Category: Audiobook Excerpt

Blog Book Tour | “An Unwilling Accomplice” by Charles Todd The sixth novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries!

Posted Monday, 27 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

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

I borrowed the first book in this series from my local library for my own edification and was not obligated to post my reflections and/or review on the story’s behalf. I wanted to understand a bit of the back-story on the principle character of Bess Crawford prior to reading the 6th book in the series. I originally perceived the idea to read the first five novels in the series prior to my tour stop, however, the hours disappeared before I could. The lightning storms did not give me any favours towards this goal, either! I was thankful I could meet Ms Crawford and find an anchour to who she is prior to soaking inside the sixth novel; yet I fully intend to go back through the series starting with the second novel and reading through til the fifth, skipping over the short story (non-digital reader) and this sixth one in strong pursuit of the seventh! I find myself wanton absorbed into the series!

Upon immediate notice of this blog tour I was wholly enthused to participate:

The reason I was quick as lightning to confirm my participation on behalf of this blog tour is based on the absolute joy I had in reading my first Todd novel Hunting Shadows! I was quite impressed with the duality of historical novelling from this lovely mother-son writing duo to such an extent: I knew quite instinctively I would become quite partial to Bess Crawford before I ever knew too much about her! Call it reader intuition if you will, but I knew quite in that instant of being broached if I wanted to become a part of this dual-blog tour for both the sixth and seventh novels of a series in progress that I would become Crawford’s newest champion!

There are moments where you are so captured by the breadth and the heart of a novel’s core, you simply want to continue to read as much as you can by the author whose penned a story you can sink your mind inside whilst feeling as though you can equally find comfort in stepping outside this world of intense realism without the worse for wear. Reading a historical suspense novel of the Todds is a delicious respite as you can time travel back inside a particular moment in history, lively at war and match step with dedicated professionals who guide you through their living hours.

Between now and my next stop on this beautiful tour celebrating the series, I will be reading the next books in line to be consumed, as I could only read the very first Bess Crawford mystery, of which I shall relate to you how it tucked inside my soul.

Reflections on “A Duty to the Dead”, the first Bess Crawford mystery:

We enter Ms Crawford’s life in 1916 during WWI, wherein she’s a sisterly nurse on board the Britannic an ill-fated hospital ship struck down by a hidden mine. Bess Crawford is attempting to convey a snippet of her life aboard ship whilst at a proper loss how to express the dullness of an ordinary day at sea without the benefit of the wounded. She is honest about the dangers being on a ship in U-boat territory but with a sly nod to the familiars of ordinary life spent in service. Even her coy banterment with an officer proved she found a balm of normalcy in the midst of war.

A blessing whilst reading a Todd novel, is the assurance of the story-teller(s) to eclipse you so very surely into the novel’s depth that by the time you reach a quell in the horror of war or the emotional hardship of an injury; you have already taken up residence alongside the character Todd has endeared your heart to champion.

I applaud the realism and the choke-hold of gasping shock when the sinking of the Britannic was shown. I felt heart-clenched to Bess, willing myself to see, feel, and taste what she was experiencing whilst longing for her rescue. Todd has a character-centric voice of giving you such a close-personal heady experience, you feel you’ve lived half a lifetime with each novel you read.

Dr. Phillips is a curious fellow – by the time the story shifts from war to the homefront, we become entranced with the eccentric and yet reserved creatures of a small towne of Owlhurst, thus named after a patch of woods known for housing owls! This is where the drama of alarm rings itself out for Ms Crawford, as she has gone henceforth in haste (after managing to put it off for a bit longer than necessary!) to seek out a family a dying man she nursed requested of her to take his deathbed message back to his brother. Dr. Phillips is the towne’s doctor, and along with the rector of the village itself, Ms Crawford finds herself entangled into the thorny past of her beloved soldier; a person of whom her opinions shifts the longer she spends caught up in his affairs. His family is not without their skeletons, but it is how their omissions and their repressions of their past beguiles Ms Crawford that paints the scene all more intriguing to the reader.

Knickers quickened to knots over the competence and tenacious approach of Ms Crawford to take up the heed of medical assistance, not once, but twice whilst she is a guest at the soldier’s family estate. The Grahams are a curious (and aptly suspicious) lot, wherein she could never quite finger what was odd about them until nearly the golden hour in which her own life might have become hung in the counterbalance! One would have felt her aperture to serve whilst not in official capacity would have appeased the family for giving a sign of both courage and strength, yet her efforts had quite the opposite effect! This is the underpinning reasons why Ms Crawford started to nettle inside her mind what was truly lying in wait for her to discover; the more they attempted to hide the truth from her suppositions, the more her mind ferreted out a reason to question their authority on where the truth truly lay.

What hidden secrets in their past reflected out in their cold disdainment for a brother and son? War is known as a cruel mistress, yet those who return with the aftershocks of service had little sympathies from their families and even less compassion from medical and spiritual adviseries. Save the nurses who understood far more than everyone else combined.

Knitted into this first novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries is a trifold of suspense surrounding three young blokes of whom warrant the most attention to be focused upon: Arthur Graham (the wounded gent entrusting Ms Crawford with his message); Ted Booker (a soldier afflicted by PTSD; previously called ‘shell shock’), and Peregrine Graham the eldest of the four brothers, of whom Arthur was related. I could not pull my eyes off the dialogue and text of this novel, because the Todds have become so intrinsically tethered into this WWI era as to alight into our minds an imaginary time where a young and capable woman such as Bess Crawford can not only reside but take up arms against the unjust in such a convincing way as an elder Miss Marple!

I kept turning it over in my mind what drew me the most into her world – it was at first the historical backdrop of the timescape but then, as the layers were fleshed out and stitched together, it was the classic Todd narrative of giving a story an underlit joy of a strong lead character whose self-assurance and capacity for sleuthing was a paramount wealth of excitement on behalf of the reader! Seeing everything through Bess Crawford’s eyes and the underscore of her emotions, knitted together a suspenseful plot writ out of such an ordinary request from a fallen soldier, that it took a skilled story-teller in this duo of writers to give us such a hearty novel to devour!

I read the first 58 pages in my first sitting and consumed the full of the novel in my second; lightning crackling more times than naught, and without the benefit of tweeting out my happy delight in seeing where Ms Crawford’s museful thoughts led me to decipher the mystery; I simply awaited my words to become laid to rest on my blog. By reading this first mystery out of a series of 7 novels, I was able to ascertain the countenance of Bess Crawford but also, the beauty of her life being lived off the pages of her stories — the Todds have such a confluence of creativity between them, it hadn’t felt like a ‘first novel’ of Bess Crawford but one of many already penned. The continuity and attention to even minor details was quite excellent and this novel not only justified being read ahead of another in the series but provided the background necessary to understand who Bess Crawford is as a character. Including her close ties to India and her beloved respect for her father, of whom influences her even when his presence is absent.

Blog Book Tour | “An Unwilling Accomplice” by Charles Todd The sixth novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries!An Unwilling Accomplice
by Charles Todd
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch.

Bess Crawford has been summoned by the War Office to accompany a wounded soldier from Shropshire to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry by King George himself.

Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, Sergeant Jason Wilkins will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty. How could such a severely wounded man vanish without a trace?

Both the Army and the Nursing Service hold Bess to blame for losing the war hero. The Army now considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions Bess when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man in cold blood. If Bess is to clear her name and return to duty in France, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared again and neither the Army nor the police can find him.

Following a trail of clues across England, Bess is drawn into a mystery that seems to grow darker with every discovery. But will uncovering the truth put more innocent people in jeopardy?

Places to find the book:

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Also by this author: Hunting Shadows

Series: Bess Crawford mysteries


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by William Morrow

on 5th May, 2015

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 368

Length: 11 hours, 3 minutes

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Bess Crawford mysteries, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 27 July, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Britian, British Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, During WWI, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foyle's War, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Lady Detective Fiction, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Military Fiction, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Psychiatric Facilities, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Soundcloud, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours, War Drama, Widows & Widowers, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “Balm” by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Posted Friday, 3 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “Balm” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours.  I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Balm” direct from the publisher Amistad (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Whilst I was requesting to be placed on this blog tour, I requested a copy of the author’s debut novel “Wench” to become introduced to her style and possible continuity; blessedly I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Amistad (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), without being obligated to post a review, as my ruminations on behalf of this novel are for my own edification only.

Interest in reading the stories:

Loved the continuity of the historical era in which the author started inside Wench. I regularly read Southern Lit in regards to the Deep South, plantations, abolitionists and the Underground Railroad in general. My first TLC Book Tour was for The House Girl and since then I have continued to find novels set within this era either for TLC or other publicists; the last of which was Redfield Farm.

Blog Book Tour | “Balm” by Dolen Perkins-ValdezBalm
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Lisa Renee Pitts

The New York Times bestselling author of Wench—called "a fascinating and tragic story" by NPR.org, "deeply moving" by USA Today, and "lyrical and devastatingly beautiful" by People magazine—returns to the Civil War era to explore history's next chapter in this powerful story of love and healing.

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life.

Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others' suffering and ease it, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and continue to help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him.

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in an unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.

Places to find the book:

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Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama, Literary Fiction, Southern Lit


Published by Amistad

on 3rd January, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 374

Length: 9.2 hours

Published By: Amistad (@AmistadBooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Softcover, Audiobook, and Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Wench
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Series: P.S. Series


Genres: Historical Fiction, Southern Lit


Published by Amistad

on 25th, January 2011

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 294

Length: 8 hours, 17 minutes

Wench Available Formats: Hardcover, P.S. Edition paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

Listen to an Excerpt: WENCH via audiobooks.com

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #Balm and #DolenPerkinsValdez

 

About Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Wench. Her fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, StorySouth, and elsewhere.

In 2011 she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was also awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program in Maine. A graduate of Harvard and a former University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, Dolen Perkins-Valdez lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 3 July, 2015 by jorielov in #LitChat, 19th Century, African-American History, ARC | Galley Copy, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, History, Literary Fiction, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Passionate Researcher, Psychological Abuse, Small Towne USA, Soundcloud, Taboo Relationships & Romance, The Deep South, TLC Book Tours, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Underground Railroad

Book Review | “The Grown-Ups” by Robin Antalek #SRC2015 No.1

Posted Friday, 26 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2015

Something quite wicked awesome happened to me this Spring – I had the sweet opportunity to begin hosting for BookSparks which led to my participation in my *1st!* ever #SummerReadingChallenge bonanza of bookish loveliness! I marked my first blog tour with BookSparks with a super wicked historical fiction which touched on every emotional keel a historical novel can yield and then arched back over into such a depth of humanity that I simply found it hard to put the novel down! I’m speaking on behalf of The Sheperdness of Siena!
The beauty about the #SRC2015 challenge is that it is OPEN to readers everywhere – especially those who are following the book bloggers who are a part of the official blog tour of Summer (i.e. most of us are sporting the badges on our blog’s sidebars and/or our social media accounts. Likewise, I included the badges per blog tour I am participating in on my Bookish Events page for quick reference for my regular readers and subscribers!
BookSparks included a nifty bookmark and guide for us to follow and help inspire our Summer Reading Challenge journey! On the list, I am focusing mostly on *three!* key things: using photography to help showcase the books as they arrive in by my local library (see this post for explanation) and via postal mail; tweeting using the #SRC2015 as I am reading *each!* novel (there are 10 total!) I selected to read and review during the blog tours; and I am posting a review on a pre-determined schedule of my choosing! I have dates lined up starting right now in late June and ending in early September!

#SRC2015 Goals of participation provided by BookSparks and used with permission.

I fell slightly behind on my in-between review post updates due to my back-to-back illnesses, which is why I am going to be back-posting approx. 3-4 ’10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts’ to chart my journey with the reading challenge inasmuch as share the bookish and non-bookish joys that have alighted in my life since my first entry posted on 14th of May! From here on out, on *Thursdays!* there will be a new post arriving filled with #SRC2015 news!
I elected to participate on Twitter and Riffle as compliments to my bookish blog as I do appreciate being connected to other social readers, however, other plausible networks simply weren’t my cuppa tea. Part of my future entries of ’10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts’ will be scouting out other wicked sweet entries of the book bloggers who are uploading keenly awesome content and supporting all the lovely authors who were selected in this year’s showcase! Due stay tuned not only to my blog but my bookishly delightful tweets, as you never know which book I will be #currentlyreading and thereby, sharing my readerly reactions as I make my way through Summer! I encourage you to tweet me back and/or leave comments on each #SRC2015 threaded post on my blog! Let’s converse about the stories we’re reading in common and our conjoined thoughts and reactions therein!
Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Borrowed Book from my local library: I originally found BookSparks PR last Spring, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge this year instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Sheperdess of Siena”. 

At the time when I was confirmed to be a part of the #SRC2015 official blog tour schedule, we were not able to get confirmation on which books we selected to review on our respective blogs would be sent to us by the publishers and/or publicist at BookSparks, thereby I submitted purchase requests at my local library for all *10!* books I selected to read and review.

I elected to read “The Grown-Ups” via my local library, as they purchased this novel ahead of my submission of requests; the novel arrived into my local library ahead of further confirmation and postal mail via #SRC2015. By participating in the #SRC2015 challenge I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Review | “The Grown-Ups” by Robin Antalek #SRC2015 No.1The Grown-Ups
by Robin Antalek
Source: Borrowed from local library
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell

Places to find the book:

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Genres: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance


Published by William Morrow

on 27th January, 2015

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback, Audiobook Excerpt | SoundCloud

Pages: 384

Length: 11 hours, 46 minutes

written by Robin Antalek | Site | @robinantalek | Facebook

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: P.S. Edition paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #TheGrownUps & #SRC2015 Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SRC2015 | BookSparks
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Posted Friday, 26 June, 2015 by jorielov in #SRC2015 | BookSparks, 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BookSparks, Brothers and Sisters, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Disillusionment in Marriage, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Fly in the Ointment, Life Shift, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Soundcloud, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda Lafferty

Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR last Spring, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge this year instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel.  I received a complimentary copy of “The Shepherdess of Siena” direct from the publicist at BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I will be blogging about my contributions and participation in the Summer Reading Challenge 2015 because something quite remarkable happened to allow me to read the first six novels of the ten I selected to blog about. Mum’s the word until I post a very special edition of ’10 Bookish / Not Bookish Thoughts’!

On reading about the Renaissance and stories about strong women:

I fell in love with Renaissance Italy as a child, swept away by the artisans and artists during the re-genesis of creative voice and freedom of expression across their societal divides. The Renaissance is fraught with drama depending on where you alight during it’s different periods of time, but one thing remains: the will of the people to not only overcome what is happening but to dig deeper into a well of strength to overtake what is wrong and shift forward into the future on a sturdier path towards change. It was an incredible time in history, and it is the stories of the people that I am always drawn towards most when I pick up a historical work of fiction.

To tuck inside a commoners or royals life, seeing what they might have seen or felt what they might have bled out of their hearts whilst surviving or yielding to the fray of the hour. Historical fiction I find is enriching because it presents a different worldview than our contemporary timescape; it knits together ideas and motivations to conquer issues which have had lasting results even in our own generations. I like seeing how the people rose to the occasions they were presented with living through but moreso to that end, I like reading about their ordinary lives. Even a royal family at the end of the day are merely who they are behind closed doors — the circumstances of their royal origins do not limit their curiosity but rather increase it, as who are they when the world is not looking?

On the opposite end of it, I love unearthing little unknown pockets of the historical past, elements of how time, life, family, and evolution of thought can expand itself into a boiling stew of passion and declaration for liberty to live on one’s own terms. Strong women in fiction is awe-inspiring, but my favourite preference is finding the women who lived so very long ago held within them a chalice of strength written into the fiber of all women before and after them.

Blog Book Tour | “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda LaffertyThe Shepherdess of Siena: a novel of Renaissance Tuscany
by Linda Lafferty
Source: Direct from Publicist

The Shepherdess of Siena takes us to the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside in a lush drama of untamed horses and wild hearts played out in historic Siena.

Linda Lafferty, bestselling author of The Bloodletter’s Daughter, releases her fourth novel The Shepherdess of Siena. This riveting new novel is based on the real life tale of Virgina Tacci who at age fourteen rode the Palio Horse tournament in 1581 bareback. Linda’s love of all things equestrian and her extensive travel to Italy paints a vivid picture of Tuscany with passion and truth.

Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has big dreams of competing in Siena’s Palio horse race. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, her peasant class and her gender supremely limit Virginia’s possibilities. Inspired by the daring equestrian feats of Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, Virgina’s dreams don’t seem so difficult to reach.

The Shepherdess of Siena brings alive the rich history of one of Tuscany’s most famed cities and this lush, captivating saga draws an illuminating portrait of one girl with an unbreakable spirit.

 

Places to find the book:

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Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 31st March, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 616

Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #ShepherdessOfSiena

About Linda Lafferty

Linda Lafferty taught in public education for nearly three decades, in schools from the American School of Madrid to the Boulder Valley schools to the Aspen school district. She completed her PhD in bilingual special education and went on to work in that field, as well as teaching English as a second language and bilingual American history.

Horses are Linda’s first love, and she rode on the University of Lancaster’s riding team for a year in England. As a teenager, her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo, and she played in her first polo tournament when she was seventeen.

Linda also loves Siena, Italy, and the people of the region and has returned to the city half a dozen times in the past three years to research her novel. Linda is the author of three previous novels: The Bloodletter’s Daughter, The Drowning Guard, and House of Bathory. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Lafferty's Author Page on Book Browse

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 15th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BookSparks, Catherine de Medici, Catholicism, Coming-Of Age, Father-Daughter Relationships, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Isabella de' Medici, Italy, Library Love, Literary Fiction, Literature of Italy, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Nun, Orphans & Guardians, Religious Orders, Renaissance Tuscany, Sisterhood friendships, Soundcloud, the Renaissance (14th-17th Centuries), Tuscany, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Rights

Blog Book Tour | “Last Night at the Blue Angel” by Rebecca Rotert

Posted Thursday, 30 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

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

A Note on the Cover Art Design:

I can honestly say that this is one time where I prefer the cover art design on the first edition rather than the P.S. Edition, as you will see via the SoundCloud Novel Excerpt and the After Story feature below the review, the original design I felt befit the story much better than this new version which only sought to confuse me when I first received the book. You have to look at it from afar if you can even hope to understand what the image is representing whereas the original design had the elements of the synopsis held within the gaze. The colour hues of the original fit better to as far as atmosphere of the kind of story your about to read.

Blog Book Tour | “Last Night at the Blue Angel” by Rebecca RotertLast Night at the Blue Angel
by Rebecca Rotert
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Set against the turbulence of 1960s Chicago—a city in transformation—and its legendary jazz scene, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a lush and immensely heartfelt mother-daughter tale about a talented but troubled singer’s relationship with her precocious ten-year-old daughter.

 It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is teeming with the tensions of the day—segregation, sexual experimentation, the Cold War and Vietnam—but it is also home to some of the country’s most influential jazz. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. But when her big break, the cover of Look magazine, finally arrives, it carries with it an enormous personal cost. Sensual and magnetic, Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet self-destructive woman whose charms tend to hurt those around her, and no one knows this better than her daughter, Sophia.

As the only child of a single mother growing up in an adult world, Sophia is wise beyond her years, a casualty of her mother’s desperate struggle for fame and adoration. Unsettled by her home life, she harbors a terrible fear that her world could disappear at any moment, and compulsively maintains a list of everyday objects she might need to reinvent should nuclear catastrophe strike. Her only constant is the colorful and unconventional family that surrounds her and her mother, particularly the photographer, Jim, who is Sophia’s best friend, surrogate father, and protector—but Jim is also deeply in love with Naomi.

Weaving between the perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a poignant and unforgettable story about what happens when our passion for the life we want is at sharp odds with the life we have. Part stylish period piece, part heartbreaking family drama, it’s a novel rife with revelations, a vivid and propulsive page-turner—and the major debut of an extraordinary new writer.

Places to find the book:

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Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on 14th April, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 352

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, P.S. Edition paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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About Rebecca Rotert

Rebecca Rotert received an M.A. in literature from Hollins College, where she was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets prize. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and other publications. She's also an experienced singer and songwriter, who has performed with several bands, and a teacher with the Nebraska Writers Collective. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. This is her first novel.

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Posted Thursday, 30 April, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Chicago, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Jazz Musicians, Jazz Singers, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Nun, Photography, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Soundcloud, The Sixties, TLC Book Tours