Category: London

Blog Book Tour | “Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West

Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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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 “Claiming My Place” direct from the author Planaria Price in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this story appealled to me:

When I was contacted about being on this blog tour, I must admit, I nearly declined it. Not because I wasn’t interested in the story – the reason stems from my childhood. As a young girl – an impressionable reader and a person with a sensitive heart, I was never able to read The Diary of Anne Frank – despite the nudges from my Mum and my grandparents; there was something preventing me from reading the book. I know I recognised a lot of myself in Anne – I was even her age when I re-attempted to read her words but there was an emotional reasoning in my head and heart; knowing if I walked into her world, I might have difficulty walking out knowing how she died. I had a lot of issues with death as a child and this in part could have played a role in not wanting to re-live Anne’s life as a young girl. The distance between her life and mine felt smaller somehow – when your the age of someone whose died tragically – somehow time, distance and proportional understanding of their life draws closer to your heart.

I also was frustrated by how my school teachers were avoiding talking about the war eras though they had no difficulty in speaking about the Civil War. Comparatively, I felt it was more relevant to everyone who grew up in the GenX generation to focus more on 20th Century History – from the war era straight into the heart of Civil Rights and the 1970s; than it would have been to dredge up history where both sides still were aggrieved about what happened. The relevancy of the 20th Century still had an important role in understanding our present and our future; at least, this was what I tried to reason in my arguments about a lack of proportional education for an engaged student losing interest in an education system which befitted no one due to how much was lost from being learnt.

As I researched the story itself – there is one particular reason why I said ‘yes’ to reading this story and why I knew I could handle the story I’d find within it. It has a happier ending than Anne Frank – hers is an uplifting story of a different nature; this one seeks to go into how someone survived but also found happiness after the war. I think for me, I needed this ‘extra chapter’ on a story which seeks to re-explain what was happening during Anne Frank’s living years whilst giving us an ending that is easier to swallow and accept.

There is a reason why I’ve altered the kind of war dramas I seek out to read – I used to read all sorts of them; including the guttingly convicting narratives which gave me nightmares. Why? I haven’t the foggiest clue. Something was directing me towards them and although I don’t regret reading them per se – I had to take a full step back from reading half of the war dramas I was naturally curious about reading. The one which crushed my soul and clued me into needing to make this change in selection was Citadel. I was within my first year of book blogging and although this novel opened my eyes to quite a heap of unknown history within the era in question, it also drew to my mind there are levels of reality I need to avoid finding in fiction.

Having said that – what inspired me to read Claiming My Place is knowing why Mum originally wanted me to read Anne Frank’s story. I knew why she wanted me to read it was simply a matter of a girl recognising she couldn’t read her story. I have regretted that personal choice over the years and as I’m inching towards turning thirtyten, it is nice to finally resolve this with being able to handle reading a different story which seeks to highlight the same truths within a classic I had to appreciate from afar.

In the same vein of interest, I did go to the theater to see Life is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryan; the latter not only gutted me emotionally but left me shell-shocked; in effect, it was too much to process. The former was my preferred experience of the two – guttingly realistic, emotionally powerful and at the root of the story is what truly was hard to reconcile about the second world war. It ends with a ray of hopefulness with the sombering tragedy of loss intermixed with your emotional reaction of having felt as if you had personally lived through the story. Notwithstanding the fact by the end of the film I no longer remembered it wasn’t in my native language. When other film goers complained about reading the subtitles – I still remember walking out going “What subtitles?” I was dearly invested in that film and I credit this to how Roberto Benigni wrote the story and brought his character to life in such a way as to transcend time, language and the human spirit.

Reading Claiming My Place is a daughter’s way of reconnecting to her mother’s memory of Anne Frank and of resolving not being able to read one of the most popular books for young readers.

I am grateful for this story, especially as the war eras have held a captivating impression on me since I was a young girl. I grew into a reader of war dramas & historical narratives set at the battlefields & on the home fronts; from one continent to the other – seeking the living truths of those who lived through the era and of the humbling ways in which History merits becoming known in each new generation past these marked fixtures in time which ought never become repeated.

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Blog Book Tour | “Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann WestClaiming My Place
by Planaria Price
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin

A Junior Library Guild selection

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself.

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780374305291

ASIN: B07BHQCW1B

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

on 13th March, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Hardcover Edition

Pages: 278

Length: 9 hours and 19 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers (@fsgbooks)
an imprint of Macmillan Publishing

Converse via: #WarDrama + #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Hardback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Planaria Price

Planaria Price

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, The World Wars, War Drama, Young Adult Fiction

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana Aikin

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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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 ARC copy of “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” direct from the publisher Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this novel appealled to me:

A good portion of the story is hinged on ancestral sleuthing and of keeping the living histories of our families alive for each new generation who has the chance to hear them told. Being one half of the Ancestry Sleuth team in my own family, I can attest to how the preservation and the exploration of one’s family line can become quite a wicked adventure! Especially if you only have subtle clues towards researching past your maternal and paternal great-grandparents or know the names of at least a few of your great-greats going back from there – genealogy is a pursuit of joy for both my Mum and I.

I keep missing the #HistFicChat’s on Thursdays as my hours during the chat are unfortunately taken elsewhere now to where I can’t chat with fellow enthused readers and the writers of Historical Fiction as I had been free to do the previous year. It was only this Friday where I realised this past Thursday the featured guest was Ms Aikin and as I read a part of the feeds for the chat, I soon unearthed that part of this story was inspired by her own ancestral lineage! In fact, she had an actress in her family (see this tweet) whilst she also was heavily read in pre-revolutionary Russian Lit which also inspired the story itself (see also this tweet).

I’m hopeful I can start to return to the chat – as Rachel Brimble is returning to speak about a sequel to her Pennington novel – of which I enjoyed discussing when it first published and Soraya Lane is going to be featured the following week for her latest release The Spitfire Girls which I enjoyed talking to her a bit about on Twitter previously during the last year. I purchased one of Soraya Lane’s past novels on audiobook via Audible and I placed a request for The Mistress of Pennington’s which was accepted by my local library. The paperback is on hand to be read and the audiobook is one I have slated to be listened to this Spring whilst I endeavour to read, listen and focus on Historical Fiction selections during my #HistoricalMondays showcases.

I decided to feature this during my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature as to me it spoke to me as being a Historical Women’s Fiction narrative – whereby, the main threads of the author’s muse were interconnected to her grandaunt and the legacy of the life she had lived. It is a particular lens into how one woman dared to live a different life – go to different places in the world and to curate her own path from her era’s conventions. To me that is at the heart of why Women’s Fiction is relevant today as it doesn’t matter if the stories are Contemporary or Historical in nature if they are focused on telling a woman’s journey – towards her own destiny on terms she determined herself or how she overcame adversity or tragedy and still found a way to move forward in the aftermath. These kinds of stories always interest me and are part of the inspiration behind both the feature and the the redirection of my chat @SatBookChat.

Thereby, you can see – I predominately focus on reading the historic past and attempt to find new voices in Historical Fiction every year, such as Ms Aikin!

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Notation on Cover Art: I could honestly envision Lily is on the cover – letter-writing was dearly important to her as it was a method of keeping in touch with her brother and sister. Her letters are a featured pause in the narrative arc and I, personally, loved how they were included in the chapters. Therefore, whomever designed this cover truly tapped into the heart of Lily and gave her a cover where you could almost see her coming in from a hectic day where she simply wanted to ink out her thoughts and draft a new letter to post! Even the outfit here reminds me of Lily from Ms Aikin’s pen!

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana AikinWe Shall See The Sky Sparkling
by Susana Aikin
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.

Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St. Petersburg with an acting troupe–leaving her first love behind.

Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.

With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496717658

ASIN: B07MQ3FCHR

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 29th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

Length: 14 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Susana Aikin

Susana Aikin

Born in Spain of an English father and a Spanish mother, Susana Aikin is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. She was educated in both England and Spain; studied law at the University of Madrid, and later Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

In 1986 she started her own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, producing and directing documentary films that won her multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. She started writing fiction full time in 2010. She has two sons and now lives between Brooklyn and the mountains north of Madrid.

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Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Mental Health, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery

Blog Book Tour | “A Duel for Christmas” (Book Three: Jacob Pevensey Mysteries) by Rosanne E. Lortz

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “A Duel for Christmas” direct from the author Rosanne E. Lortz in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I previously enjoyed about listening to ‘To Wed an Heiress’:

The drama behind this situation is etched out through Lortz’s characters – as each of them are entering into the despair from different perspectives. Even the cousin, Eda has a role in the aftermath as this effected her the most by all rights and then, of course, the mother, Lady Angelsford who only wanted the best for her sons. Lortz showed the grief in Lady Angelsford by how she acted around Eda and how she hoped against the drastic measures Haro was considering to fix what her husband had left for them to resolve.

Ms Lortz has a keen eye for the fashions of the Regency – the way Ms Westbrook described the fashions within this installment of the series was a true delight! I loved how she brought to life the clothes Ms Lortz featured on her characters but also, of how classy she selected the clothes to fit the personalities of her characters. Each of them had their own unique style and that particular style brought out who they were in personality; as it rightly should but in this instance with the narrator moving us forward into the context of the story itself, it all came together rather beautifully.

Lortz brings an equal balance between the upstairs and the downstairs climates – letting us peer into the way the staff see their positions and the people they serve whilst we benefit from Ms Lortz dual perspectives of her settings. This was something I loved and championed about her approach of story-telling within the pages of The Duke’s Last Hunt and I was most thrilled to see was inclusive to her first installment To Wed an Heiress as it has its own appeal of realism for the Regency to find these perspectives brought forward.

To Wed an Heiress is the kind of Historical Romance I can honestly disappear inside as there is a keen sense of the prosperity and propriety resplendent of the Regency – as soon as you start listening to the audiobook: you are swept back into the years of balls, marriage markets and where the ton were unforgiving when it comes to changes in circumstances and status. You get caught up in how she’s set the stage for this first entry into the series – as there was an urgency running through the narrative. Of how time was of not just the essence but it was the one thing Haro could control if only in small ways to stem the effects of his errant father. He had the chance to find a way to circumvent the damages but it was time he needed to best sort out the right way forward – yet, Ms Lortz shows how sometimes when your young and determined, time is not something you want to forestall. You simply want to find the answer, act on whatever you need to do to ensure it and pick up your life from whence it was starting to take a downward ‘pause’. Even if of course, taking such a rash course of action might not yield the outcome you were most hoping to seek out?

This is how Lortz entices you into the folds of her Regency Romances – where they are equally divided between the allure of a Romantic Suspense and the keen sensibility of a Regency Romance – the benefit being your taking a lovely stroll of insight backwards into the Regency, populated by characters who are as realistic as the voices given to them by Ms Westbrook and of whom, you become immediately attached too. I love her innate style for these captivating mysteries but also for her cunning sense of how to give us new stories in the Regency which grab our hearts, our minds and our imaginations. She truly has a well-rounded style of Historical Romance to where you neither want to see one of her stories end or be too far away from reading your next installment!

-quoted from my review of To Wed an Heiress

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Notation about the Cover Art Design: In a word it is smashingly brill! I was in love with this cover art design from the very first moment I saw it! Seeing it up close as I pulled the ARC out of the bubbler mailer was a true delight as the snow in the background seems to burst to life even though it is not 3-Dimensional nor raised to feel textured under your fingertips. The bloke on the cover has such a fierce presence you almost instantly felt you knew of him even if you did not and what can I say? I love architectural design and ambiance – this cover is just smashing! They even made it a lovely addition to a book blogger’s library as this ARC has a special graphic on the cover itself but they also included a black and white inside copy of the cover art, too! Such a posh edition, truly! Only thing missing was a note from the Editor!

Blog Book Tour | “A Duel for Christmas” (Book Three: Jacob Pevensey Mysteries) by Rosanne E. LortzA Duel for Christmas
Subtitle: A Jacob Pevensey Mystery
by Rosanne E. Lortz
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

After seven long years in Devon, Lady Maud Worlington returns to London to reclaim life on her own terms, but a nefarious shadow and the prospect of financial ruin dog her steps. An impulsive and unforgettable kiss under the mistletoe creates a connection with Geoffrey, the handsome, young Duke of Tilbury. Yet as pleasant as it is to have a suitor, Maud is not sure how a boy of one-and-twenty can prove an equal partner in life and the equal of all the forces mounted against her.

The Duke of Tilbury considers himself as adept at managing matters as he is at swordplay, but his beautiful new acquaintance Lady Worlington has other ideas about how to manage her complicated life. Intrigued by their stolen kiss, Geoffrey pursues Lady Worlington’s affections, only to be foiled by the lady’s own doubts, by rivals for her hand, and by a sudden death that affects both their families. When Jacob Pevensey, the investigator from Bow Street enters the scene, the duke becomes a prime suspect in the murder case. Truths are unearthed that Geoffrey would rather keep hidden, and the twelve days of Christmas race toward a perilous end.

This novel takes the medieval events surrounding the sinking of the White Ship and transposes them to Regency London.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780996264877

Also by this author: The Duke's Last Hunt

Also in this series: The Duke's Last Hunt, To Wed an Heiress, A Duel for Christmas


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 1st October, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 383

Published By: Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Jacob Pevensey Mysteries:

To Wed an Heiress (see also Review)

The Duke’s Last Hunt (see also Review)

A Duel for Christmas

Converse via: #HistoricalRom, #HistoricalSuspense, #Regency, #RomSusp
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook and E-Book

About Ms Rosanne E. Lortz

Roseanne E. Lortz

Rosanne E. Lortz is a writer, editor, teacher, history-lover, and mom to four boys. She loves to read, sing, draw, compose, write, and create. Education is one of her passions, particularly a classical, liberal arts education. She has taught English composition and grammar, Latin, history, music, and various other subjects for ten years at both the elementary and secondary level and is currently the Director of Academics and Admissions at Paideia Classical Christian School in Gladstone, Oregon.

Rosanne’s first book, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, was released in 2009. This book explores the tumultuous landscape surrounding the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and is a tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor. In 2015, Rosanne began her Pevensey mysteries, novels of romantic suspense set during the British Regency (with inspiration from medieval characters and events). The first three titles are: To Wed an Heiress, The Duke’s Last Hunt, and A Duel for Christmas.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 8 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Castles & Estates, Clever Turns of Phrase, England, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, London, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, the Regency era