Tag: Letters from Skye

Blog Book Tour | “Last Christmas in Paris” (an #Epistolary novel of #WWI) by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor!

Posted Friday, 20 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Last Christmas in Paris” direct from the publisher William Morrow in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this #Epistolary novel captured my attention:

It will not surprise those who regularly read Jorie Loves A Story to denote the stories Jorie loves to read most these past four years have been hinged somewhere in the historical past! Of those, I tend to reside somewhere in the World War eras more readily than other eras (other timescapes I have a penchant for are the Regency, Victorian, Edwardian and Roaring Twenties) as there is always a new approach to telling a story either at war or on the home-front which resonates with my heart for Historical Fiction. When it comes to reading Ms Webb’s stories, I had the grace of finding her whilst her debut novel ‘Becoming Josephine’ was first releasing, finding a strong voice and emerging talent where I had this to say on her behalf:

Ms. Webb gives the reader a rendering of the situations and events which befit the era of the story’s origins but on the level that even a sensitive reader could walk through the scenes without blushing too severely or cringing at the imagery painted in narrative. Even though she does plainly give the raw visceral imagery its due course. She doesn’t allow it to take over completely, but allows it to fade in the background. Except for what occurs in Rose’s home of Martinique and what happens when she returns to Paris, in which the horror of the attacks are in full measure. Rather than focus solely on the horror that erupted she gave the smaller details of the aftermath which proved just as difficult if not moreso to read. Such a horrid time in history for the survivors to have lived through. She chose instead to direct the focus on Rose’s rise into the persona of Josephine who became the woman’s edificial Phoenix.

In regards to Ms Gaynor’s writings, I am only just starting to get to the point where I can focus on her writings – having picked up a copy of ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ for my thirty-fourth birthday (four years ago). It was one of three novels I came home with by authors I either knew of or dearly wanted to read next! If you visit the Cover Reveal w/ Notes I wrote on behalf of “Fall of Poppies” her links were remiss because I could not find them ahead of posting my showcase. I was meant to receive a copy to read and review but will be reading this through my local library instead.

There is a bit of a back-story about how my path crossed originally with Ms Gaynor as it goes back to #LitChat in May of 2014! Here I refer to snippets of the conversation I participated in which led me to become curious about the story I would find inside ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ and plant the seed of interest to follow Ms Gaynor’s career:

I had fully planned to host a dual-interview between Ms Webb & Ms Gaynor, however, as I had to turn my questions in rather late (within the past week or so) I am unsure if the interview will still be able to be completed at this time. I was hoping to get two perspectives on the same questions which would culminate on a lively chat about this novel and Historical Fiction. Meanwhile, I was unable to finish reading the story itself by the 13th as originally scheduled and had to push my review forward to Sunday giving me enough time to finish collecting my thoughts as I am sharing them now.

As previously mentioned last week as I reviewed ‘Dennis and Greer: A Love Story’, I have a strong passion for Epistolary Fiction – which alighted in my life quite happily when I first read ‘Letters from Skye’. Since then, I have sought out various authors and story-lines which follow either a letters & correspondence narrative or entreat through slippages in time via diaries or journals. Either way, I feel quite the zest of mirth for finding a new ‘story’ caught inside the time capsule of what is left behind through the words people write down – either to be shared or kept private for their own edification.

I hadn’t known at the time when I asked to be a part of this blog tour, I’d finally find a story written through the sequences of letters & correspondences I had first discovered in ‘Letters from Skye’! I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was at this little discovery when I first started reading the ARC! I hadn’t known when it first arrived either – as I wanted to savour reading this without doing what I usually do which is to look over a novel tip to stern – never reading out of sequence but becoming acquainted with what it contains – I sometimes read the Appendixes first, too, as those are places where Authors Notes or other such lovelies could reside or even for those of us who like a bit more information, where back-stories or research notes are presented!

I was also wicked happy for reading a new release by William Morrow – as this is one imprint I have fond memories of reviewing for off and on for the past four years! It has become one of my favourite imprints for finding convicting fiction and characters of whom give me lasting hours of joy walking beside them!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Last Christmas in Paris” (an #Epistolary novel of #WWI) by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor!Last Christmas in Paris
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780062562685

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War, Becoming Josephine, Author Interview: Heather Webb (Rodin's Lover), Rodin's Lover, The Phantom's Apprentice

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Military Fiction, War Drama


Published by William Morrow

on 3rd October, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 368

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

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary

About Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

About Heather Webb

Heather Webb

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.

RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI released October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 20 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Diary Accountment of Life, During WWI, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychiatric Facilities, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Woman Enters Left” by Jessica Brockmole The novel which brings Jorie full-circle into the heart of #Epistolary Fiction by the author who penned Elspeth’s story!

Posted Sunday, 8 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Woman Enters Left” direct from the publisher Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this release and a note about why I had to postpone participating in the blog tour: or rather, (if you prefer) how Jorie is a lot like Ms Brockmole in her passion for Ephemera & the Historical Past!

I still remember when ‘At the Edge of Summer’ released and how enthused I was for the ‘next’ Jessica Brockmole novel – as she had truly captured everything I love about narrative prose in a uniquely stylised novel within her debut of “Letters from Skye”. Although, her sophomore release was strikingly different than her debut – I was still keenly interested in reading it – could have theoretically as my local library purchased a copy of it, however, it is one of the many titles I’ve placed myself in a holds queue to receive, finding the hours eclipsing off my clock as soon as it arrives to be read! Ergo, it’s her third novel ‘Woman Enters Left’ which is my second reading of hers, rather than my third entreaty into her literary style.

And, what a treat is is for me! I personally *love!* anything to do with the historic past and everything associated with ‘vintage or ephemera’! The two are not connected – as by the ‘historic past’ this is a broad stroke I’m using to talk about how large in scope History is to explore through literary fiction whereas when I refer to ‘vintage’ and ‘ephemera’ I’m talking about a more specific time period – generally contained within the 20th Century, though with some leanings into the 19th.

I first stumbled into vintage art practices when I took up small (mixed media) art collages in my late twenties – if your familiar with Tim Holtz, you know a smidge about what I’m referring too. Let’s just say ‘distressed inks’ were one of the greatest inventions! lol Resources such as vintage image and ephemeral discs curated by collectors and artists themselves helped move the artistic style forward for those of us unable to collect as much as we’d prefer!

However, despite taking a hiatus from my artistic wanderings (as I traded in my mixed media supplies for fibre; hereinafter being Knitty!) I still remember browsing through early-attic shoppes, vintage emporiums, yesteryear auction houses and thrift shoppes of all kinds – seeking not only the obvious, the tangible bits of the past (ie. Postcards, Letters, Photographs, etc) but the not so obvious – the artwork, the jewelry, the furniture, the quilts and the china! Have you ever just humbly browsed the dish rooms at these places? Still my soul!

You can step through a portal of time – not just observing the changes in technology and manufacturing but you can ‘touch’ time itself. You can peer into people’s lives simply by what is left behind after they’ve past on from this world and rightly, start to piece back together a fragment of ordinary life in specific time periods! This is one reason I’ve been drawn into Historical Fiction (and all it’s lovely sub-genres) – it’s a fusion of what is known, what is suspected and what is investigated (or rather sleuthed out) by writers to become ‘re-known’ once again.

I definitely could relate to the conversation with Ms Brockmole in the back of ‘Woman Enters Left’ about how one tangible fragment of the past can hold one of the keys to re-immersion into a time period earnestly being sought in today’s 21st Century world. It is similar to why I dreamt of owning a retro (manual) typewriter and was happily surprised when I saw a late 1930s/early 1940s Royal being gifted to me by my Mum and Dad a few years ago! It still needs a good cleaning and some new ink – but guess what? It still types! It is only one of many I shall be collecting to use – as I truly want to ink out my fiction and poetry on vintage typewriters – I started off with an electric typewriter before I moved to typing my words on a computer – something never quite ‘clicked’ as having the same attachment of ‘centre’ for me.

Computers are lovely (don’t get me wrong!) however, I think the Typosphere has one thing right: sometimes going back a few steps has more freedom than taking a leap forward. The Typosphere for those who are unfamiliar is a collective of typewriting bloggers – wherein, they ‘type’ their blog posts on ‘typewriters’ (most of which are vintage & retrofitted) then scanning their ‘posts’ to upload into their ‘blogs’ – hence it’s called “The Typosphere”. It’s quite the charming collective! I stumbled into their community several years ago whilst seeking out the ‘letter writers’ in our world of technology – as I’ve been a letter writer since I was eleven years old with perhaps, a decade of hiatus between then and now. It’s something I’m working towards returning too in full haste, as I do miss communicating through postal mail. There is a ‘whole’ world within the internet where people are scaling back their technologic presence and re-affirming things of the past which still are relevant for today. For those who are curious – point your browser to The Letter Writers Alliance, it’s a good place to start! Whilst the blog at The Missive Maven will be your best gateway into the community at large! If you’d like to see my Royal, direct your mouse to this Post!

In regards to the delay in my participation the blog tour, I hinted about the reason in brief during my Sunday Post; however, it is my absolute joy to have read this novel this first week of October as it was a wonderful reunion with an author I already admired and a novelist who entices us all into a special perspective on the past which has a breadth of wonder all of it’s own.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: The arrangement of the cover design is right on ‘point’ to the title and has the best authentic to the era cognition you are hoping to find about a story which hinges on the legacy of a Mum re-visited through her daughter whose about to re-trace her steps quite unexpectedly on Route 66! Even the car, looks exactly how I was envisioning it whilst I was reading the story-line and I love her outfit!

Blog Book Tour | “Woman Enters Left” by Jessica Brockmole The novel which brings Jorie full-circle into the heart of #Epistolary Fiction by the author who penned Elspeth’s story!Woman Enters Left
by Jessica Brockmole
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.

In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780399178511

Also by this author: Letters from Skye, Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction


Published by Ballantine Books

on 8th August, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 337

Published By: Ballantine Books,
an imprint of Random House Publishing Group

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary

About Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole is the author of At the Edge of Summer, the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and Something Worth Landing For, a novella featured in Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband, two children, and far too many books.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Sunday, 8 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Content Note, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Nurses & Hospital Life, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Realistic Fiction, Small Towne USA, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Roaring Twenties, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Jorie’s Box of Joy No.1 : Every Saturday should be a Chocolate Romance Day! Whilst a dash of intrigue is good for the soul!

Posted Monday, 14 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 10 Comments

Jorie's Box of Joy | A Feature of Jorie Loves A Story

One of the happiest moments for a book blogger is eagerly going to their postbox & seeing what delightfully wicked print books have arrived for their reading pleasure! I have always held a keen interest in postal mail, being a long-term postal letter correspondent which has given me such a heart of joy seeing envelopes & bundles of love arrive from dear friends around the world. Imagine my new excitement in seeing the books I am reviewing arriving by publisher, author, publicist, or literary agent! Such an exciting new chapter in postal splendor!

I have been wanting to blog about my excitement about being placed on certain blog tours and/or in receiving books for review direct from authors, publishers, or publicists. I originally came across a weekly meme on Mondays entitled Mailbox Monday and you could say, that my new feature on Jorie Loves A Story is an extended idea from the original! Except to say, with one minor switch-up! Although I attempt to write down when books arrive by Post, I am never quite as certain when the books arrive as I am always reading the next book in hand! Therefore, please join me as I get excited about the books on my shelf which are next in line to read!

#ChocLitSaturdays Collage of Upcoming ChocLit Book Reviews

  • ChocLitUK postal bundle: The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli, Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover, Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter, The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay, & The Road Back by Liz Harris arrived with much elation as I have created a bit of a niche of celebrating ChocLit Romances in my exclusive feature entitled: #ChocLitSaturdays!

Each Saturday that I am able too, I highlight a ChocLitUK author & novel! I also strive towards hosting the authors for extra features as they are available to do so! Curling up with a ChocLit novel is quite delightful indeed, as you know your going to meet such a wonderful cast of characters, with the warm comfort of romance soaking into your heart as you enter the narrative! I appreciate the well-built back-stories, the honour of courtship and/or marriage, and the ability of a story being wholly wholesome as it is appealing to the senses!

Being a book reviewer for this lovely Indie Publisher from England is a true honour for me as I have always appreciated well-written and conceptualised romance! They tuck in a special goodie for me to find alongside the four books I requested to review, and as you can see from the list of books I mentioned, my surprise this time around was a book! Previously I have been surprised with mocha chocolate covered pencils which declare “Where heroes are like chocolate – irresistible!” For a free taste visit: www.love.choc-lit.com!! The hardest part by far is settling on which books to request, as I am always finding there is such a large breadth of choice! A happy problem to have yet a daunting one at the very same time!

Imagine my happy shock to realise that these particular mocha coloured pencils were not merely chocolate in appearance but how they can be smelt? I suffer through horrid seasonal allergies (i.e. pollen) and the entire time I’ve been receiving the pencils I never could ‘sniff out’ the smell! IF I had not caught a whiff of the chocolate scent attached to these wicked sweet pencils in a ChocLit newsletter (they were relaying the success of the chocolate pencils & pink shirts at a book festival) I am not sure when I would have realised it? I can happily report my nose is overjoyed! I am planning on using the pencils for sketching and illustrations! What a happy day it will always be when I sit down to draw!

I knew I wanted to re-visit the writings of Ms. Liz Harris after having read A Bargain Struck as much as having a delightfully spontaneous conversation with her on Twitter about writing and Oxford. The bits she shared with me about her début novel The Road Back, as much as the trivia about how she came to know the writer behind the Inspector Morse novels (who enscribed a blurb on this novel) inspired me to want to read this myself! In times like these, I feel very blessed for Twitter and for the ability it gives all of us to reach out to the writers we are reading and the writers of whom touch our hearts with the stories they compose! Twitter is a conveyor of conversations and of connecting readers to writers. Such a wonderful moment though, to realise that whilst I am sitting in the East Coast of America, Ms. Harris was typing back a reply to me settled in Oxford, England! This reflection reminded me of the initial phone calls I would make aboard whilst calling my dear friends for the first time and hearing their voices coming through with accents and clever turns of phrase! The world is not as large as we may think as it draws closer than we can sometimes believe possible.

Whereas with Romancing the Soul, I decided to embrace a story centered around a past life regression and entertain the idea of how love can become entwined throughout time and not limited to a single life lived. I spoke about this a bit whilst I reviewed a wicked sweet short story entitled: Time Out of Mind. I like seeing different approaches of a story being explored and as the soul is immortal, there is always a certain element of surprise in how far we are willing to eclipse conventional reasoning and enter into the realm of the impossible where dreams, past lives, and elements of the supernatural envelope into our everyday lives. I find it all rather exciting! Flight to Coorah Creek was a bit of a given I would request because I have always held a long-term fascination with Australia and with small Western townes in the United States. Partially out of my love of small townes, frontier settlers, and cattle ranches I eked out a passion for Western & Cowboy literature! Likewise, the Australian Outback mirrors the Western Mountains & Plains due to the long stretch of miles in-between settlements and civilisation! Not to mention the fact, that air ambulances arrived in Florida during my childhood years to help forestall major trauma patients from expiring before they could reach the hospitals who had the right staff of doctors and specialists who lived hours outside of where they were injured or taken ill. The helios that fly the skies with the medical cross are always the ones I try to remember to say a silent prayer over as much as after having witnessed or driving past a newly found accident on the road. First responders have always had my utmost respect due to their selfless dedication of saving lives where nanoseconds count and love hangs in the balance.

The book they surprised me with is The Maid of Milan penned by my very first ChocLit novelist I consumed! Ms. Beverley Eikli wrote the smashingly brilliant The Reluctant Bride! I have decided to read this unexpected ChocLit novel for my next ChocLitSaturdays – the 19th of April!

The Maid of Milan Book Trailer via Beverley Eikli

The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay

Whilst visiting the Wenches (over at The Word Wenches; a favourite haunt of mine) I was caught up in a discussion about time slips & time travel! The visiting author that day happened to be Christina Courtenay of whom I have started to get to know via Twitter (as she is one of the ChocLit authors who tweets quite regularly; inasmuch as the Wenches truly!). I had not expected to win her lovely book but it also happened to be the very book I was betwixt about requesting via ChocLitUK! You see, I could not quite decide whether or not to request this title OR The Silent Touch of Shadows,… I felt that whichever book I did not request I’d make sure to request the next time around! Ha! The stars aligned and I am able to read both! I think what was fantastic about her visit with the Wenches, is finding that I am not the only reader plumb addicted! to time slips and/or time travel stories! I am always quite bemused to see how each writer handles the differences in time, setting, and scope of creating the reality ‘between the layers’ as I am to be fully engrossed into two separate yet equal time eras! I cannot wait to find out how ChocLit authors choose to venture into this exciting realm!

As I have two examples of time slips from Ms. Courtenay to absorb into and find what motivates her as a writer to create the allure for those of us who seek to read time slips in fiction! The last time I was taken by surprise by the utilisation of a clever time slip was when I read Letters from Sky by Jessica Brockmole! To take letters and correspondences to a heightened level of narration was simply the icing on the cake for me! It is the treatment of interweaving a time slip into a story which attracts me the most! This extra special treat of receiving The Secret Kiss of Darkness will round out my #ChocLitSaturdays!

Oh, and I nearly had forgotten to mention that Ms. Courtenay surprised me with a bookmark for The Secret Kiss of Darkness and a miniature crystal ball which is a remarkable likeness to the one on the book cover! I am always happily surprised to see what an author tucks into the book and/or the package in which the book is sent inside! I am not sure about my fellow book bloggers, but I always lit up with such pure joy in seeing the little touches which makes receiving these little bundles of books by post such a wonderful mail day for me! I get all giddy and excited when I find they have enscribed the book to me as well! A little surprise I am not always expecting as most of the books I receive are direct from the publishers or publicists alike! Little moments of happy joy sprinkled into my ordinary days!

I have always fully supported self-published and independently published writers, as I personally always loved the different avenues authors take towards publication. Gilded Feathers by J. WoodsThis is one reason why you will oft-times find me showcasing an author from every different side of publishing: mainstream, independent, self-published, and inspirational. Which are truly the four main branches in today’s publishing world, except to say, that I do not put more weight on any single branch, as I accept all writers and all stories on equal ground. Therefore, when I was first approached through the Book Blogging Community by self-published author J. Woods to read her paranormal romance Gilded Feathers I was must esteemed! The story sparked the series which followed known as “the Gilded Feathers” and the premise is quite supernaturally enticing!

I had originally planned to read and review her début novel late last week, but due an unexpected series of life moments running interference with my blog life and my reading adventures, I have had to unfortunately push back my posting schedule. Not only for Gilded Feathers but for my A to Z Challenge posts as well. It is my goal now to read my third foray into paranormal romance alongside a gutting fictional testimony of overcoming insurmountable odds to restore your right to be a mother and to keep your family intact. The book I am Etched On Me by Jenn Crowellnow speaking about is Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell who is a traditionally published author I crossed paths with through a weekly twitterverse chat called “#LitChat”. What struck me about her novel is that she is bold about the stories she tells in giving a portal of a glimpse inside the world of a harsh reality many might not realise is completely ‘etched out of one woman’s living reality’. The dichotomy difference between the two will be most apparent, but I also find Ms. Woods to be of equal strength in daring to believe in her writings to the brink of making them available to the world through a lot of grit and determination by choosing the self-publishing route. Each woman strives to give stories which will challenge the perception and the empathy of their readers in different genres. My review of Etched On Me will post on Tuesday, 15th of April whereas my review of Gilded Feathers will post on Monday, 12th of May.

What inspires me the most about stories and the art of story-telling is how varied the diversity of choice is within what is being offered right now in the world of publishing. Old established literary branches are getting dusted off and revitalised by ingenuity and passion from the voices of today whereas emerging platforms of story craft are bursting out seeking an audience who wants a refreshing change from the passage of what used to be considered the norm. I even find it remarkable how ChocLit is redefining the world of ‘Chick-Lit’ by providing the alternative voice within the already netted and complex world of Romance! Hence why I am always lamenting I am a ‘Choc-Lit’ girl rather than a ‘Chick-Lit’ girl! Laughs heartily. And, although I would truly love to be wrapped inside the comfy cosy soft world of romance on any given day of the week — alas, this girl aches for a healthy relationship-based meeting of the souls; I do find a great amount of joy in mixing it up and adding dashes of intrigue, thought-provoking historical narratives, and books which entice me to stretch further outside the realms of my traditional go-to narrative settings, styles, and time periods. To keep an eye out for the cutting edge daring souls who are a part of a collective movement to write a story which stands on its own wings and feet as to be representative of a new wave of literature. This is what excites me as a reader and what makes being a book blogger such an incredible gift!

Inscription by H.H. Miller

Coming up on Friday, 18th of April, will be my review of Inscription a decidedly epic historical romance set amidst intrigue, adventure, and courageous wit! When I read these affirmations attached to the plot, I wasn’t sure if I had bit off more than I could chew OR if I was about to settle into the most wickedly intriguing jolt of my life! Methinks the latter will come into play moreso than the former! Laughs. I must confess that although I oft considered myself to be a daredevil reader, never pinned into any particular genre or styling of story, it was not until I started to host blog book tours that I started to notice that part of my reading world was a bit cut-away from the rest of what was being offered! I think the years I have been without an Indie bookshoppe have hindered me a bit, as I remember the days of my youth in being transfixed by the local author shelves and the event lists of upcoming authors & bookish events treating my heart and mind to the larger sea of fish publishing affords to an eclectic reader. When your a bit out of touch with an Indie bookshoppe, even though I have a beautiful local library, what I am missing are the random conversations overheard about such and such author who is either self-published or using a local press to get their feet wet. Therefore, I am evermore blessed to be crossing paths with all the lovely writers I am right now because as a book blogger who is inspired dearly by the stories and characters she encounters, the girl behind the blog feels an intense gratitude for the opportunities to engage with the stories which alight in her hands!

I am curious then, if any of the newly arrived books for review which are upcoming this week on Jorie Loves A Story, would entice a visiting reader to pick them up for themselves!? OR, if they perchance had the opportunity already to read them, what were their impressions?! What drew you to the author or the narrative within!? And, if you are a fellow book blogger how do you feel your literary wanderings have increased since you started blogging about your reading life? Do you find the twitterverse an exciting portal towards extending friendship and conversation? And, what do you feel is the best gift you’ve received since you started your book blog!?

Cross-posted with Mailbox Monday (a weekly meme) on Monday, 14th of April where book bloggers & readers alike share their inbound books for review, newly purchased books, or otherwise added to their shelves to read. Conversing via: #MailboxMonday My feature was inspired by Mailbox Monday, however as I am always in throes of reading books for review and/or borrowing books from my library, I am never quite as certain which week the books have arrived!

{SOURCES: Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits in Fotoflexer by Jorie. The Maid of Milan, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Silent Touch of Shadows, Flight to Coorah Creek, Romancing the Soul, and The Road Back Book Covers provided by ChocLitUK for both review and promotion; used with permission. Gilded Feathers book cover was provided by the author J. Woods for promotion and review; used with permission. Etched On Me book cover was provided by Simon & Schuster for promotion and review; used with permission. Collage of #ChocLitSaturdays created via PicMonkey. The book trailer for The Maid of Milan had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 14 April, 2014 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Books for Review Arrived by Post, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Jorie's Box of Joy, Paranormal Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Self-Published Author, Small Towne Fiction, The Word Wenches, Time Slip, Women's Fiction

Journey to Skye: slip into Elspeth’s shoes, one letter at a time,… “Letters from Skye” by Jessica Brockmole an epistolary novel which stitches into your heart

Posted Wednesday, 3 July, 2013 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
 Published By: Ballantine Books,
an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, 9 July 2013

Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook
Page Count: 304

Converse via Twitter: #LettersFromSkye

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: Book Browse First Impressions Programme: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for my honest review on Book Browse, from the publisher Ballantine Books. Letters from Skye was amongst the offerings for May 2013, as this book will be published 9th of July 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared therein or herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhat drew my eye to want to drink in this story: I am not sure about you, but whenever I read the premise of a novel on the flyleaf OR on the backside, I immediately start to assert an impression of what the story inside potentially will contain. “Letters from Skye” held within its synopsis a few key words that made me want to devour the story and step into Elspeth’s shoes! Those words and expressions of Ms. Brockmole’s voice which drew an inward breath of delight were as follows: atmospheric {a sense of a foreboding and mysterious presence or adventure}, poet on a remote Scottish island named Skye {gives a sense of solidarity and isolation, as much as a wind-swept glossing of natural beauty}, the time slip between World War I and World War II {a labyrinth of choices to explore and walk down}, a love bourne through and sustained by letters {for a correspondent, I nearly could not be patient enough to learn if I would receive this selection! i was thus determined to read it!}, and lastly, a disappearance that was unexpected. That last bit always lends itself to a deeper mystery and a deeper meaning of what the whole of the novel will encompass because people who exit abruptly from their lives are attempting to resolve a confliction in the past or present, in order to resolve their future.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhy I think they should leave the Editor’s Note as a foreword to novels: Previously I had been completely unaware of the nature of ARCs and of the differences that lay inside their printings. One of the obvious things to note is that there not final copies set for publication but rather instead uncorrected proofs by which still have a bit to go ahead of release! Therefore as you receive them, you start to notice the different ways each publisher chooses to market their author and the author’s work. Yet. They have this lovely addition that is always absent in the final copy that we see by way of libraries and bookshoppes, something you wouldn’t expect to hold such key secrets into the reason behind why the book was published OR the very stirring of what the editor felt when she or he first read the manuscript! This delightful insight is contained generally on the very first page of the ARC, so it’s an ARC’s reader’s first introduction to what their about to read.

Letters to Skye’s Editor’s Note spoke about the technologic shift in communication and how as our lives ebb forward and away from inter-personal communication {ie: letters by postal mail, meet-ups over coffee or tea, dinner parties, and other such venues where you’re committed to conversing directly with your conversationist companion} we are losing a vital piece of our humanity. I have oft spoke of this myself in my own friendship circles as much as my own community. I am paraphrasing her words and even adding in a bit of my own, but the essence of what she is lamenting about is if we’re not careful all of our interactions will become virtual and unspoken.

Even letters by postal mail have an intimacy and immediacy to them. They evoke a calling back to revealing our inner selves and most internal of thoughts in an open and accepting manner. They pull back the pretense and the uncertainty of acceptance we might face in person because of the format by which we are using to communicate. A letter is a transformative medium where we can be ourselves without the pre-occupation of noticing our insecurities. This is a general theme that is even carried out throughout the novel, as anyone who has ever been a correspondent will notice the same truths as their friendships develop and evolve.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comRead an Excerpt of the Novel:

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole by Random House Publishing Group

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAn ethereal atmospheric cover design which begs the question: if the place your going to be transported too is as ethereal as the design that this cover art provokes to mind! However, the cover art of the ARC was not the same as the art shown through the Excerpt by Scribd! Instead, your given a photograph viewing of the inside of Elspeth’s cottage: David’s grandfather’s pocket watch, Isle of Sky peeking out through the window, two individual pearls: one for her necklace from Christmas 1915 and one for Margaret; a smattering of postcards, envelopes and a fountain pen; perhaps a posy that would draw to mind the one Elspeth left for Iain on his grave!? Along with a short stack of hardback novels, which were always being passed between David and Elspeth OR at the very least mentioned to be read!

There is such a personal touch on the cover of the ARC, that draws out pieces of the story in such a clever way, that I am not sure if the original ethereal version holds as much weight when you stop to consider what the publisher placed inside this alternative one!? All too often I am discovering that rather than being careful about what is adorned on the covers, on the level, of actually pertaining to the breadth of the story inside the pages, publishers are short-changing the reader by using stock photographs and arrangements that either are loosely conceived as plausible OR too far-fetched to take seriously! I finally gave up on taking anything away from most covers of books that I read,… which is why saying that as I read “Letters from Skye” the ARC’s cover propelled me to think back and ponder the exactness of what is described! Food for thought, I’d say!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAnd, why the hours dissolved away like fragments of a whispering wind:  I was a bit delayed in reading “Letters from Skye” due to a relapsed virus that left me miserably fatigued! I had been aching to dip into this narrative ever since it first arrived by Post! I think that is singularly my favourite moment of receiving a First Impressions Book ~ the air of anticipation that greets you as you pick up the package and dare to wonder, what will I find inside!? The very instant that I settled into my comfy chair to disappear into this Scottish Isle of mystery, (as I had watched the book trailer as soon as I had found it [how could I wait?]), I noticed ever so slightly that this was the story that would dissolve hours away like fragments of a whispering wind! The format was completely foreign to me, and yet, it was quite familiar at the very same time! I have been reading letters from my own friends for the near-full of my life!! Once I realised the rhythm of the story, I nearly could hear a whispering of wind, the only fraction of the passing time, as I sank further and further into the exchanges between Elspeth and Davey! When the outside world disappears to the brink you have to force your eyes and being back into your own reality, that is when you know, you’ve stumbled across a book that has captured your heart!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThe review I posted on Book Browse:

Journey to Skye: slip into Elspeth’s shoes, one letter at a time

Elspeth is a Highlander Scot endowed to reside on the enchanted Isle of Skye, which sparks an intuitive creative voice inside her soul as a young girl. She learnt to channel this gift by etching her observations and heartfelt wisdoms into droplets of visceral poetry. Inasmuch as igniting a young man half a world away to discover something he had not felt was lost and conveyed his gratitude by penning her a letter. A letter he never expected her to reply too and thus began their entwined story. Of a woman entrapped by fear of the sea by which she couldn’t allow herself to experience the world beyond Skye and of a boy struggling to become a man on the threshold of war.

Letters are at their very core intimately raw in their conveyance of our innermost thoughts and emotions. We can spilt onto a page by word and context a connection that goes deeper than the superficial, fully absent of pretense and rightly an instinctive pause to reveal our truest of selves. You become lost in their exchanges to the brink that each time slip between the World Wars loses its mirth and all that is left is the anticipation of what news the next letter shall bring! You’re caught in a vortex of uncertainty living through each painful revelation and consolation between Elspeth and David.

And, yet this is a story that involves Margaret, the daughter of Elspeth who never knew her origins nor understood her mother as a woman. She too, is on a collision course with destiny that is half stitched in the past and half propelled forward by future events. Your heart aches and bleeds with Elspeth as she becomes fraught with despair and the anguish of the unknown. The churning of the tides ebbs and flows during the second half of the novel, but it’s not foreshadowed to reveal the ending which washes away the dried tears and leaves the reader a smile upon her lips!

 

And, here are the other thoughts which First Impression readers shared after having read “Letters from Skye”. Only a small bit of my review was edited after I posted it, as the word “learnt” was exchanged for “learned”. I was expecting it might be edited for length, as try as I might to stay within the 200 to 300 word limitations,… I find myself at a loss to always rein my thoughts into that perimeter! This review clocked in at: 332 words!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comInspired to Share: As soon as this book trailer begins, I was wrapped inside a time portal to a new land of adventurous proportions! The sweeping arc of the book trailer is reminiscent of a motion picture ~ your embarking a brief stay inside the world of Elspeth’s Skye and the very eternal hope that sparks alive inside the idea that a person’s life can be lived, breathed, and evolved through the exchangement of letters. Envelopes ever so tiny, yet ever so vital to parlay information between two souls whose paths have intertwined through a chance encounter inspired by a book of poetry. You can feel the emotional churning of the novel in this book trailer. You sense the heart-wrecking disconnection between Elspeth and David, as much as you see a kernel of Hope lit strong as the picture dissolves and you have to wait until you pick up the book to see how it all unfolds. This is the type of book trailer that readers live to see ahead of sinking into a piece of narrative. A flashing glimpse of two hearts and two characters, spread throughout the span of two World Wars and a lifetime of letters. How can you not want to drink in their story? A story translucent and sageful within our own lifetime.

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole, Book Trailer by Windmill Books, a division of Random House Publishing Group. Windmill Books main website.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fly in the Ointment: The only discerning issue I took with the novel is that throughout the years of correspondences, David acknowledges Elspeth as “Sue” which for me, did not suit her very well! It came out of left field as far as I am concerned, because I could not discern the way by which he sorted out how that would ‘fit’ her personality and character traits!? Afterall, she’s a Highlander Scot living a kissing distance from the sea in a sheltering small hamlet of Gaelic origins! Most of the women in the novel are named traditionally for the time frame: Margaret, Lara, Iain, Alasdair, Elsie, and Chrissie for instance, and the author used the Gaelic form of ‘mother’ {Màthair} to reflect Elspeth’s Mum, and Da to reflect father, is why I suppose I was a bit disappointed in the a plum usage of “Sue”.

Conversely, having had the pleasure of borrowing the Complete Series of Monarch of the Glen AND Foyle’s War through my local library — I must contend that I picked up subtle differences in dialect. For instance, I am not sure why “learned” was not “learnt” as an example of certain key words of Scottish/British/UK origins were not shown in full light. I have many memories of watching Monarch of the Glen ill-fated to not understand all the dialogue taking place because of the baroque accent and unfamiliarity of the words used. In this way, I can understand if the author decided to Anglicize Elspeth’s letters for broader audience appealment. Personally, I would have rather read a more authentic difference between Elspeth’s and David’s letters.

Personally I can relay that when your corresponding with a friend who lives elsewhere than you, on a whole new continent and grows up with a language unlike your own, part of the joy and treasurement of your developing friendship are the subtle differences in phrase and language! I have been honoured to have such a diverse array of friends whose first language was not English OR even British English, whereupon we learnt more about each other in how our words inked onto the page! The differences between American and British English can fill the ocean it takes to cross by way of the Queen Mary! It’s a full learning curve and I think, as I have fond memories of my personal correspondences, I noticed this absence in Letters from Skye.

I decided to share these parting thoughts on my blog verse inside my review for Book Browse because they do not deter from the story nor would they prevent the pleasure of reading it. These two things that resonated with me, but I did not think needed to be broached in a review but rather as an aside on my blog!

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Posted Wednesday, 3 July, 2013 by jorielov in Author Interview, Book Browse, Book Trailer, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, First Impressions, Fly in the Ointment, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Scotland, Scribd, the Forties, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Time Slip