Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 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 “Ecstasy” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel about Alma Mahler:

This particular author has a special connection to Jorie Loves A Story – especially in regards to milestones and memories! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger, I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

From that foundation, I started to seek out traditional biographies and memoirs, under the new vein of interest called ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ where the stories are threaded through an emotional contextual core of narrative. For you see, if I hadn’t first read Illuminations all the lovelies I’ve been discovering since might not have alighted in my hands to read. Mary Sharratt truly opened my mind and eyes to how a story could be told whilst peering back into the historical past through a living history of a person who once lived. Her style of the craft is quite acutely realistic for the time periods she’s exploring; she has a conviction of setting with a lifeblood of drawing characters out of the wells of history to give us a resounding portrait of ‘who once lived’ can live once again in our own imaginations.

Whilst during my 3rd Year as a Book Blogger, I had the joy of discovering her prose within The Dark Lady’s Mask (see also Review) and now, as a newly minted 5th Year Book Blogger – I am embarking into my third reading of her collective works with Ecstasy! There is something quite special about the way in which Ms Sharratt approaches her subjects and characters – as I had this to say whilst encountering my last stay inside one of her stories:

I knew I would find the narrative an eloquent historical tome of insight on behalf of what I know of Sharratt’s writings; she fuses so much in such a short expanse of the story, you fully live within their pages. Her narrative has a way of not just transporting you back into the 16th Century but allowing you a bit of grace to flex your mind around what living in the 16th Century would be like from a sensory perception of insight. She taunts what you presume to be true with what is known about the century, giving you much more of a grounded respite than a flowery historical. This felt authentic to the era but also, to how the world would have been viewed during the different stages of Aemilia’s life.

I was caught up in the current of how fluid Ms Sharratt composed this novel and how she worked the story-line through the mind of a poetess. She truly championed the will of a poet and of a creative seeking to find their own way to express their creativity whilst proving that finding one’s way in life isn’t as easily to understand. Ms Sharratt will remain a favourite of mine to read, if only to see how her own mind fashions itself around thought, theory, inspiration and the fragility of where history and time become entwined as one. I will definitely savour the time I spend within The Dark Lady’s Mask the second time I read it, as it is not one you wish to put down in haste!

Only within the chapters of Illuminations did I find myself most akin to reading a different lifestyle than one I could personally relate too. As the elements of The Dark Lady’s Mask had such wonderful overtures of recognition from my favourite Bard, I felt there were portions of the narrative I had a pre-cursory understanding of – as I stepped inside Ecstasy, it was an easier transition by half, as any creative economist who picks up this novel will self-identity with Alma’s strong desire and need to fulfill not only her creative muses but to strike out on her own to develop her creative identity.

As such, this is one text where I found myself attempting to find the right words to articulate my reactions as I found the context of the story to be illuminatingly stimulating in it’s own right to parlay a multitude of thoughts about it’s inner theme, the heart of it’s message and the purpose we all seek as self-directed artists seeking our true selves and the rightful path we must walk in order to embrace the artistry within us which has not yet been revealled. These are the kinds of ruminative thoughts I am appreciative of being challenged to convey – as the writers who write these kinds of stories are digging into something dimensionally deeper than what might first be seen on the surface of their characters’ lives.

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Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.Esctasy
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780544800892

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, The Dark Lady's Mask

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 10th April, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 387

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #EcstasyBlogTour, #AlmaMahler + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes: strong women who break all the rules.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Alma Mahler, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Classical Music | Composers, Composer, Creative Arts, Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction

Author Guest Post | “All That Jazz: how music soothes the savage author” a topic explored by Jennifer Lamont Leo whose recently released the second novel in Jorie’s beloved #INSPY series: the Roaring Twenties Novels!

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Guest Contributor and/or Reviewer of JLAS banner created by Jorie in Canva.

 

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Today, I have the wonderfully lovely joy of welcoming the INSPY author I have truly *loved!* reading per each new release she is blessing our readerly lives with reading: the Roaring Twenties Novels by Jennifer Lamont Leo encapsulate a timelessness your expecting out of a series set during the early Nineteen Hundreds whilst the heart she pours into her characters and the world in which they thrive is quite the lovely experience as you soak inside her narratives!

These stories are gentle on the heart, uplift the mind and are a true inspiration to be reading as they are cleanly written for readers seeking a respite out of the offerings of the mainstream whilst providing you convicting story-lines which seek to be dramatic as much as they are historically authentic to the era in which they are set. In essence, the stories have become a happy delight of mine to be reading each time Ms Lamont Leo entices us with a new installment whilst we follow in the footsteps of Marjorie Corriagn, her family and her eclectic group of friends!

As you might have remembered, I had a different start to [2018] and haven’t had the best of health during the [Spring] therefore, I opted to host Ms Lamont Leo today with a topic of her own choosing which talked about a topic I could personally relate to myself – in essence, despite not realising what the topic would entail, somehow I ‘lucked out’ finding a kindred spirit in Ms Lamont Leo! (as I will be explaining in a moment!)

Without a moment to delay, kindly make sure your favourite cuppa is brewed & let’s find out what Ms Lamont Leo wanted to share with us about ‘music, books & the art of writing’ – however, before we tuck into her essay, let me give you a summarised impression of why her writing style is especially keen in my readerly heart:

Ms Lamont Leo has such an ease about her narrative – she drops you straight back into her plot, giving us ample reason to feel a reason for wanting to take up residence therein and allows us the beauty of joy to re-align ourselves with her characters from one installment of her series to the next. The only regret I have is knowing the stories between the novels are still strictly only released into ebook formats, rather than being included in the forthcoming novels, released separately in print or perhaps even in audiobook. The latter is the option I am enjoying discovering lately, as was the case with Ms Becky Wade’s Bradford Sisters Romance series – where I could enjoy the prequel novella in audio ahead of reading the two novels in print. I do hope other authors might take that route as it helps those of us who are traditional readers to seek out the stories which inter-connect a series together.

I enjoyed noting Marjorie made her own wedding dress – she always had a knack for design and it’s something she enjoyed doing all along. Of course, I had forgotten how her sense of style in ready-made fashion had the tendency to make Dot cringe – laughs – but the good nature and spirit of friendship seems to settle all disputes such as those! I liked how Ms Lamont Leo continues to strengthen the background of the series by the breadth of her characters – of giving them dimension and heartache, whereas the dramatic bits are lead-ups to either redemptive sequences or new beginnings.

The series never shies away from the harder realities of both the era and of the individuals who populate the series – as this is 1929, from our perspective, we know the Crash is imminent but for people like Charlie who wanted to take a risk on their future, 1929 felt like the year their tides could not just change but become substantially better. Knowing the fuller scope of the history though, you nearly cringe awaiting the fall-out and the repercussions of what happens once everyone realises the full weight of how the stock market would affect their lives. It is a good place to hinge the series – in the 1920s, as the Twenties had such a lifeblood of American life within their decade. Not just in music and art, but in the sequencing of events which would define generations yet to come.

In the background of the series, there is an impression of INSPY living practices and of the Christian faith – not overtly so, but rather, spoken about as it relates to signature moments within Ms Lamont Leo’s characters’ lives or as takeaway conversations therein where someone is trying to sort through something rather important. It never feels forced and if anything, it shows a healthy outlook on how faith and life collide together – how sometimes you don’t see boundaries or barriers even if they exist in front of you. It also takes stock at how different people move in and out of their faith, how faith is defined for different people and of course, the other side of the spectrum entirely where faith might become soured by a bad influence.

One interesting bit of trivia is how the titles of the series relate to songs made popular during Marjorie Corrigan and Dot’s era, as this is brought full to life by how Dot is seen singing the titled songs at Veronica’s party. It is wonderful continuity but also, it is a keen way of bridging together how the series is rooted in it’s time-line of influence.

-quoted from my review of Ain’t Misbehavin’

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Author Guest Post | “All That Jazz: how music soothes the savage author” a topic explored by Jennifer Lamont Leo whose recently released the second novel in Jorie’s beloved #INSPY series: the Roaring Twenties Novels!Ain't Misbehavin' (Guest Post on Music)
Subtitle: A Roaring Twenties Novel
by Jennifer Lamont Leo

In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Why would a strong, upstanding man want to build a future with a shallow, good-time girl like her?

Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper with no intention of settling down. She’s used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016423

Also by this author: You're the Cream in my Coffee, Ain't Misbehavin'

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


on 13th March, 2018

Published By: Smitten Historical Romance

an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic + #INSPY

About Jennifer Lamont Leo

Jennifer Lamont Leo

With a passion for all things historical, Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She is also a copywriter, editor, and journalist. An Illinois native, she holds a deep affection for Chicago and its rich history. Today she writes from the mountains of northern Idaho, where she shares her home with her husband, two cats, and abundant wildlife.

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Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Author Guest Post (their topic), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dating & Humour Therein, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, the Roaring Twenties

Blog Book Tour | “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (Book No. 2 of the Roaring Twenties novels) by Jennifer Lamont Leo Otherwise known as the debut INSPY novelist Jorie happily discovered last year!

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2018 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 copy of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” direct from the author Jennifer Lamont Leo in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I was especially wicked thrilled to have discovered Jennifer Lamont Leo:

A most enjoyable reading experience was being curled up inside this beautifully lovely debut novel, of which I hope will become the guiding light towards deepening the appreciation of Ms Corrigan’s adventures in successive installments of the series. Mind, I hope it does readily become a full-on series of novels, because the foundation laid down in the shoes & mind of Ms Corrigan are to be treasured!

You simply get swept away into this novel: from Dot’s flapper lifestyle to Ms Corrigan’s journey back to centre and the emergence of what became of Jack; you’re truly settled into the flowing narrative of how one woman chose to take the reigns of her life and do something rather incredible with her time. Especially brilliant, is through her dedicated research she was able to bring to light, the incredibly fast-paced life of working at Marshall Field’s. In of itself, those passages were some of my favourite because the author truly tapped into how working in a popular department store is both tiring and endlessly engaging in how to keep up with the customers!

There are so many wonderful passages – of where Ms Corrigan is realising who she is for the very first time and of the mistakes that come from daring to live outside your comfort zones. Ms Lamont Leo has etched out a heroine you want to rally behind and learn more about in successive volumes of a series you can only hope has first sparked to life in You’re the Cream in my Coffee.

Truly, a sweet novel for those who love Inspiring HistFic with a glimmer of a pinch of Romance set in an exciting period of history whilst coming alive with a coming-of age story that is simply not meant to be missed! Definitely my first #unputdownable read of the New Year: 2017! Such a blessing to have been on this blog tour!

As an aside, the truer blessing was having such an inspiring read on hand whilst I fought my way back into the joys of reading once again. This was a beautiful story to get lost inside and feel your spirit renew itself against the pages of drama evolving in and out of Ms Corrigan’s search for individual truth & the path she was meant to walk.

-quoted from my review of You’re the Cream in my Coffee

I didn’t enter [2017] at the best of circumstances as my head, heart and spirit were still recovering from the medical crisis of my father’s stroke from the previous November. However, when I found stories like this one – penned by Ms Lamont Leo, I found myself recovering my spirit and fortitude to move forward both in life and in my reading adventures one story at a time. It was back then when I had considered for another considerable amount of time if I were to continue to blog my reading life or even tweet my readerly joy – if you fast forward to how [2018] began, I have had new reasons to find a renewal of bookish joy just as pertinent as it was to find them in [2017].

The end of the year [2017] concluded as hard as it began, followed by a difficult start to Spring, similar to the previous one – where it was my health which was being affected not my father’s. As I start to shift forward in both my blogging life and my readerly adventures – I’m finding myself happily museful for my return to reading INSPY Lit more regularly if you caught sight of my 5th Blogoversary post and my recent Spotlight w/ Notes on behalf of the Bradford Sisters Romance series – as we start to shift into Summer, my readings of INSPY will happily continue to expand.

This year, I was delighted beyond measure finding out the sequel was going on a blog tour – truly humbled and blessed I could join it and finding myself wicked anxious to dive back into Marjorie Corrigan’s life!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (Book No. 2 of the Roaring Twenties novels) by Jennifer Lamont Leo Otherwise known as the debut INSPY novelist Jorie happily discovered last year!Ain't Misbehavin'
Subtitle: A Roaring Twenties Novel
by Jennifer Lamont Leo
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Why would a strong, upstanding man want to build a future with a shallow, good-time girl like her?

Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper with no intention of settling down. She’s used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016423

Also by this author: You're the Cream in my Coffee, Ain't Misbehavin' (Guest Post on Music)

Also in this series: You're the Cream in my Coffee


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 13th March, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 199

Published By: Smitten Historical Romance

an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic + #INSPY

About Jennifer Lamont Leo

Jennifer Lamont Leo

With a passion for all things historical, Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She is also a copywriter, editor, and journalist. An Illinois native, she holds a deep affection for Chicago and its rich history. Today she writes from the mountains of northern Idaho, where she shares her home with her husband, two cats, and abundant wildlife.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dating & Humour Therein, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, the Roaring Twenties