Category: California

+Blog Book Tour+ Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison A twice-published after canon author of Jane Austen’s works!

Posted Monday, 18 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 5 Comments

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Sense & Sensibility Blog Tour with Cedar Fort

Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

Published By: Bonneville Books, ( )

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Official Author Websites: Site | @RebeccaHJamison
|
Facebook | Pin(terest) Boards

Available Formats: Paperback
Page Count: 247

Previously she wrote: Persuasion & Emma as ‘Latter-Day Tales’ too!

Converse via: #SenseandSensibility

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read: this girl is a Janeite!

I am not sure when the exact moment occurred in my childhood, but I started to feel a kinetic bond with Jane Austen, to the brink that I knew that once I started to read her beloved works by all who already knew her, … I would become a Janeite. She simply had a convincing way of expressing life as it was lived during her own era, of the minute details of ordinary life intermingled with the reflections of a keen observant eye. My first forays into Austen’s canons was a bit of a hit/miss for me, as I began originally with “Sense & Sensibility”, although I attributed this false start due to what had been on my mind and heart at the time I had first picked it up. The gift I spoke about on my participation page for ‘Austen in August‘ is the very reason I approach this particular blog tour without the benefit of reading the canon. I wanted to reaquaint myself with the gifted books and step back through a door I had not yet fully opened.

It was not until Keira Knightley’s edition of “Pride & Prejudice” that I was able to ascertain the focus I wanted to garnish for Austen, as I nestled into a pocket edition of Pride. Forestalling my visit to the local cinema and barely making it to see the new adaptation before it left the theater completely! In my further expeditions into Classical Literature, I’ll have to talk about my passion for ‘pocket’ hardback editions, as I only briefly mention them in quirkily placed positions on my blog thus far along! Knightley’s motion picture will always hold a special place in my heart, despite what others might express on her behalf. I already ruminated previously that Colin Firth’s mini-series would be my most adored adaptation, but there is always room for adaptations that draw a measure of liberty with their scope.

*At this point in time I have not yet seen Colin Firth’s mini-series, a future viewing during Austen in August is planned

I had fully intended to read “Emma” this August, as previously disclosed but due to an increase in demand for the novel to be checked out of my local library, I had to pull it from my reading list; rather unfortunate, but in doing so, I cancelled my queue to receive “Emma: A Latter-Day Tale” as I quite literally felt I ought to wait. I’m still going to be reading “Persuasion” in step with the Jane Austen Reading Challenge, which will allow me to queue “Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale” at that point in time. Blessedly, I have a ready copy of Persuasian on hand, and Jamison’s novels are easily acquired through ILL’ing. (inter-library loan)

You could say, in the future I shall have enough of Austen’s tomes to spread about between my personal library and the backpack I’ll take with me on my travels. The editions I’m collecting are most decidedly of the ‘bookish soul’ who appreciates not only the quality of the volumes, but the unique differences of each presentation of the text.

By joining this blog tour, I am one step closer to my goals of reading through the breadth of Jane Austen and the authors who are as transfixed on her legacy as I am myself. I am hoping participants in this year’s ‘Austen in August’ and thus forthcoming years as well, will lay their comments in the threads below and give way to a hearty conversational thread! I also plan to write a cross-comparison post at such a time as to when I can read Sense & Sensibility!

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Book Synopsis Read Aloud for Sense & Sensibility: A Latter Day Tale by BonnevilleBooks

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As if it wasn’t bad enough to be getting food from Church welfare, I had to meet one of the Ferreros–a good-looking Ferrero, at that.

Elly Goodwin, a brilliant programmer, is so desperate for a job that she takes one from her ex-boyfriend–the same man who put her family out of business. Then she meets Ethan Ferrero, who seems too good to be true–especially for her ex’s brother-in-law. At the same time, she must help her sister Maren recover from a severe case of depression. Elly is far too busy for love, especially not with Ethan Ferrero.

Meanwhile, Elly’s dramatic sister, Maren, has recovered enough to fall in love, and when she falls, she falls hard. Elly must intercede before Maren’s passion clouds her common sense. Together, Elly and Maren must learn that a mixture of sense and sensibility is the perfect recipe for love.

Fans of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility will love this modern retelling of the classic romance novel.

Author Biography:

Rebecca H. Jamison
Photo Credit: Rachael Nelson

Rebecca H. Jamison wrote novels just for fun until she made a New Year’s resolution in 2011 to submit a manuscript to publishers. Since then, she’s published three books, starting with Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale.

Rebecca grew up in Virginia. She attended Brigham Young University, where she earned a BA and MA in English. In between college and graduate school, she served a mission to Portugal and the Cape Verde islands. Her job titles have included special education teacher’s aide, technical writer, English teacher, and stay-at-home mom.

Rebecca enjoys running, dancing, reading, and watching detective shows. She lives with her husband and children in Utah.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 18 August, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, After the Canon, Austen in August, Autism, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Synopsis Read Aloud, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Bout of Books, California, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Charity & Philanthropy, Classical Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Dairy-Free Foods, Dating & Humour Therein, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Food Panties & Community Assistance, Foreclosure | Short Sale | House Auction, Gluten-Free Foods, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jane Austen Sequel, Library Catalogues & Databases, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Maryland, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mormonism, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Psychiatric Facilities, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Re-Told Tales, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Sense & Sensibility Re-telling, Siblings, Singletons & Commitment, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Special Needs Children, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, World Religions

+Blog Book Tour+ How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag An achingly passionate World War romantic drama of two courageous souls entwined!

Posted Sunday, 10 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag

How Much Do You Love Me? Blog Tour with Cedar Fort

Published By: Sweetwater Books ( ),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)
12 August, 2014
Official Author Websites:  Site | @Thriller_Writer | Blog | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback
Page Count: 256

Converse via: #HowMuchDoYouLoveMe

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “How Much Do You Love Me?” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I have always been inspired by stories from the World Wars, the lives in which were altered by circumstances no one could control and how the human spirit survived against harrowing odds. I studied the World Wars in school but we never studied the Internment camps in the United States which displaced the lives of the Japanese who were either living here or already bonefide citizens. It is one part of my country’s history as the author himself mentions in his Preface that does not put our best foot forward. I grew up learning about Japanese culture, with a strong empathise on their fine art and musical traditions as my maternal grandparents had a fondness for their heritage. I had the kind blessing of cultivating friends from Japan in my teen and twenties, of whom introduced new layers of their heritage to me and also gave me the blessing of knowing that some parts of the past are forgiven, as one of my dearest friends was from Hiroshima. Her light of kindness and acceptance of me as a friend has not left me even though her path and mine led apart when she married. A close friend of mine from Okinawa gave me the gift of understanding multicultural families up close and personal as she married an American Marine.

Whilst knowing of the darker hues of our history are difficult to process and read through, there are enlightening moments of true heroism and strength of the will of man to not only survive but overcome injustice. I felt compelled to read this story whilst I read the synopsis as a window back through time into one family’s journey through an experience that is inconceivable. I appreciated the extras include with this novel, as the Preface delve into why Tag was inspired to relay this story as much as the Appendixes in the back are warranted to become introduced to the characters ahead of their presence and a knowledge of the terminology threaded into the story.

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Book Synopsis:How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag

Keiko Tanaka, along with her twin sister, Misaki, and two other siblings are first generation children of parents who emigrated from Japan in the early 1900s. Born in the US, they are American citizens. Nonetheless, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan in December of 1941, politicians whip anti-Japanese rhetoric into a frenzy, claiming that anyone who looks Japanese should be suspected of being an enemy agent of the Japanese emperor, Hirohito. Although government officials (including FBI head, J. Edgar Hoover) report no evidence supporting such suspicion, public opinion turns against the Japanese. Consequently, on February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signs Executive Order No. 9066, sealing the fate of 120,000 West Coast Japanese—including the Tanaka family of Bellevue, Washington—sending them to internment camps.

 Prior to the tumult of this anti-Japanese hysteria, Keiko falls in love with a Caucasian, James Armstrong. Contrary to their families’ wishes, they decide to marry before Keiko leaves for the camps and James goes to war. At Tule Lake, the Tanaka’s internment camp in northern California, Keiko’s and James’s daughter, Kazuko, is born.

Nearly sixty years later, Keiko has a stroke and lies near death, while James suffers from Alzheimer’s. Coincidentally, a chance occurrence makes Kazuko suspect that her mother has been hiding a secret from the internment. Fighting the clock before her mother’s death, she races to unearth the mystery. What she uncovers represents nothing short of the epitome of human love and self-sacrifice. But, beyond Kazuko’s realization, only the reader knows that is only half the story. 

Author Biography:

Paul Mark Tag made a career as a research scientist before switching gears to write fiction. In the late 1990s, in preparation for a career in writing, he wrote short stories only. Author/Publisher Arline Chase was his mentor. In 2001, when he made his career change permanent, he spent a year writing short stories only. These have been published in StoryBytes, Potpourri, Greens Magazine, and The Storyteller.

 In 2002, Tag began his first novel, a thriller entitled Category 5, which took advantage of his knowledge of meteorology and weather modification. Prophecy, a sequel, followed in July of 2007. White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy, is the third in the trilogy. With How Much Do You Love Me? Tag has switched genres, trying his hand at historical fiction. He lives with his wife, Becky, in Monterey, California.

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Multicultural heritage, marriage, and blended families:

What I appreciated the most about Tag’s presentation of the romance blooming between Keiko and James, is that he did not make any part of their lives cliche or expected. Keiko grew up in the Methodist faith whereas James was a Unitarian; two separate worlds of thought on faith and at the time they were living in the 1940s neither denominations understood each other as well as they do today. The fact that they were both American citizens, one of Anglo-Saxon heritage and one of Japanese is what put them at the greatest risk on the fringes of war with Japan. James was given a strong countenance for a man of his young years but determination to be with the love of his life endeared him to me on the spot. They each saw past their own differences and how those differences were viewed by others inside their own community to forge a life together that was rooted in love and faith. Keiko might be nineteen at the opening of How Much Do You Love Me? but her spirit of self-awareness and knowledge of the current events slowing turning the tides against her make her mature beyond her years.

The manner in which their love story unfolds is a slow arc towards their union, as we know in the beginning that they were able to be wed, but it is how the story revealed their path towards their wedding and the life after the war ended that proved to be the most special. Especially considering the fact they were breaking tradition, not only for the culture of Keiko’s heritage but for James to marry an Asian at that point in time was nearly not able to be done legally. I had not realised it myself, as to when multicultural marriages had been approved but I silently cheered that four states led the way forward for all relationships to become equal. (Washington was one of the four)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Sunday, 10 August, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, California, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Life Shift, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Pearl Harbour (WWII), Romance Fiction, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, Sweet Romance, Taboo Relationships & Romance, The World Wars, Twin Siblings, US Internment Camps (WWII), War-time Romance, Washington

*Blog Book Tour*: Gracianna by Trini Amador!

Posted Wednesday, 13 November, 2013 by jorielov , , 5 Comments

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Gracianna by Trini Amador - HFVBT

Gracianna by Trini Amador
Published By: Green Leaf Book Group, 23 July, 2013
Official Author Websites: Amador on Facebook; Amador on Twitter; Gracianna Winery
Available Formats: Hardcover and E-Book
Page Count: 296

Original HFVBT Tour: 15 July – 9 August 2013

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the second blog book tour for “Gracianna” hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Gracianna” in exchange for an honest review by the author Trini Amador. I was thankful to be placed on the tour as I was able to not only able to read the book but interview the author! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Author Biography:

Trini Amador AuthorTrini Amador vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun. This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination. It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.

Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values, motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15 years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..

Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg, California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

Synopsis of Gracianna:

Gracianna by Trini AmadorThe gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.

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As the Story Opens:

Amador reflects on his childhood discovery which launched him on a lifelong journey towards unraveling the truth behind his great-grandmother Gracianna. This innocent look into a young boy’ s childhood find of a German gun gives a pointed insight into Gracianna herself who even in this memory had a formidable presence. Upon recollecting her early years, he made a choice to focus not only on her hard work ethic but to give a light on her ability to realise how important knowledge and learning is to a person’s life; through her passion for reading. She was proud of her language (the Basque) due to its uniqueness as compared to the surrounding languages of the Spanish, French, and Portuguese. I noted this as a nodding towards her self-reflection of her self-identity and how interesting it is that she wanted to hold onto a language that might have been passed over for a more commonly spoken one by another.

The pacing of Amador’s narrative reads and asserts itself as a biographical fiction piece which is an ingenious way of writing a non-fiction story (i.e. biography or memoir) with the inclusions of painting in the in-between moments of a person’s lived life with a familiar resonance to where a reader can walk alongside rather than trudge through a straight-up recollection of dates. He walks between his own tellings of her life and borrowing from metaphoric and mythological stories of ancient truths. He chooses to paint his great-grandmother’s life in point-of-face and point-of-fact accuracy of bone-chilling realism that is at times gutting and emotionally convicting. The imagery is not always easy to drink in but neither is the life she lived an easy path to endure.

Her formidable training taking her from girlhood to womanhood (after her mother’s death) was due to the stability and presence of the imposing Anastasia. One begs to wonder if through this relationship, Gracianna formulated her own persona and identity as a reflection of Anastasia. Anastasia was Ann’s mother, making her Gracianna’s maternal grandmother. Proving that she comes from a lineage of strong women who endure as a living testament and legacy to those of whom they lose in death.

My Review of Gracianna:

The story of Gracianna’s life is pivoted against a brief re-telling of her ancestral roots and beginnings of her enriched life as a descendant of the Basque from the Pyrenees. (on the border of France and Spain) As Amador disclosed his great-grandmother’s ability to walk and read in harmony, I was drawn to think back on my own life where I would do the same during my school years as my head was always cast inside of a book whilst walking to and from class. She shifted from childhood into adulthood during harrowing personal tragedies which became an epoch of trauma and loss for her family. At the moment she lost her mother, she had to be reminded about who she was and how strong she was as despite her fortitude she lost her footing at the death of her mother. A fracture of her spirit was repaired by the family members who stood beside her and reminded her of who she was and of where she came. This rooted her ability to carry-on and proceed forward at a time when she didn’t feel motivated to do so.

My mind had trouble staying in tow with the story of Gracianna due to the overwhelming disconnects that ensue as you watch her life unfold. One moment she’s endearing to the point of humbling a graceful measure of humanity in every action she takes and on the next page, it’s as though this Gracianna your heart is rooting for is replaced by a stranger you have not yet met. I reflected that this could be due to the author’s stop-and-go writing process as he wrote Gracianna’s story whilst traveling for his work’s intense schedule. It’s almost as though he resumed the story without realising he had started a piece of it in a different vein of thought. I can sympathise with his situation but as a reader, it’s a bit difficult to work through as your second-guessing who Gracianna really is. His thoughts were being pulled in too many different directions for the story to fuse together properly. As the story proceeds, I began to wonder if Gracianna’s greater legacy would have been better off told through a collection of antidotes and short missives of life lessons rather than through a novel where her essence becomes entangled and muddled.

On wine and story-telling:

Originally I had wanted to select a hearty choice of red wine as my preferences are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, however I surprised myself by settling on Sangria! Sweet. Robust. Flowery. My choice of wine I felt would match well with a story of Gracianna as she originally came from a region of where there was a fusion of wine, story-telling, and living life with passion infused into everyday living. I occasionally admit that rather than pairing a book with a cuppa tea or a steamingly smooth coffee latte, I opt instead for a smooth glass of wine! Whether the atmospheric murmurings of the story about to be read is the inspiration or the pure indulgence of being an adult who can relax into a story with a subtle nod to the novel at large, makes reading a blissful adventure for me! Being that the author owns a vineyard it only felt fitting that I make a selection to pour a bit of decadence into a rose-hued glass goblet and have it accompany me on my journey into his début!

Fly in the Ointment:

Despite the flawless words of the author in recounting Gracianna’s young life, he failed to include the formidable years between eight and seventeen. It’s a shame we were not privy to more details of her young life. This exclusion jutted me out of the context of the story momentarily as it felt as though the story shifted forward without a proper segue to account for the loss of years. Perhaps this was due to a lack of information of the years in question, in which I can fully accept and understand. However, there wasn’t a footnote to guide the reader. There is a passage on page 12 which takes a detour from the Gracianna who is first introduced to us in the opening pages (as much as being included in his interview), where she is now painted as a humbled, caring, and empathic woman. I found this a bit out of step with her character as she was previously introduced as a hardened, slightly embittered, over-bearing grandmother. The juxtaposition feels a bit unrealistic to me either due to two reflections of the same woman or of a grandson unsure of which personality his grandmother was the truer one of the two. The disconnect truly stems from his interview answer in which he describes her as quick-tempered, stubborn, and controlling. If this was a woman whose personality shifted due to her life experiences I would have preferred this to be explained in the text as her life is described for the reader to drink in and accept.

My honest feeling in this last regard is that the story was rushed to print too quickly and needed a bit more time to become polished and absorbed into being. Amador has brilliant moments of flucidity in which he writes with heart and soul. Unfortunately, his pen undermined his passion to bring her story forward in the light I believe he was attempting to place her.

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Inspired to Share: I truly had expected this story to wrap around my heart and not let me go. As you watch this book trailer, the story in the heart of the premise unfolds before you as Amador narrates his grandmother’s story. However, I was unfortunately unable to fully conceive his vision of the story as I couldn’t connect with the context as it was presented in Gracianna.

“Gracianna” by Trini Amador Official Book Trailer

by Greenleaf Book Group on Gracianna Winery Channel

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The “Gracianna” Virtual Book Tour Road Map:

Gracianna by Trini Amador - HFVBT

Be sure to catch the first half of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie interviews Trini Amador!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTon my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Gracianna” as well as Trini Amador’s photograph and biography, the blog tour badge, and the logo banner for HFVBT were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by Greenleaf Book Group had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. 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, 2013.

Related Articles:

Virtual Tour: Gracianna – (closedthecover.com)

Gracianna – (doingdeweydecimal.wordpress.com)

Review: Gracianna by Trini Amador – (diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com)

Gracianna by Trini Amador is the Story of a Women’s Strength During Nazi-Occupied France – (hookofabook.wordpress.com)

Book Review: Gracianna by Trini Amador – (westmetromommy.blogspot.com)

Book Review: Gracianna by Trini Amador – (confessionsavidreader.blogspot.com)

Gracianna by Trini Amador – (flashlightcommentary.blogspot.com)

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Posted Wednesday, 13 November, 2013 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, California, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Multi-Generational Saga, Sonoma County, The World Wars, Vintages and Vineyards