Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail.

Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the dead letter office, and she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, perhaps a taste of romance. When she comes across a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love, it becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

But when Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter, and yet . . . she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.

I happily won this novel from last year’s Christian Reading Safari!!

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My #25PagePreview of Yours Truly, Thomas:

I found that my local library’s CloudLibrary catalogue has this in audiobook and whilst I was reading I decided to sample the narrator’s narration. Until I realised her voice was coming across a bit tinny whilst listening and I elected to read the novel without the audiobook in my ears. I am not sure if this was due to listening to it via the CloudLibrary app or if perhaps this narrator just isn’t a good fit for me.

I hadn’t realised when I won this novel that it is part of a series, however, I can’t determine if its part of a series wherein there is a continuous story with familiar characters OR if it is a series by setting and location only. Time shall reveal! 

What a heartwarming beginning to this story! Young Penny has found the love letters between her parents and instead of asking them about them, she tucks them into her keeping whilst stealing away to her father’s room and hiding under the bed! I was full of smiles reading this – even moreso when her father found her and gave her a lovely lesson about what love is and how you know when you’ve found love in your life. He put it in terms she could understand (as she was ten years at the time) whilst giving her a hope of what was yet to come and be understood further for a conversation at a different time. It was one of those tender and sweet scenes you love to read and feel connected to this new world you’ve started to visit.

As a long-time appreciator of Signed, Sealed and Delivered (the Hallmark Channel’s dead letter office series) I was immediately drawn to Penny as she reminded me so much of the cast of the series! When they would await Oliver to pick their next ‘letter’ and thus, an adventure would develop out of how to return the letter (or parcel) back to its rightful owner (or the sender if the receiver could not be located). Realising that Penny was a sensitive heart and one who had compassionate empathy for other people’s lives, I knew I was going to settle into this story quite well. She had a heart of gold and when it came to love and romance, she’s still that ten year old girl wicked fascinated by the words of her father to her mother tucked into those original letters she once stole if only to glimpse how a real-life romance would play out. Now, she was an adult, a clerk in the dead letter office and finding that she still cannot part with the letters that come into her keep.

I am unsure if I could either – as I was a letter writer to friends round the world from as young as eleven and each year, the letters would go back and forth between my friends and myself I was nearly pinching myself for the experience because it opened the world to me in a new way of understanding both our world and our shared humanity. There is something to be said for writing letters… of pouring out our lives into a letter and then, having one sent back to us in full response of what we had written ourselves. Letters are time capsules and they make everything a bit more dimensional because of how letters inspire conversation and connection.

What she has to put up with at home is another matter entirely because her Mum hasn’t accepted their change in circumstances. The pacing and the delivery of this story is a wonderful one – I kept wanting to read further into the novel and I am loving the journey into my first Rachel Fordham story. She writes with such a heartful clarity about her characters and their lives; she hugs you close to where you will meet them and she wants you to understand both their motivations and their dreams. I am quite surprised I hadn’t found this author sooner and I am wicked thankful to have won this novel last year.

Final verdict? I truly felt close to this story – perhaps because I’m a postal correspondent and perhaps because I have had a love affair with mail my entire life! There is something rather alluring and stirring of the heart within this novel – it makes you want to seek out more about Thomas (the letter writer) and Penny (the dead letter office clerk) because it is interesting how their path first crossed wherein one of his letters to a girl named Clara was not deliverable. Whilst reading about his sorrowful heart (from the letter) and Penny’s reaction to it – part of me wondered if Clara had already passed on and these letters were Thomas’s way of finding a cathartic way of dealing with his grief. I do wonder if anyone else intuited that out of the first twenty-five pages!? I cannot wait to see what awaits me in the rest of the story! Especially to see if I had been right about Thomas or if he truly had lost touch with the love of his life.

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Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard

The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up

Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather’s footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago. When someone makes an attempt on Willow’s life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.

Ex-FBI agent–and Willow’s ex-flame–Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they’ll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he’s spent much of his life trying to forget–and put Willow’s tender heart at risk.

This was a series of novels my Mum and I wanted to read – however, in order for us to read them, we had to request them in Large Print. Somehow the library also ordered a copy of this novel in regular print and it allowed us to read the story together in tandem. However, before I could read it myself – Mum did finish it for the first time and loved every inch of it – to the point she knew we had to go back and read the series together! The library continued to purchase the series as the stories became available which is why we were able to read “Always Look Twice” so close to reading “Never Let Go” together!

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My #25PagePreview of Never Let Go:

Talk about a ballsy act to pull off! A woman enters into another woman’s maternity room and quite literally kidnaps her child out of the hospital! Even knowing what was going to happen as Goddard set the scene well – from the perspective of the kidnapper to the quiet moments leading up to the abduction itself – seeing the nurse tend to the baby to the woman curious about a second lunch offer to just observing this woman picking up a child not her own and knowing she was going to get away with the unthinkable (and rightly should be impossible!). Your heartstrings are pulled so forcibly in the beginning of this story it doesn’t take long to turn the pages and sort out why this child was stolen from its mother and what was motivating the kidnapper to take the young girl!

Forensic Genealogy is a new field to me and one that I was intrigued about learning about as I settled into the storyline. I have a penchant for Forensics as it relates to either Mysteries, Suspense or Thrillers or a wicked good police procedural or legal drama – however, I hadn’t seen it in this particular light before and I definitely was keen to learn more about a field of Forensic Science I hadn’t yet stumbled across!

The ways in which Goddard anchoured us through the abduction itself and then resituated us into where we were in the timeline of the story where we pick up twenty -one years later after the girl was taken from the hospital felt as if time hadn’t shifted foreword but had become locked inside the past. This grieving woman who had spent such a long time to search for her missing daughter was on a deadline now to find her and that is where we enter into the world of Forensic Genealogy! I was quite smitten with the concept of back-tracing a person’s origins in this way and of reconnecting the lost and their loved ones. The guttingly realistic emotions and the heartfelt plea of the Mum to find her daughter emotionally roots you in the narrative but also gives you a bit of hope for what might be found.

Having heard about how Goddard writes her stories through my Mum’s admiration of her Love Inspired Romantic Suspense stories and now this Uncommon Justice series, I was finding out first-hand what had drawn my Mum into her style of INSPY Suspense and why it was so dearly difficult to put her books down once you’ve begun them! As clearly this is one author a Mum and daughter can not only read in tandem and discuss together afterwards but it is an author who relates to different generations of readers who want to seek out the same kind of stories.

Cold cases are the hardest to solve – yet what grips your heart about this kind of case is what it involves and whom the victims are in the case itself. A lost daughter and a motherless child whose reached the end of her life. That is what guts you and what makes you rally behind Willow who now has to pick up the case from where her grandfather left off. It was his agency wherein he searched for the missing links of a person’s past and reconnected them through forensic and genealogical techniques to solve cases that would have otherwise gone unsolved. That’s the rub of it I felt as Willow was considering this case and considering her future – how do you fill the shoes of your advisor, mentor and grandfather who had lit the torch of hope for so many before you were given the reins to succeed on your own? The pressure must’ve been excruciating for Willow and the weight of that kind of failure I think would crush anyone.

Talk about leaving me on a nail-biter of a scene! There is a fire and Willow is trapped in her bedroom! There is no way I can’t push off reading this story now! No wonder Mum wanted to re-read this herself this month so we could discuss it! There is so much going on and the pacing is cutthroat as you have an immediate sense about the heightening dangers that are about to consume the characters. I definitely can’t wait to turn to page twenty-six and see what unfolded next! Whoa. What an opener!

Final verdict? I love when I’m reading Romantic Suspense stories that you feel bolted to the story as soon as you begin reading it. You want to feel the fuell of what is increasing the pace of the story at the jump start because you want to have full empathy for the journey these characters are going to go through. Goddard delivers this brilliantly because you immediately want to see resolution to the original incident – you want to understand why that choice was made and why that woman felt justified in her actions. In essence, you want to know more about whom that woman had been before she made that desperate act and why she hadn’t been caught after all these years.

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All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick

Already well-versed in the natural healing properties of herbs and oils, Jennie Pickett longs to become a doctor. But the Oregon frontier of the 1870s is an unforgiving place–especially for a single mother. To support herself and her young son, Jennie finds work caring for an older woman. When her patient dies, Jennie discovers that her heart has become entangled with the woman’s widowed husband, a man many years her senior. Their unlikely romance may lead her to her ultimate goal–but the road forward is uncertain.

New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites you to leave behind your preconceived notions about love and life as you, along with Jennie, discover that dreams may be deferred–but they never really die. Based on a true story.

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My #25PagePreview of All She Left Behind:

This is my first Kirkpatrick novel I’ve had the chance to read – not for lack of wanting to read her stories but I haven’t had the chance to find a copy of one of her stories previously. From the moment I opened the novel, I sensed a writer who is truly in the rhythm of her creative muse as this story reads as if it were ruminated over time and time again before the final bones of the story were set to page. There is a lot of depth of heart in this opening sequence where the emotions of the characters wash through you as you want to better understand them and how they’ve reached this place in their lives. It seemed like it should have been a celebration (a wedding) but there is anguish behind the nuptials or perhaps it was referencing circumstances leading into the day they wed; either way, this is a novel which delivers such a keen punch to your heart as soon as you’ve read page one!

I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to watch your beloved have a freak accident the day of your wedding and then realise in that singular moment of peril how the personality of the person you exchanged vows suddenly seemed like someone wholly different and new? The injury itself seemed far worse than the crowd led on and I had to wonder – what would the repercussions be for Jennie?

I found the scene involving the fox who gathers wool to trick fleas and ticks off his fur to be most fascinating as it would make sense that an animal as intelligent as a fox would want to find a clever way of removing those pests from his fur – however, I’ve never been blessed to see a fox IRL and one day hope I can. I’ve heard they are as quiet and shy as you think they are but in this story, the vision of how Kirkpatrick described the craftiness of this fox was a memory I shall keep forever because of how innocent it was able to happen. First through the observations of a young mother, then the curiosity of a young son (age three) and then by us the reader who were taken by surprise at such a sweet scene of a fox’s ordinary life cleaning his fur in the water which allowed him to trick the pests off his coat!

Final verdict? The tone of the story took a few turns for me emotionally – this is a story thickened by the grief of a mother for her child whilst there is a clear route of abuse stemming from a head injury of her husband. From the moment she said she noticed the change in his behaviour I had a feeling that was a foreshadow of what was yet to come. I am thankful the preview I was reading for myself ended where it had as despite loving the wordsmith in Ms Kirkpatrick, this is one story I cannot continue to read. It is just too depressingly sad and I worry about the future of the story and how much truer it will become where Jennie needs to find a way to get out from under her husband’s reach.

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Memory Box Secrets by Brenda S. Anderson

Pasts revealled. Truth restored. Pain rekindled.

Newlyweds Richard and Sheila Brooks have it all. Sheila is pregnant, Richard’s business is flourishing. Their formerly broken lives have been mended, and life couldn’t be better.

Or so they thought.

Just a few years ago, Richard had thrived in Manhattan’s fast-paced business world, yet that’s the very place he abandoned his faith. Now that his faith is restored, he never planned to return to that old life. But then the New York corporation that once rejected him calls, begging him to come back. Richard knows returning is unwise, but his gut is telling him to go.

Sheila yearns to have something from her childhood to pass on to her child, but when her parents abandoned her years ago, they took all remnants of her past with them. Then, out of the blue, her aging father calls, asking to be let back into her life. Her head screams “no”, but her traitorous heart is saying “yes”.

If Richard and Sheila answer these calls from their pasts, will they risk breaking what they’ve spent so much time mending?

I joined the Street Team for Brenda S. Anderson to be one of her #bookcheerleaders the initial year she started to publish the Coming Home series. I had hoped to read and review her releases as they released – however, as she could only send ebooks and my budget didn’t allow me to ‘catch-up to the timeline of her publishing schedules – I’ve fallen quite a bit behind on my Street Team duties! This also pre-dates my local library being more openly receptive to Indie publishers & Indie/Self Published authors – as they can acquire a more wide variety of books published now than they could previously. It is my intent to re-read this series – starting with the previously read prequel “Pieces of Granite”, then moving into the first novel “Chain of Mercy” before entreating into “Memory Box Secrets”. After which I can finish my readings with the final story of this quartet series “Hungry for Home”.

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My #25PagePreview of Memory Box Secrets:

The story begins with a flashback to when Sheila was in college – as so much has happened between when I first read this series and now, I feel as if I’m re-entering the whole series with a fresh perspective. Thereby, I only remember a few details from the two books I’ve read previously and do not remember if I knew that Sheila’s Mum was a cold-hearted mother who did not have any empathy for her daughter’s feelings. It wouldn’t surprise me though that she had a difficult background because I do remember vaguely that Sheila had a past that she did not like talking about and of course that becomes more complicated in the series when it comes to her relationships.

I do remember how much Sheila and Richard wanted to start a family and how much they wanted to start building their own memories as a new couple. They had a hard road to finding each other and finally the path down the aisle; however, they made it and they made it together. They both have their own emotional baggage to unpack from the past as much as how that kind of baggage is also weighing them both down as it needs to be ‘let go’.

Shifting away from their marriage for a moment, we tuck into the life of Lauren whose happy to be spending time with her Dad on her birthday except he has a job order to fill before he can start to celebrate. Everything seemed quite benign and ordinary until their family friend bursts into the room with news that changed everything. And, that is where the twenty-fifth page left off!

As we re-enter their lives, I realise some of the years between my readings of this series has been a bit unkind to my memory and I am in dear need of a ‘re-read’! I still feel as if I know who they are but I am not as connected as I’d prefer to me with the sequencing and rhythm of their lives – if that makes sense!?

Final verdict? I cannot wait to get reconnected to this series because it is a serious favourite of mine to be reading!! I am going to be re-reading Pieces of Granite and Chain of Mercy before I move into Memory Box Secrets whilst I hope to conclude the series this #blogmas as Hungry for Home has a Christmas connection. Four stories and four months in which to read them – if I take my time and stretch out my readings, I believe it will work out rather brilliantly this year!

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A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman

One Woman. Two Men.
One stirs her pulse and the other one her faith.
But who will win her heart?

Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues. But when two of Boston’s most notorious pursue her, she encounters a tug-of-war of the heart she isn’t expecting.

While overseeing the Christmas play fundraiser for the St. Mary’s parish soup kitchen – A Light in the Window – Marcy wrestles with her attention to both men and her concern for their spiritual welfare. The play is based on the Irish custom of placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family and for Marcy, its message becomes deeply personal. But when disaster strikes, Marcy is destined to discover the truth of the play’s message first-hand. It soon becomes clear that although two men have professed their undying love, only one has truly responded to “the light in the window”.

Whilst I received a print copy of this via #bookpost! (gift from the author)
It has been quite awhile since this arrived – years even!

You should know – I’ve been in LOVE with reading this series since before I ever dreamt of creating my own blog and niche in the book blogosphere! My path crossed with Ms Lessman’s circa 2012 whilst visiting group author blogs and following ‘blog tours’ – which back then weren’t quite as organised as they are today and yet, they still were organised in how readers (like me) found where the author’s were going to be ‘visiting’ on any particular day! I must have visited at least 20x bloggers regularly plus the group author blogs each week – as I was enjoying their content and adding commentary under their posts. It didn’t take long for a few of them to ask me “You need to start blogging – you have a lot to say and share!” – that drew me up short a bit as I hadn’t even *considered!* book blogging myself! It was barely a concept I understood – as at that point in time, I was only seeing it from authors who were blogging moreso than the book bloggers.

I let the idea sit for awhile. And, then as if whispered out of a dreamscape itself I learnt the name of my blog and I developed the initial layout, concept, design and organisational structure of how I wanted my blog to look, feel and read on the *very last day!* of March (the 31st) of 2013. I spent April-August developing it from the ground up and sorting out what needed to be included on different pages as well as trying to ‘add-in’ content spilt over those months prior to launching ‘live’ to the world on the 6th of August, 2013. When I say I spent those ‘months’ on my blog – I quite literally worked on it the same hours you would a regular full-time job – I had a *huge!* learning curve ahead of me – from coding (simple html, etc) to layout and design; to understanding WordPress as a whole and how to use plugins – each step of the way, I developed Jorie Loves A Story felt a bit like how writers develop their stories to be shared amongst readers. You put in the grunt work and then you get to let it shine and stand on the merits of your work once it greets the world.

All the whilst – in the back of my mind, I wanted this series to be one of the foundational series I would read on my blog. Yet, it took a bit longer to gather the books from all three trilogies and the elusive story (then) for me was “A Light in the Window” as Marcy and Patrick’s story wasn’t quite as readily available to order as it is now. Of course, this isn’t the first O’ Connor Saga novella to be limited to Digital First (ebook) readers and I can only hope *one day!* all the novellas which interconnect to the novels will be available in POD (print on demand) – as I’d love to bring them all home to be read, savoured and secure my knowledge of all the lovely bits of joy this family brings to me as it is truly a beloved series!

There are 9x novels and one novella (this one) in my personal library – that equates out to reading one story from the O’ Connor Saga (and/or I alternate saying the Daughters of Boston Saga – though in truth each trilogy has a separate series name!) per month for a total of 10x months! Which means… if I can begin this after Thanksgiving and spend 10 months with the O’ Connors I’ll conclude my readings in September, 2021!

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My #25PagePreview of A Light in the Window:

I apparently reached page 47 during one of my attempts to read this during #blogmas (as I’ve attempted this feat off/on throughout the years I’ve been a book blogger) however, what was contained within those first pages is lost to me now. As I picked up the story for this Top Ten Tuesday it was like seeing those words for the very first time and I was happy to finally have found a way to ‘go back home’ to Marcy and Patrick as they are the heart of this whole saga and why I love it as much as I do!

We enter into Marcy’s life as an eighteen year old worried about her father’s loss of income and the security he once had with the railroad. Economically speaking, life had taken a hard right turn in the late 1800s and this was affecting them greatly as a family. Still there were small mercies in their lives and being able to transfer back to Boston was one of them as we soon observed because Marcy could be back in the pocket of her best friend, Julie! Julie has a heap of excitement bursting in her smile and in her joyful reaction in seeing Marcy after such a long time spent apart.

Hearing about Patrick through this timeline of their lives is interesting because you already know they end up together but how? How did they merge their paths together and what led them to fall in love? In the beginning of this story, Patrick is the rogue – the boy to stay clear of and not to associate with at all. I nearly chuckled with laughter because of how dynamically different Patrick is seen within the series first installment A Passion Most Pure. I knew he had had sown his oats when he was younger – a fact that isn’t hidden in the series but hearing about his antics with Julie’s brother Sam warms your heart in one regard because of how far forward he comes to honouring Marcy in their future marriage! I kept thinking about that – the hard to reconcile younger Patrick against the older, wiser and kind-hearted father of the O’ Connor children  and the loving wife of Marcy!

The playful companionship of two best friends can readily be seen shining out of the friendship Marcy has with Julie. The two girls’ know each other so dearly well – they know their thoughts and what moves their hearts even before they can each articulate it themselves. Their chatter is the joyful kind where two girls can idly muse about their futures, about boys in general and about why some infuriating boys (like Patrick and Sam) have to stray too far away from propriety where it makes having an interest in them too much of a challenge to overcome.

I positively loved how Father Fitz taught a lesson to Sam and Patrick about taking what isn’t theirs and for reminding them about the consequences of living a life against the rules. He was quite a bit cheeky in how he commanded their attention and for the penance they were going to have to give back to the church for their errant ways but ooh, how you’re cheering for the Father! His creative approach at reforming their street instincts shows how much he cares about them and how much it takes to get through to young men who feel they know all there is to know about life.

Final verdict? I was truly wrapped up in JOY being back inside this world and the dramatic saga Ms Lessman has written for us all to enjoy reading. Marcy felt alive to me more now than she has in awhile and I felt myself able to attach into her story better than the last few times I’ve tried to get into it. What withstands time between readings is how graceful Lessman has written the series and how her continuity between installments and novellas is a winning match to the series installments themselves! I cannot express more gratitude for this novella than if i were to shout my joy on a mountain about it! I have long since wanted to know more about the back-history of Marcy and Patrick; as they are the connective glue to the health of this family and the couple whose love fully anchours the happiness in being swept inside a series that spans 3x trilogies!

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I’m itching to know – did you participate in this week’s topic or create one of your own? If so, kindly leave a link to your #TopTenTuesday so I can happily visit your list & see what grabs your literary eye! Likewise, what is on my List that either leaves you curious to explore or is a literary style we share in common within our readerly adventures!?

My last Top Ten Tuesday?

Check-out my #MustRead Fiction for 2020!

This was meant to get released the last two weeks – between a broken a/c and other quirky distractions, one could say I just feel blessed to be posting! I’ve been so keenly looking forward to a month full of *reading!* and some much needed R&R wherein the chaos of the weeks can sublimely recede into the background – courtesy of the INSPY readathon I’ve joined this August, my goals are being met book by book!

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{SOURCES: In regards to the following book covers and synopsis (per story): “Flights of Fancy”, “Deep in the Heart of Trouble”, “When Love Calls”, “The Silent Governess”, “Yours Truly, Thomas”, “Never Let Go” and “All She Left Behind” were provided by the publisher Baker Publishing and were used with permission of the publisher. The cover art and synopsis for “The Matchmaker’s Rogue” was originally provided by Prism Book Tours and is reused with permission of the author as I knew I wanted to read and review this title after I received it. The book cover and synopsis for “A Light in the Window” was provided by the author Julie Lessman and is used with permission. The book cover and synopsis for “Memory Box Secrets” was provided by the author Brenda S. Anderson and is being used with permission of the author. Top Ten Tuesday banner created by Jorie via Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

 I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life


Posted Tuesday, 25 August, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday

#TopTenTuesday No.8 | Top Twelve Authors Who Deserve More Recommendation (feat. their characters I loved discovering!)

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

[ Topic of 8th October, 2019:
Character Traits I Love;
Personality Traits I Love to See In Book Characters:
Things That Make Me Love a Character ]

Which works brilliantly into a Top Ten Tuesday post
I originally wrote to coincide with the Topic of 2nd July, 2019:

We needed to discuss *characters!* with an OPEN THEME/CHOICE:

Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recommendation
(and their characters I loved discovering!)

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Today’s entry was inspiring to me for the following reasons:

As avid readers, we meet so many dearly incredible characters throughout our bookish journeys – it would make sense, somewhere over the score of time – we are going to come across authors & characters who leave imprinted impressions on our bookish hearts which not just effect us through time and space but they leave such a distinction of presence on our readerly lives. Sometimes they never quite leave us – as there is a part of them inside us still – all these hours after they’ve left our thoughts, because for each character we’ve met in a story, their life and their experiences have bled into our own; their memories are now our memories as for each story we read, there is a potential there to live another life, through another person’s shoes irregardless of their gender; their essence affects us because we’ve breathed in their life.

It is hard to even speculate which characters in the *six years!* I’ve blogged have staid with me the longest and which stories I ache the most to re-read and re-visit alongside – those are goals and dreams I have for Winters long spent by fireside cosy nooks of space where knitting needles, hot tea and scones await me as cats linger in dreamscapes and snow gently falls outside frozen windows. Until then, when I’m granted the joy of a seasonal experience outside of volcanic Summers and blink-you-missed-it Winters, I happily appreciate the hours I have to spend with the characters as their stories ‘greet’ me on the pages their writers left me to find.

As a genre dancer – it is even harder to pin down the characters I regularly interact with as they could be a fantastical creature, a science fiction adventurer, a Magical Realism time bender or they’re living Contemporary or Historical lives – they could be young, old, or somewhere between; sorting out their lives or re-defining a second career or tackling adversity inasmuch as they are giving love a second chance. I love stories and for all the lovelies I regularly read there are still so many more horizons out there in the literary realms I desire to explore further, read harder and read particularly closer to the eras of time I love exploring most.

Whilst at the same time, if I can disappear into my favourite eras such as the Victorian, Regency & Edwardian periods of England – the Highlands of Scotland and criss-cross through a time portal which skips round the historical past from Ancient times to present-day on all the continents of curiosity and interest; wells, you can see where the well of possibilities deepens greatly!

Narrowing down this list of choices was a bit of a curiously serendipitous experience – I went with the inspiration at the moment and as this was originally composed in July, I dearly had to break the 11 references into 12 as – oh, my dear sweet bookish heavens – those Spinsters have left me hungering for more of their stories! I cannot wait to re-invest into their lives as I move into the second novel having consumed (er, devoured?) the first and fourth!

It goes without saying but I will remind you: brew your favourite cuppa & get comfy as this is a seriously long post about the stories and authors I hope might encourage a few new choices on your TBR Lists!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

DUE NOTE: all the books featured on this Top Ten Tuesday post were complimentary books sent to me for review consideration and/or were sent in exchange for an honest review at some point or another over the past few years. I received them from publishers, publicists, authors and/or blog touring companies. I was not obligated to feature them on this Top Ten Tuesday post but wanted to feature them due to how incredibly attached I became to their narratives, characters and the immersive experience I felt as I read their stories.

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Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday

Book Review | “His One and Only Bride” (The Business of Weddings series, Book Six) by Tara Randel A series by #HarlequinHeartwarming

Posted Thursday, 25 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. 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.

I received a complimentary copy of “His One and Only Bride” direct from the author Tara Randel in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was intrigued by this story-line:

I truly love wedding stories – when I caught sight of this title, I was instantly hooked – as I perused the synopsis this felt like the kind of story I needed right now. I was recovering from my virus (a three week affair, plus one week to recover my energy, focus and stamina!) when I first spied this blog tour – which is why unexpectedly I made a bit of a blunderment! This is a series in-progress! In fact, I originally thought this was the fifth book in the series but it turns out, it’s the *sixth!* and final story to anchour the ENTIRE Business of Weddings series together! Oy vie. As I mentioned in this tweet – sometimes a girl just needs to be #amreading!

Which was my way of overstating the obvious – I have missed being curled up inside stories these past four weeks with reckless abandon! I’ve only been able to dip my toes into a few novels, two suspenseful audiobooks and partially re-listened to a Cosy Mystery audiobook I’m finishing this week. I simply couldn’t focus on reading or dissecting what I was reading with any kind of regularity until after I recovered. Finding myself struck down by a migraine this past weekend (of the 20th) was not exactly the step ‘forward’ I was hoping to have this side of the virus! Mind you, I wasn’t even going to attempt to read too much Non-Fiction (despite my shelves leaning in this direction!) as those take a bit more attention as I like to read those titles whilst analysing them from a different perspective altogether! Expect more of those kinds of ruminations sprinkled throughout the coming month of February and well into Spring!

However, despite the lows of spending most of the first month of the New Year quite muddled in health woes – I did capture a happy spirit for a few lovely exchanges of convo and delightful discoveries on Twitter! I even hosted my first Romance + Women’s Fiction chat of the year: @SatBookChat which happily has started on good footing for bringing readers and writers together! (smiles) On the foot-heels of this good news, I am thankful I can start resuming my Romantic Reads – as I do love a wonderfully light Rom, a historically intriguing Romance, a mind-tingling Rom Suspense or a dramatic Women’s Fiction story to thread through my yearly reads!

It is true – I do have a keen preference for reading serial fiction in order of sequence, except for when I make a gaffe like this and recognise sometimes it’s okay to read them ‘out of order’! Laughs with mirth. Part of the reason I think I have trouble discerning which novel is in sequence is because these are not always exclusively marketed by their sequencing – meaning, oft-times I do try to source their origins and numerical sequencing but still find myself falling a bit short of knowing ‘which came first’ and ‘which should I read next’! I wonder if there is a repository for all Harlequin (and Mills & Boon) titles in a database which catalogues their serial fiction?

Ironically or not, I also notice a bit of a pattern here – for the Harlequin and Mills & Boon novels I’ve been reading of late, I’ve been reading them ALL out of sequence! *le sigh* Apparently I keep ‘leaping’ before I double-check which book is in which order of their individual series! The only happy bit, of course, is being able to re-find these lovelies through my local library, inter-library loan and used book shoppes – as not all of these are kept in print past their initial print runs! More adventure for the bookish girl who loves a ready challenge in gathering books in sequence! Ha!

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Book Review | “His One and Only Bride” (The Business of Weddings series, Book Six) by Tara Randel A series by #HarlequinHeartwarmingHis One and Only Bride
Subtitle: The Business of Weddings
by Tara Randel
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He never thought he’d see her again!

After being reported missing, presumed dead, globe-hopping photojournalist Mitch Simmons never thought he’d see his estranged wife, Zoe, again. Yet here he is back in their coastal Florida town, where Zoe is mayor. Turns out she isn’t the only one he left behind.

Discovering he has a baby son awakens thrilling new emotions in Mitch. And there are his still-powerful feelings for the high school sweetheart he vowed to love and honor forever. Thankfully, they’ll have the chance to find the love that was always there…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Foodie Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Suspense

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-63346-0

Also by this author: His Honor, Her Family, Trusting Her Heart, Always the One, (#25PagePreview) of Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart, Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart, Her Christmastime Family

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st January, 2017

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

The Business of Weddings Series:

Magnolia Bride | Book One | Synopsis

Orange Blossom Brides | Book Two | Synopsis

Honeysuckle Bride | Book Three | Synopsis

The Bridal Bouquet | Book Four | Synopsis

The Wedding March | Book Five | Synopsis

Read Excerpts via the author’s site

About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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Posted Thursday, 25 January, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Creative Arts, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Firefighters & Paramedics, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foodie Fiction, Indie Author, JLAS Update Post, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Photography, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Suspense

#20BooksOfAutumn 2018 | #JorieReads twenty books which dance through genres and timescapes | *re-attempted Autumn, 2018!!

Posted Thursday, 29 June, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 10 Comments

#20BooksOfSummer reading challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

#20BooksOfSummer is hosted by 746 Books | @cathy746books

Read the Rules | Link your Book List | Follow the tag on Twitter

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In JULY 2018, I decided to resume this challenge as #20BooksOfAutumn due to the insanity of electrical storms last Summer which took the JOY out of reading these lovelies. Due watch my Twitter @joriestory for updates and reading queues for which story is being read next!

I created a new badge for this redemptive attempt to read *20!* specific books for *20!* unique reasons of interest throughout one Season of the Year. The first review will be the wild card selection “Like There’s No Tomorrow” by Camille Eide (as it replaced the previously inclusive “Ignoring Gravity”) before the schedule I set forth on this challenge commences from how it was meant to begin – where the following stories will be featured back-to-back:

As Death Draws Near | Allie & Bea | Worthy

Join me on the Autumnal Equinox 2018 : 22nd of September until 21st December.

#20BooksOfAutumn banner made by Jorie in Canva.

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In the interest of the challenge, I should mention this is one reading challenge I have wanted to join in on the bookish fun since I first started blogging in [2013] similar to how I was most anxious to join #AustenInAugust when coincidentally, this blog went LIVE in August 2013. This year, I had projected to participate in a variety of reading challenges (see Challenge List 2017) however, I ought to have known it was going to be a ‘unique year’ once my Spring allergies took such a lockhold of me to where I was unable to read nor blog; much less tweet to my bookish heart’s desire.

I was wicked enthused finding out about the challenge (see this tweet) even if I wasn’t fully able to devout any attention to creating my own #20BooksOfSummer List until two days before the month of June concluded! Ironically or not, I might be late to the party, but I am wicked excited about my selections – which is why I am posting this List on my blog and Riffle.

DUE NOTE: all the books featured on my #20BooksOfSummer were books sent to me for review consideration at some point or another over the past few years. The exception being ‘Memory Box Secrets’ of which was a purchase of my own and ‘Allie and Bea’ which I received as a bookaway. Ergo for one reason or another all of these lovelies were TBR in the most humblest of ways: books ‘to be read’ and quite wickedly itching with curiosity by the reader whose about to broach into their folds!

I have been working earnestly towards erasing my backlogue (of reviews) for almost a full year and this challenge is helping me to become re-inspired to read after two seasons of personal angst. Let’s face it – JUNE was a wash-out. It barely blinked into view before it extinguished out of sight – and I barely posted anything during it’s duration. The one thing I did accomplish is finding a way to bring ART back into my life and to resume KNITTING giving myself a way to put some Zen into my downtime. Especially imperative as I was ill more than well this Spring. As the monsoon Summer rains start to begin now as we enter into JULY, I am most hopeful my seasonal allergies will start to relent and give me back the clarity of calm I’ve missed all SPRING.

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The exact order of how I will be reading these stories is UNKNOWN except for the first three selections which will be the following: WORTHY | As Death Draws Near | Allie and Bea.

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Interestingly enough, for those of you curious how we order things without thinking specifically about how we want to sort the books we’re reading, here is the organic nature of how the books were stacked as I sorted out which books would make into this challenge list:

  1. As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber | Synopsis
  2. Inconceivable by Tegan Wren | Synopsis
  3. Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica | Synopsis
  4. Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain | Synopsis ← re-reading
  5. Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan | Synopsis
  6. Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman | Synopsis
  7. Memory Box Secrets by Brenda S. Anderson | Synopsis
  8. Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby | Synopsis ← (see also Review) guest feature forthcoming!
  9. Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey | Synopsis
  10. The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling | Synopsis
  11. A Lesson in Hope by Philip Gulley | Synopsis
  12. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks | Synopsis
  13. A Saint in Graceland by Deborah Hining | Synopsis
  14. Just the Facts by Ellen Sherman | Synopsis
  15. Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde | Synopsis
  16. Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde | Synopsis
  17. Satisfaction by Andee Reilly | Synopsis
  18. Rooville by Julie Long | Synopsis
  19. The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop | Synopsis
  20. Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen | Synopsis
  21. Like There’s No Tomorrow by Camille Eide | Synopsis | to replace Ignoring Gravity

| by the numbers |

2 rescheduled blog tour books | 2 LibraryThing books | 1 bookaway | 7 BookSparks Reading Challenge Books

7 postponed reads = 17 books erased from my Book Blogger’s Backlogue

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #20BooksOfSummer 2017

Posted Thursday, 29 June, 2017 by jorielov in #20BooksOfSummer, #20BooksOfSummer, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, JLAS Update Post, Reading Challenges, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event