Category: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

+Blog Book Tour+ Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani A war drama as lived through the courage of a woman re-defining her position in a man’s world.

Posted Tuesday, 26 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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 Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani

Published By: All Classics Books, an imprint of American Book Incorporated
(aka American Book Publishing, a defunct publisher)(author is actively seeking a new publisher)
Official Author Websites:  Site | Maggie’s Wars on Facebook | @PhilPisani1

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

{I found the Trade Paperback available on}

Converse via: #MaggiesWars

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Maggie’s Wars” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the author Phil Pisani, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Due to personal issues arising from self-hosting my book blog (Jorie Loves A Story) within the 24 hours ahead of my stop last Friday, the 22nd of August. I am posting my book review post-tour instead, and am grateful for the understanding of the author Mr. Pisani, of whom I spoke to on Twitter the day of my original tour scheduled stop.

Inspired to Read:

I have percolated my keen interest (and most dearest desire, mind you!) in vintage typewriters ever so often on my blog, and within the links (of which are temporarily ‘missing’ from my sidebar) threaded on my blog I have left a curious little nudge of this passion left within the mentions of ‘The Typosphere’ and all things geekily befit a girl bent on owning a retrofitted (vintage) typewriter from the 1930s-1940s. I have the mind of finding a workhorse (one so powerful the happy merriment of clacking away on my own manuscripts will not put it into an earlier grave) and one wherein only the occasional missive could be typed out for a friend. I daresay, once I start ‘growing’ my collection I’ll most likely be one of those lovely souls I see in ‘type-in’ photographs whose sporting a variety of machines, and letting everyone write-off a note to a friend of theirs to mail by post.

Part of what encouraged my interest in this particular novel, was not merrily the cover-art sporting a curious shot of a typewriter, but the very synopsis of it; of finding a wicked strong female character charging into a life bourne of men and a long honoured past of service where peers are not easy to come by and where a backbone of tenacity is commonplace! I am referring to the trade of journalism, and the strong boiled grit of any woman who wants to take-on a field so rife and known for being for men and men alone. I love stories where women are shown as not only courageous but trail-blazing forerunners for everyone else who rises after them in successive generations. I, also, happen to have a particular fondness for journalism – albeit in fictional stories, and most especially the newspaper trade! Mostly I have come to find stories in motion picture that whet my fancy of interest (i.e. “The Paper” starring Marisa Tomei & Michael Keaton; “One Fine Day” starring Michelle Pfeiffer & George Clooney; and of course, “I Love Trouble” starring Julia Roberts”. I also fancy classic films like “His Girl Friday” starring Rosalind Russell & Cary Grant and “It Happened One Night” starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.) yet there are a few novels I have found as well over the years. One in particular was part of a series, but the publisher went under before the series could alight and find its footing. A bit sad on that note, as the lead character was a typing secretary with her own portable typewriter by which she travelled with job to job. Loved the premise and the fact she solved cosies as she typed or rather stumbled upon murderous circumstances made it even lovelier.

I have always wanted to seek out more story-lines in fiction, told by authors and settled inside the bounded pages of novels; the stories my mind is so fanciful to watch on film. Seeing an excerpt of this novel prior to electing to participate in the blog tour sealed the initial joy I had in reading the synopsis. Even seeing Maggie for a few short paragraphs, I knew I wanted to spend time with the feisty blonde who dared to carve out a path where most women would not have dared to walk! And, if typewriters were involved, ooh, all the more reason to dive into the heart of the novel! Dare I say, if she were a redhead Maureen O’ Hara would have played her on camera!

+Blog Book Tour+ Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani A war drama as lived through the courage of a woman re-defining her position in a man’s world.Maggie's Wars
by Phil Pisani
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Combatting wars on two fronts – one of fame and the other love – Maggie Hogan never wavers as a rare woman reporter on the battlefields of World War II, the Nuremburg Trials and the beginnings of the cold war. But she makes the mistake of falling for an officer, complicating her ambitions. Learn of what one woman feels she must do in order to make it in a man’s world, no matter what. Maggie’s Wars is a story about the ultimate battle between love and prestige, and how you can’t win them both.

Places to find the book:

Series: Maggie's Wars,

Genres: Historical Fiction, Military Fiction, War Drama

Published by All Classics Books, American Book Incorporated

on 6th November, 2013

Pages: 232

Author Biography:

Phil Pisani grew up on the north side of the railroad tracks in an upstate New York blue-collar industrial town in a rough neighborhood filled with the most colorful characters in the world. Factory and tannery workers mingled with bar and restaurant owners, gamblers and gangsters, good people and bad people, brash rogues and weak loudmouths, all spawned by the early immigrant movement to America. Italians, Russians, Slovacks, Irish, and Germans formed a rough and tough section of town where few from the south side dared to venture. He learned to fight at a very young age, both in the ring and on the streets. Fights became badges of honor. He also was a voracious reader. His mother worked in the village’s library. After school, or fights or sandlot football games he would curl away into the adult reading section. Enjoying the polished blonde oak bookshelves, tables and chairs, he would choose a book from the stacks and delve into its smells and contents. Reading soothed him.

He studied history and humanities in Pisa, Italy, and Oswego State in New York and later earned a MA in Political Science from Binghamton University.

He worked as a labor investigator for NY and rose in the ranks through the years but never stopped writing or reading. He currently lives in Albany NY, with his wife Joanne.

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Inserting yourself into a field wrought of men:

Maggie has more gumption than most women her age, older, or younger combined – she has the forthwith and stalwart attitude of never backing down when your in the right, and bending the conventional roles as far as she dared to re-direct them! She solidified in her own heart and mind, the will of a working woman in an age of war and with the determined grit to realise she was not going to be happy within a traditional role; expected by her suitors to take-on. No, Maggie was the rare breed of women whose bliss was attached to the hip of the adventure she was embracing, the pulse of the news breaking before her eyes, and the danger of being in a moment of raw horror. She took the courage in her veins to heighten her awareness of the living environment around her, as much as she credited her initial responses to living horror as a surviving method of acknowledgement as a reporter. To distance herself yet contain herself in the emotional angst all the while reporting the news with a modicum of sensibility and tact.

The callus way the men in her field short-change her abilities and throw her darts at her gender only further inspire her fire to be stoked inside her belly. To refute their sneers and vocal jabs by keeping her head bent on the assignment and her heart outside of swaths of emotional angst.

My Review of Maggie’s Wars:

typewriterThe Preface of Maggie’s Wars held within its simplicity an inspiring nod towards how serendipitously our lifepaths can unfold before us, and within the observations of where our feet have taken us a measure of kismet is always alongside the hopeful dreams we cast into the cosmos. A beautiful soliloquy of one woman’s fond remembrance of where her past led her into her future, and it was such a wonderful way to begin the story! By the time you enter into the first chapter, your quite aware of the author’s knitted style of giving breath to the craft of story-telling; allowing a fluidity of his lead character Maggie to overtake your senses, endear your heart, and ignite your imagination with a clarity of her driven passion for the life she’s lived. It is in the way he chooses to write in her observations, the manner of her speech, and the ticking nod of her essence, as she starts to bloom alive on the page. I knew from the moment I turnt page 2 I was in for a sweet surprise of narrative, underlit by a light of a joyful narrating current of story inked out of the author’s pen.

By page 15, I was curling into a smile, knowing exactly what was drawing my eye further into the story at such a fast clip: Pisani has written a war drama in the style and favour of a classic movie! Almost as if the characters and the setting were set behind one of the classical story arcs caught on camera, and your nestled in for the duration, popcorn a finger grasp away and eyes absorbing everything in as though your seeing this style of film for the first time. His approach to the craft is one that I appreciate, as he gently glides you into the world where Maggie has alighted; the cross-hairs between choosing a life of a reporter and the traditional route as a wife. She lingers over the choice until her room-mate Flora points out the obvious nature of her character. Flora is the classic best friend you want to room with whilst your living on your salt in Greenrich.

I only snuck a cursory glimpse at a review on this novel posted by a friend of mine (Erin @ Oh for the Hook of a Book), and it was at this passage of time I understand the words which lifted into my focus ‘he wrote a novel befit a noir motion picture’ or perhaps it was worded differently but the meaning was the same! Noir, oh, my yes, and how pleasantly I was to be surprised by this realisation! Generally speaking, Erin & I have the propensity to appreciate the same authors, novels, and styles of literary voice. Her reviews (like those of Audra @ Unabridged Chick) are always a delight to dissolve into after or even before, I’ve picked up the book myself! On this particular instance, I was saving my visits until afterwards,… as I sometimes do.

Maggie’s moxie of proving her worth as a reporter early-on whilst attempting to nail the coveted interview with Madame Chiang Kai-shek, murmured a stir of a memory of another strong-willed woman I always loved watching a fire light inside her eyes; the character of Tess (portrayed by Melanie Griffith) in Working Girl. Defining the role you’re given and taking it a step further is the making of any character who bends convention and attempts to supersede away from the norm. Pisani stitched in just enough moxie into Maggie to already know what her contemporary Tess would have told her: don’t wait for the story, go out and get the story! I love her ingenuity and her eagle eye observations on the politico world of New York City!

There is an undercurrent connection to organised crime as Maggie’s heart is attached to a curious cat known as Johnny Pero, er, Stone rather as he prefers to be called. She wasn’t flummoxed by this bit of information but rather guessed it herself yet respected him enough not to draw out an enquiry. He, on the other hand was bewildered by his feelings for this woman he first caught sight of on the street – back when she was first attempting to land a job at the coveted Trib; a journalist dream starting gate. Their two paths crossed at times in their lives where forging a relationship wasn’t quite optimal. His connections to organised crime and the exploits of his role inside the family therein are explained in full as you read Johnny’s perspective of the events as they unfolded. This is where Pisani makes a good choice in first revealing Maggie’s life from her own point-of-view before re-visiting it again from Johnny’s. He keeps the scenes tempered a bit, giving out the raw details but holding back just enough to where you get the gist and sometimes even more than that, but he doesn’t cross the line. I appreciated the honesty and the fact that despite knowing Johnny’s actions were outright unlawful, the man had a conscience.

As Maggie & Johnny equally started to have their fill of the war on the front lines, both started to question their motivations on going there at all. Maggie was high on the thirst for getting ‘the story’ — blinded by ambition and a zest for danger, she was absolutely clueless to understand what the she would witness in reality. Johnny on the other hand was forced into serving on a special unit, placing his life and his comrades on dangerous grounds the entire time he served. Pisani remains true to etching in the humanity of the story, the undertone is always focused on the hope even in the middle of the darkness of the battlefield. The story ends on the wings of a cliffhanger, as I have a feeling the story is not yet done. The saddest part of the novel is the knowledge that both Johnny and Maggie ended up being pawns for other people whose goals went against the logics of humanity.

On the writing style of Phil Pisani | a classic story-teller of the war era:

Pisani has written a war drama intermingled with an organised crime family angle that gives new definition to the offerings inside historical fiction overall. He draws you into this close-centered world of crime, drama, city politics, and the interior life of a button man on the job. Maggie happens to be the woman who draws the eye of the gangster without his realisation of how that would effect both their lives; their paths start to merge together even though both are not willing to commit. Pisani handles both of their characters with a grace and ease, he is honest and upfront about Johnny’s nefarious dealings in the neighbourhood (if your familiar with Mario Puzo, especially The Last Don; none of these sequences will be unfamiliar) as much as he counter-balances his life on the outskirts of society by giving him a chance to meet someone he never felt he could compliment.

The tone of the novel is underpinned by the desires of Maggie to prove her salt and worth as a reporter in a field as much as it is a juxtaposition of Johnny’s life on the streets and at war. Neither of them realised what they would be getting into once their agreed for their own reasons to be shipped overseas, and it is the drama of how they live through and what they gain back tenfold in experience and maturity that makes the story an enjoyable read. The fact that Pisani is creative with how he chooses his characters to ‘express’ themselves gave me a smile, as this is one question I am always quick to ask any writer who chooses to take the opposite route. This story is enjoyable because although a stronger word or two might be implied, it is how Pisani knits their personality through the words he uses that left me full of appreciation. And, the few times a word might have been used was very well placed.

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Blog Book Tour Stop,
courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Road Map of “Maggie’s Wars” Blog Tour found here:
I recommend this novel for anyone who loves reading Kate Mosse!
(review of ‘Citadel’)

Maggie's Wars Virtual Tour via HFVBTs

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and mark your calendars!

Reader Interactive Question:

What pulls you inside the narrative of a war drama the most!? This one was quite a unique story overall, as it the main point of view exchanges between the two lead characters; at times overlapping and conjoining to become one. I appreciated this style of story-telling as it added extra layers of depth and meaning. Which perspective do you prefer!? First person or two interchanging points of view like this one!?

{SOURCES: “Maggie’s Wars” Book Cover, synopsis, tour badge and HFVBT badge were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and were used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Typewriter clipart inserted through the ClipArt Plug-In via WP for the Open Clip Art Library (OCAL) – all clip art images are in the public domain and are free to use without restrictions. Tweets embeded by codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Maggie’s Wars”:

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Comments via Twitter:

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

Posted Tuesday, 26 August, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cliffhanger Ending, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Espionage, Film Music Book Typewriter Focus, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Military Fiction, New York City, Organised Crime, Passionate Researcher, Psychological Suspense, The World Wars, Typewriter Culture, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment

+Blog Book Tour+ East India by Colin Falconer

Posted Friday, 15 August, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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East India Blog Tour via HFVBTs

East India by Colin Falconer

Author Connections: Facebook | Blog

Converse on Twitter: #EastIndiaBlogTour
OR Tweet @Colin_Falconer

Published by: Cool Gus Publishing (@CoolGusPub), 8 July, 2014 | Page Count: 314
Available Format: Paperback | E-book 

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “East India” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by HFVBT, in which I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Cool Gus Publishing in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Reason I felt compelled to Read:

I previously read: Isabella: Braveheart of France whilst it was on tour with HFVBTs, however I did not make a strong connection to the narrative voice nor the content therein. I always give authors the benefit of the doubt when I first pick up a novel by them where I felt disconnected; as it could simply be that that one particular story-line was not one I could soak into. This is why I always keep my mind open to re-examining a novel by an author I previously did not connect with directly and/or felt that perhaps either the style of their story-telling might not have been the best fit for me as well. We’re all individual readers, and our approach into stories is as varied as the seven seas, but when I read the premise of this particular selection, I found at the heart of East India were two classic story-telling elements that I instantly can connect with: high seas epics intermixed with adventure! I previously adored Close to the Wind by Zana Bell and The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden, hence why I felt perhaps with this vein of narrative, I might find a connection with Colin Falconer’s style of historical fiction.

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Book Synopsis:

In any other circumstance but shipwreck, rape and murder, a man like Michiel van Texel would never have East India by Colin Falconermet a fine lady such as Cornelia Noorstrandt.

He was just a soldier, a sergeant in the Dutch East India company’s army, on his way from Amsterdam to the Indies to fight the Mataram. Such a woman was far above the likes of him.

But both their destinies intertwine far away from Holland, on some god-forsaken islands near the Great Southland. When their great ship, the Utrecht, founders far from home, surviving the Houtman Rocks is the least of their worries.

As they battle to survive and the bravest and the best reveal themselves for what they are, Cornelia’s only hope is a mercenary in a torn coat who shows her that a man is more than just manners and money.

He makes her one promise: ‘Even if God forsakes you, I will find you.’

But can he keep it?

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India will keep you wondering until the final page.

Author Biography:

Colin FalconerBorn in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s blog . You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.


Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA high seas epic adventure:

Falconer presents the cast of his story well as when you first open the pages of East India, you are brought full circle and center into each of the different character’s lives you are going to become fully acquainted with by the end of the story. What I appreciated was having a modern spin of focus at the opening, where you learn of how some of the main characters befell in death rather than in life; as the opening sequence is a forensic archaeological dig site, uncovering the skeletal remains of one of the key blokes of the story itself. I have a penchant for murder mysteries, and this non-traditional opening gave me a bit of insight as to the full scope of where the novel might take me over its course of being told. I liked how he kept the details simple yet telling in their depth of what was being revealed on the dig site itself. It left a curious taste of suspense, as to whether or not this story had more to share than first realised.

He paints the picture quite grim, as the conditions of tall ships and sailing great distances during centuries past is a well-documented living hell for those who dared to live and die by the sea. The rations of food being dispensed before land is seen again and the living squalor of having to deal with unsanitary refuse of living in tight quarters without ventilation and proper means of disposing of waste. Within this space of his narrative, he breathes a bit of light into how not all the men on the ship are hardened by their life’s work nor are they blind to how to best treat the gentler few who travel amongst them. The only bit that I denoted might have been a bit obvious was giving the captain a garnishing of brutish vile attributes, as that felt a bit cliche to me, but aside from that, I was caught up in the life above and below deck.

My Review of East India:

What stood out to me about East India is the energy Falconer stitched into the story, as he starts the novel off on a high note of intrigue, where a divide of class are brought together for the intention of leaving Holland in order to reach the Far East. A motley mix of everyday citizens, soldiers, and crew for the ship itself by which they are sailing are compelled to learn to live with one another for a sailing that will last nearly six months to reach their final destination. Each of them facing conditions that are riddled with strife for anyone taking to the high seas during that period of sea travel, as it was not the best of conditions aboard ship with the volatile seas churning against the ship itself provided the most arduous adaption for a person’s constitution, but it was also in how for a swallowing of time your entire world is confined to quarters and a few merciful glimpses of the deck.

I personally liked the interaction between Cornelia and two of the serving members of the crew, one is a soldier named Michiel van Texel and one is a Commander Ambrose Secor. Her fortitude of spirit to reach her husband currently settled in the East Indies enables her forward to transition through her own personal fears of leaving behind her country and the only life she knew whilst she was there. I like how her character is honestly written, including how she breaks her society’s etiquette by forging a bond with the two men as a way to not only give her hours a bit of worth, but to give her spirit a sense of connection outside the blight of her present circumstances.

Unfortunately for me, before I even went half-way into the novel I found myself in a bit of a quandary, as the vulgar aspects of the text were turning my mind against the story rather than merely showing a gruffness of the characters who live and die by their honour living on the sea. It was harder to shake off the choices Falconer was making to convey the darker pieces of the character’s souls against the thread of the story which interested me the most: the interactions Cornelia was having with Commander Secor and Texel. I decided for myself personally, I could not finish this novel as I simply did not want to even consider what might come next in the dialogue or narrative sequences. I think the writings of Colin Falconer are better suited to a reader who does not mind a rough approach to telling a story and for inclusion of passages that are more starkly raw in their contentions of narrative thought. I, personally appreciate an approach similar to the stories I mentioned earlier as to being of my liking.

On the writing style of Colin Falconer:

I’ve read two stories by this author now, and although the first disappointed me, this one held my attention to a certain point. His personal style of creating short chapters and cunning narrative within the short space of where each chapter begins and ends works for this particular story, as he is giving you just enough knowledge of where the characters are and where they need to be next to satisfy the curiosity you have as you read. I did not notice this to be jolting as I had originally with Isabella, as I rather noticed instead that the pace for me felt more tangible and true in East India. Except to say, in the end, I did feel disappointed as the momentum I felt when I began the novel ended up being dissolved by turns of phrase and descriptive choices that simply did not sit well with me visually.

Fly in the Ointment:

I did add the tag for Vulgarity in Literature, but blessedly, the occurrences are few and far between, although given the time and era of the novel, the brutish and disrespect for women aboard ship was par for course. However, the main reason I flagged this as a novel that twitched my brow a bit is the method of delivery and the insinuations that followed the stronger words of choice. There are various ways to approach language and supposition of where said language can take a reader whilst it is used to convey different emotions and actions per use. However, I do draw the straw a bit towards what I’m willing to read and what I am willing to accept. There are a few instances inside East India, where I felt a line was crossed or could have been better abated by a different choice of visual imagery.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comVirtual Road Map for
“East India” Blog Tour:

East India Blog Tour via HFVBTs

Be sure to scope out my

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 to mark your calendars!!
As well as to see which events I will be hosting with:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Book Synopsis, Author Biography, and Book Cover of “East India” were provided by HFVBT and were used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

Posted Friday, 15 August, 2014 by jorielov in 17th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Arranged Marriages in Royalty, Blog Tour Host, East India Company, Edward II, Fly in the Ointment, France, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Late Middle Ages (1300-1500)

+Book Review+ Tempesta’s Dream: A story of Love, Friendship, & Opera by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

Posted Monday, 21 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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Tempesta’s Dream: A Story of Love, Friendship, & Opera by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

Tempesta's Dream Virtual Blog Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Cefalutana Press,26 September, 2013
Official Author Websites: Site | @VincentBLoCoco| Blog
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook Page Count: 264

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Tempesta’s Dream” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Tempesta's Dream by Vincent B. LoCoco Book Synopsis:

Tempesta’s Dream is the story of an aspiring opera singer coming of age in Milan; a tender and moving love story; a testament to the bonds of friendship; and, at its core, a tribute to the beauty, majesty and miracle of opera.

Giovanni Tempesta always dreamed of becoming an opera tenor and one day singing from the stage of the La Scala Opera House in his hometown of Milan, Italy. But with no real training, his dream has little chance for fulfillment . . . One day, he meets and immediately falls in love with Isabella Monterone, a dark-haired beauty, whose father, a very rich and powerful Milanese Judge, refuses to allow his daughter to date a penniless musician . . . At the lowest part of his life, Giovanni comes upon the Casa di Riposo, a rest home for musicians established by the great opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi . . . It is at the Casa Verdi that Giovanni meets Alfredo del Monte, a blind, retired opera singer with a secretive past who gradually becomes his mentor . . . Could Alfredo be the one person who could assist Giovanni in finding the break he needs? Or is Giovanni destined to be on the cusp of reaching his life long dream, only to find failure? . . . Tempesta’s Dream, at its core, is an Italian opera love story. The author tells the story simply and swiftly with an ending that is both an emotional and poignant moment of both “amicizia e amore” (friendship and love.)

Author Biography:

Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco

Chip LoCoco was born and raised in New Orleans. He is an attorney, with an emphasis on estate planning. A lifelong lover of music, Chip’s passion for opera dates back many years now. He has seen operas all over the world at some of the greatest opera houses. Chip has been asked to give talks on opera as well as the Sicilian-American culture of New Orleans.

Chip’s second novel, Bellafortuna, has been named a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition. A date for publication has not been set yet for his second novel.

Chip is married to his wife of 15 years, Wendy. They have two children, Matthew and Ellie and a beagle, named Scout. They reside in their beloved city of New Orleans, where if you try to find them on a Sunday in the Fall, they will be somewhere rooting on their Saints.


On the Revelations within the Author’s Note:

The author and I share a mutual thread of heritage and passion for music — as I was raised in a very artistic minded home, where art, culture, and music flourished. My grandparents had a particular interest in Japanese art and music, whereas my parents introduced me to Native American culture, religion, and art, as much as a definitive zest for classical music and compositions. On this level, my favourite ‘music’ as a child were actual motion picture soundtracks, specifically not the ‘pop’ track versions, the ‘scores’, by such conductors as John Williams. The 1812 overture was an especially keen favourite but that goes to the root of my patriotic birthright. I listened to a heap of ‘singles’ on vinyl editions, which gave me the propensity as an adult to seek out traditional record shoppes and restore my fever of excitement over collecting not only ‘new’ limited releases but the older classics from the early 20th Century straight through to classical opera.

Attending symphonies and orchestra performances is what lent my ear to listening to opera – in the traditional sense, the modern band versions, and of course rock opera from the theatrical stage! I love how music can evoke such an emotional connection and stir our souls into an elevated experience of heart, mind, and spirit. Music reaches us on a different level than vocalised speech, as it speaks directly to who we are past our humanity. Reading about the author’s own past growing up in a creative and spirited environment which celebrated the arts, most specifically the focus on music in its most classical forms, gave me a renewed belief that there are others out there who lived a similar life to my own. I had to nod in agreement with him about how there are differences between our childhoods and this modern world we are living in which tends to eradicate the traditional arts, cultural experiences, and musical traditions that have sustained the world for millennia. Yet I have started to seen a renewed interest in not only re-attributing the old world arts and crafts, but to give a new appreciation for the classical arts as a whole. This positive step forward renews my own heart and soul on the matter, as life without music (or any of the classical arts & crafts) is a life without a creative lifeblood cast onto the wings of our spirits.

I appreciated hearing about the conversations and visitations he had with Mrs. Cellini as it gave a personal glimpse into his writing life that not every writer shares with his readership. I like hearing snippets of where research takes writers on their discovery and journey as they research their novels. This gave an added dimension to the spirit he wove into the text and for that he had my appreciation!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

Posted Monday, 21 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Composer, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Italy, Life in Another Country, Life Shift, Lyrical Quotations, Mental Health, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, New Orleans, Opera History, Opera Singers, Star-Crossed Lovers

+Book Review+ Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner : A #histfic coming-of age story!

Posted Friday, 18 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

 Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner

Go Away Home Virtual Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Rising Sun Press, 1 July, 2014
Official Author Websites:
Site | @CABodensteiner| Facebook | GoodReads | LinkedIn

Available Formats: Paperback Page Count: 382

Converse on Twitter: #GoAwayHome, #GoAwayHomeBlogTour, & #HFVBTBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Go Away Home” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Rising Sun Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner Book Synopsis:

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.

Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.

GO AWAY HOME is a coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

Author Biography:Carol Bodensteiner

Carol Bodensteiner grew up in the heartland of the United States, and she continues to draw writing inspiration from the people, places, culture, and history of the area. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, a memoir. Her essays have been published in several anthologies. Go Away Home is her first novel.


Mid-West America : Americana as a setting:

I grew up reading a heap of Children’s Literature and Classical Literature for Young Readers which dealt with the Heartland of America, as much as the life on the frontier whilst America was just starting to sprout wings as settlers moved further West from the East. I also was fortunate to settle into stories which developed a positive outlook and relationship of the Native American tribes between Canada and America; not always focusing on the war between the settlers and the Indians, but rather stories which enriched the notion that oft-times a truce of peace and an alliance in trade was able to be transacted. What always fascinated me by the hearty life of ranching and farming, is the ordinary joys that whispered into the hearts and minds of those who lived aplenty off the land they worked, harvested, and grew families upon. Even in Native American cultures and societies there was a pure sense of honour and pride knowing that what you could either hunt or grow could not only sustain your own family but your neighbours and community.

My own ancestral roots include farmers and workers for civil rights and liberties, which is why I was thankful to see Aunt Kate and her suffrage movement work included in this particular story. The quality of food from farm to fork (or plate; there are two ready phrases in use nowadays) cannot be compared to industrial methods, and I am happily a locavore and have been for most of my days. The convenience of purchasing locally grown foods in places outside larger cities is still a means to an end to achieve, but the idea of lowering our footprint and supporting local farmers is at the core of my being. The best way to impact the economy is in direct support of local producers of food, commerce, and supplies. I also appreciate settling into stories where there is an ‘other age’ quality to the story-telling, where life was not bent against the wheel towards working one’s soul into an early grave, but rather, the work which was done was in effort to create a better living for yourself and those you took care of. To give industry to the hours of daylight and mirth to the hours that waxed into the moon.

Communication was limited (for the most part) to postal mail – letters and the correspondences exchanged between family and friends alike was not only a convenience but a lifeline built between everyone. In my own childhood, I came to appreciate the joy of sending and receiving letters quite readily; a tradition that I carry forward today. My eyes always glisten with a bit of eager happiness when a writer includes samples or full passages of the ‘letters’ being sent back and forth between their characters. In Go Away Home, the letters are warm reminders of how special a connection is to be kept and how dear the conversation is to those who send and receive postal mail.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

Posted Friday, 18 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Bread Making, Child out of Wedlock, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Iowa, Locavore, Mid-West America, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Prior to WWI, Sewing & Stitchery, Siblings, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The House of Elliott, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Suffrage

+Author Guest Post+ Writer of “Go Away Home”, Carol Bodensteiner talks about where she found her inspiration for creating the story!

Posted Thursday, 17 July, 2014 by jorielov , 0 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Carol Bodensteiner

Proposed Topic: The underscore of the novel is relating directly to the life choices each individual makes as we grow-up, and yet, not always an easy topic to write about as sometimes people have to make a harder choice which leads them back to family, their childhood home, or a place they weren’t expecting to find themselves. How did you originate the idea behind Liddie Treadway!? Was it partly inspired by a real person, either known in your own family’s history or one you came across whilst conducting research? What drew you into Liddie’s story to impart her onto readers?

One of the blessings I have always appreciated as a book blogger is having the opportunity to host authors as Special Guests on my blog! They give me such keen insight into their novels, a bit of their writer’s process, and the light of joy in their inspiring paths they take towards having their stories in printed form, that I am always fascinated and thrilled to feature a new author I have been enjoying the pleasure of knowing a bit better. In this particular case, what happily surprised me about having learnt the back-story on “Go Away Home” is that the author herself, quite literally ‘went back home” and found the inspiration of her story! I have oft mentioned my delight and joy in researching my own ancestral past, and like Ms. Bodensteiner I am generally left a bit bereft in having lost the true details of how my grandfathers and grandmothers stories truly knit together and occupied their living days.

Let me now present Ms. Bodensteiner and

give you the lovely insight into this historical novel

I was so happy to read about myself:

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner Book Synopsis:

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.

Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.

GO AWAY HOME is a coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.


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}: The story behind her novel,

& how her grandfather inspired her to create it :{

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Is that a good choice?

“What if you choose wrong?” Liddie looked to her father.

“Then you make a new decision.” G.W. tapped the pipe bowl against the ashtray. “Every choice we make becomes part of who we are. That’s why you must take care.”

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Posted Thursday, 17 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, The World Wars