Category: Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Lady of the Tower” by Elizabeth St. John

Posted Saturday, 13 August, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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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 “The Lady of the Tower” direct from the author Elizabeth St. John 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 a story writ out of the author’s historical past:

Hallo, dear hearted readers – I was especially keen on the idea of a historical fiction novel inspired by the ancestral history of the author’s past because I am an Ancestry Sleuth myself! I have had a penchant of following in the footsteps of my Mum and grandfather who originally started to ferret out the remnants of our ancestry past through the groundwork they started in the 1970s to not only unearth hidden threads of our ancestors but to start the quest to work towards understanding where we all originated once you enter into the historical data on immigration from the UK and Europe respectively.

It’s an interesting process, as an Ancestry Sleuth as your digging through records and following leads – where some days you come up empty and other days, you might get a lucky break – where finding one ancestor could lead you to find a whole lot of ancestors you never even heard about previously! Thus, knowing this about how much I love researching where the living histories of my family could lead to new ancestors in the historic past, imagine then, my joy in reading the synopsis and back-story attached to The Lady of the Tower, wherein Ms St. John used one of her ancestors as the cornerstone of enquiry into how her story was both set and told.

I could be mistaken, but I believe the Stuart period of England is one that I haven’t yet had the joy of exploring? I love when I get to dig into another chapter of British history, seeing a whole generation pop alive against the pages of a historical novel and give me a cardinal viewing of that generation’s untold insights & stories. I remember when I first read a novel set during the era of the Tudors & the Georgian era, too. Of the two, I leaned more towards the Tudors – however, I have the tendency to fall back on my regular haunts of the Regency & Victorian eras whilst traversing a bit into the Edwardian. It would be quite lovely to feel an equal attachment for another era – perhaps, the Stuart will appeal? I do appreciate certain stories set during Elizabethan England, too. It’s just my heart flutters such joy in the other three eras it’s hard to pull myself out of them! Laughs.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Lady of the Tower” by Elizabeth St. JohnThe Lady of the Tower
by Elizabeth St. John
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Orphaned Lucy St.John, described as “the most beautiful of all,” defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I are a time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one can do is fall in love . . . or make an enemy of Frances Howard, the reigning court beauty.

Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk, but her envious sister Barbara is determined to ruin her happiness. Exiling herself from the court, Lucy has to find her own path through life, becoming mistress of the Tower of London. Riding the coattails of the king’s favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, the fortunes of the St.Johns rise to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes betrayal, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of deceit and debauchery.

Elizabeth St.John tells this dramatic story of love, betrayal, family bonds and loyalty through the eyes of her ancestor Lucy and her family’s surviving diaries, letters and court papers.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781523417889

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 30th January, 2016

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 246

Published By: Self-Published Author

Read more about the Stuart period of England via WikiHow

Converse via: #TheLadyOfTheTower & #Ancestry + #HistFic
Available Formats: Softcover paperback and E-Book

About Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and sites from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and the British Library to Castle Fonmon and The Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

Elizabeth is currently writing a sequel to The Lady of the Tower, following the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War. The working title is “By Love Divided”, and it is due to publish in early 2017.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 13 August, 2016 by jorielov in 17th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Lucy St. John, Multi-Generational Saga, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data

Book Review | “Kepler and the Universe: How one man revolutionized Astronomy” by David K. Love

Posted Monday, 8 August, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Kepler and the Universe” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why Astronomy and Space Science interest me:

I positively am fascinated by Quantum Physics & Mechanics as much as everything connected to Astrophysics, Cosmology and Astronomy. Kepler is well known by name for his contributions but this is the first time I saw a biography that true went to the heart of who the man was behind the name.

My fascination with the Solar System began quite innocuously at a young age, when I became quite wicked curious about the universe. Casting my eyes skyward to breathe in the evening skies, whilst the stars were twinkling their magical glow back towards Earth was quite the fascination for me as a child. Learning how to recognise the constellations was fuelled by a concentrated focus workshop I took at my local Science Center; a place I would hang my hat every Summer til my thirteenth year. You could say, I grew up with dual passions firmly rooted in both the Arts & Sciences; exploring what interested me and developing my own curiously curious pursuit of knowledge as a result.

Space Science has re-defined itself since I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s; as so much has become known since then, whilst new frontiers to explore have constantly kept scientists and layreaders happily on the ‘edge’ of understanding everything that could draw their curious eyes to become giddy with excitement! I have a cross-love of different topics of interest which have the tendency to overlap each other and cross-relate as well, as if your parlaying your interests into Astronomy, AstroPhysics & AstroBotany are close in pursuit whereas any of the realms pursuant to Quantum Physics is not going to be overlooked but happily followed as well. I can still recollect wandering the Science sections of bookshoppes – wherein I would simply move title to title, seeking new threads of interest to keep tabs on whilst sorting out which topics I might one day like to read for a deeper understanding of insight.

At the heart of where my heart lies in all of this, is Albert Einstein, and by osmosis everyone who arrived at their moment of enlightenment within his generation, prior to his birth or in the decades since his death. There is a lot of history within science and the wicked sweet part for a girl whose mind has a fever of curiosity about ‘all of it’ is that when you stumble across a release such as this, you cannot help but become genuinely interested in devouring it’s contents!

I also felt this would start the shift to seek out more books of this nature, where the scientists who have left me wanting to better understand them could perhaps be sought out on a more regular basis than a haphazard spontaneous focus such as I have done in previous years.

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Book Review | “Kepler and the Universe: How one man revolutionized Astronomy” by David K. LoveKepler and the Universe
Subtitle: How one man revolutionized Astronomy
by David K. Love
Source: Direct from Publisher

A contemporary of Galileo and a forerunner of Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a pioneering German scientist and a pivotal figure in the history of astronomy. This colorful, well-researched biography brings the man and his scientific discoveries to life, showing how his contributions were every bit as important as those of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton.

It was Kepler who first advocated the completely new concept of a physical force emanating from the sun that controls the motion of the planets—today we call this gravity and take it for granted. He also established that the orbits of the planets were elliptical in shape and not circular. And his three laws of planetary motion are still used by contemporary astronomers and space scientists.

The author focuses not just on these and other momentous breakthroughs but also on Kepler’s arduous life, punctuated by frequent tragedy and hardships. His first wife died young, and eight of the twelve children he fathered succumbed to disease in infancy or childhood. He was frequently caught up in the religious persecutions of the day. His mother narrowly escaped death when she was accused of being a witch.

Intermingling historical and personal details of Kepler’s life with lucid explanations of his scientific research, this book presents a sympathetic portrait of the man and underscores the critical importance of Kepler’s discoveries in the history of astronomy.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781633881068

Genres: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Quantum Physics, Science


Published by Prometheus Books

on 10th November, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 255

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Available Formats: Hardcover and Ebook

About David K. Love

David K. Love

David K. Love is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society and holds a BSc honors degree in astronomy from University College London. After a career as an accountant at British Telecom, he took early voluntary retirement to pursue his scientific interests and writing. He lectures frequently on the history of astronomy and on the origins and evolution of our universe.

Listen to the author on a podcast about Kepler and the Universe

Converse via: #Kepler, #Space, #Astronomy + #ScienceBooks

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Posted Monday, 8 August, 2016 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, #JorieLovesIndies, 16th Century, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosmology, Johannes Kepler, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Popular Astronomy, Prometheus Books, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Science, Space Science

Cover Reveal | A *new!* #HistFic trilogy by Tracey Warr kicks off this October! The #Conquest Trilogy is set in the Medieval Ages in the Anglo-Norman kingdom!

Posted Friday, 29 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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If your a regular reader or frequent visitor of Jorie Loves A Story, you might have seen my review for my first EPIC Historical novel published by Impress Books (UK) this week entitled: Almodis: The Peaceweaver! This novel marked my introduction to the historical crafting style of Impress Books authors and the impressive layer of breadth Ms Warr knits inside her historical fiction! I originally crossed paths with the publisher on Twitter in late 2015, whilst finding the novels of Ms Warr, as I quite seriously have a penchant for well-conceived historical stories set during eras of time I am keenly interested in visiting through literature!

Originally this reveal was scheduled for August, however, as we all know time schedules in publishing are fluid and I was thankful I was online this morning to catch the missive the publicist sent me in order to help spread the news now rather than await my tour stop to share my ruminations!

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I love going back to the author’s origins, especially to read their debut release as a good foundation to understand their approach to writing their collective works. I was most impressed by the layered realism and intricate attention to detail whilst building a strong level of grounding for the back-story of Almodis as well. Thus, I am thrilled to announce I am a part of the upcoming blog tour for the #Conquest series featuring this novel which sets off the pace for the trilogy!

Warr has constructed such an intricate plot around Almodis, as her fate is mirror to Guinevere in some ways, as neither woman could fully believe they were being deceived at every turn. Almodis had a servant working against her and a second marriage optioned to her to increase her brother’s steed of wealth and power. She was being used and taken by men, without any consideration for how this might affect her psychological well-being or her very spirit as a woman who had always believed in the purpose of her role as a wife and mother. She had a sharpened mind which caught her a few breaks along the way, without which she might not have fared as well as she did. Except to say, it was not without it’s hurdles.

The fact Almodis’s story is living history is a testament to the imagination of Tracey Warr who presented her life in such a fashion as to encourage us to draw closer to her journey towards ruling land, home and her mind with such an intricate understanding for order. I agree with Warr, this is definitely a story that played out well in a historical narrative, as there are such far reaching scenarios to understand what happened between her marriages, the births of her children and how everything knitted together in the end where different children took over the original three regions which were always succumbing to war. She wasn’t just the weaver of peace for her generation but for multi-generations down through her descendants as the works she accomplished whilst she was alive remained a living memory of who she was whilst she dared to entrust herself to live authentically towards the honour she felt she was always bestowed to upheld.

-quoted from my review of Almodis: The Peaceweaver

As you can see, I love how Warr is able to write-in the moments of a lost era where we not only can visually conceptionalise that particular part of a living history (as Almodis is Biograhpical Historical Fiction based on the life of a real person) but she etches out the fuller scope of that generations layers of place, time and setting. It’s a fully realised immersion into a hidden corridor of history that is such a pleasure to read as you become wholly absorbed by Warr’s vision and her understanding of her characters’ lives to such a degree, you feel like you’ve lived through their heartaches & the journey it took them to find their own levels of success as they fought against the tides of tradition.

Having been properly introduced to her writing style so wondrously tied to her knack for research, I was beyond elated to be in a position to continue to read her stories, starting with the #Conquest trilogy!

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Posted Friday, 29 July, 2016 by jorielov in 11th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, British Literature, Early Middle Ages [the Dark Ages] (1001-1300), France, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Impress Books, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Jorie found the Publisher on Twitter, Life Shift, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Siblings, Spain, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Writing Style & Voice

Book Review | “Almodis: The Peaceweaver” by Tracey Warr My first EPIC historical novel from Impress Books!

Posted Wednesday, 27 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Impress Books (from the UK), as I found Impress Books at the conclusion of [2015] and have been blessed to start reviewing for them. I crossed paths with one of their publicists on Twitter and started a convo about the historical novels of Tracey Warr. This led me to ask if they would consider a book blogger stateside to review her stories and thankfully my enquiry was well-timed as Warr has a new series launching in 2016! I look forward to hosting their authors (either for review or guest features) and finding well-researched stories of convicting historical story-lines in the process.

I received a complimentary copy of “Almodis: The Peaceweaver” direct from the publisher Impress Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What initially drew my eye to read Almodis:

I love EPIC Historical dramas – especially the ones where your being treated to an unknown chapter of history you’ve yet to visit properly! The 11th Century is one of my under-read centuries of interest and when it comes to the locale for this novel (Languedoc) I’ve visited this setting previously in the war drama that crushed my soul: Citadel. I entreated inside the Early Middle Ages previously when I read Illuminations, wherein I was so distraught for Hildegard’s plight, I was thankful her story had a bit of restitution at it’s conclusion. By the time I re-visited this part of the Middle Ages in Camelot’s Queen, I had noted how guttingly difficult the Medieval Ages were overall.

I am drawn to fiercely strong female protagonists in historical fiction narratives – this has been true throughout my wanderings in literature for the past three years I’ve been blogging my bookish life. Inasmuch as it held true as a reader who sought out one wicked good read after another that would bring the gravity of historical perspectives through a living spirit of a character you felt you could emphatically respond too outright.

When I first read the synopsis for this novel, I was struck by several things all at once: the centreing of the timescape by Warr, the determined grit of her lead character Almodis and the conviction of proving to everyone that you can carve out your own destiny, even if others around you are not as easily convinced your living in an era where a woman can choose her own path to walk. The backdrop of war felt fitting for the era, as most of the early centuries were torn by war and by power re-alignments to such a madding level of frequency, it’s curious how anyone felt any measure of peace to simply ‘live their lives’ without a cloud of fear looming over them; especially to see if war would touch them directly.

Going into my readings, I was wicked happy to be reading a well-researched and well-thought out portion of the historical past, as evidenced by Warr’s approach to conceive this story but also, how she aligned her vision by the way her story is laid out inside the novel itself. I also had in the back of mind the notion that before I could address her newest novels (the Conquest series), I wanted to pull back time and retreat inside the debut novel that set the tone and score of everything that would come lateron.

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Book Review | “Almodis: The Peaceweaver” by Tracey Warr My first EPIC historical novel from Impress Books!Almodis
Subtitle: The Peaceweaver
by Tracey Warr
Source: Direct from Publisher

"Some say Almodis was a serpent, a scandal, a whore. They say wrong."

After generations of fighting amongst the ruling families of eleventh-century Occitania, the marriage of Almodis de la Marche to Hugh of Lusignan is intended to bring peace and harmony to the region. But at a time when a noblewoman's purpose is to produce heirs, Almodis resolves to create her own dynasty.

Almodis' path to power and happiness is fraught with drama. Having escaped her marriage blanc to God-fearing Hugh, she weds the lascivious Pons of Toulouse and takes over the administration of the great city. However, his distrust leaves him plotting to imprison her at a nunnery. Fearing for her life, Almodis flees in the dead of night - the young, gallant Count of Barcelona might be her one chance, if only he wasn't betrothed to another...

Intrigue, forbidden love and murder underpin this extraordinary story based upon the life of a real medieval countess, whose children went on to rule southern France and northern Spain.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781907605093

Also by this author: Conquest: Daughter of the Last King Cover Reveal, Conquest: Daughter of the Last King Cover Reveal

Genres: Biographical Fiction, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Impress Books

on 12th October, 2011

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 345

Published by: Impress Books (@ImpressBooks1)

Formats Available: Hardcover & Ebook

Warr’s second novel was The Viking Hostage (Book Synopsis) | Pub Date: 1st September, 2014

Warr’s upcoming NEW RELEASE is the 1st novel of the Conquest series:

Daughter of the Last King (Book Synopsis) | #PubDay is 1st September, 2016

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistRom

About Tracey Warr

Tracey Warr

Tracey Warr is a writer based in Wales and France, and has published novels and books on contemporary art. She was Senior Lecturer, teaching and researching on art history and theory of the 20th and 21st centuries, at Oxford Brookes University, Bauhaus University and Dartington College of Arts.

Her first novel, Almodis: The Peaceweaver (Impress, 2011), is set in 11th century France and Spain, and was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Fiction and the Rome Film Festival Book Initiative and received a Santander Research Award. Her second historical novel, The Viking Hostage (Impress, 2014), is set in 10th century France and Wales.

She received a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary for work on her new trilogy, Conquest , set in 12th century Wales, England and Normandy. She received an Authors Foundation Award from the Society of Authors for work on a biography of three medieval sisters, entitled Three Female Lords. She is also working on a new historical novel featuring a 12th century female troubadour in Toulouse, and on a future fiction novel set in the debatable territory of a river estuary, between water and land, in the 22nd century.

Her writing on contemporary artists has been published by Phaidon, Merrell, Black Dog, Palgrave, Manchester University Press. Her latest art publication is Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (Ashgate, 2015). She reviews for Times Higher Education, Historical Novels Review and New Welsh Review.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 27 July, 2016 by jorielov in 11th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Castles & Estates, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Early Middle Ages [the Dark Ages] (1001-1300), Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Impress Books, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Jorie found the Publisher on Twitter, Life Shift, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Monastery, Monk, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Religious Orders, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Spain, Spontaneous Convos Inspired by Book, Twin Siblings, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Writing Style & Voice