Category: Music History

Book Review | “Styx & Stone” (An #EllieStone #Mystery, No. 1) by James W. Ziskin

Posted Thursday, 2 June, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to review “Heart of Stone” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger.

As a new reviewer for Seventh Street Books, I was quite intrigued by discovering another new author under this imprint for Prometheus Books, as thus far along I have found this imprint to be producing wicked good content for mystery enthusiasts! I requested if it were possible to receive the first book in the series, “Styx & Stone” as this series is in-progress and has a total of four novels thus far released.

I received my complimentary copy of Styx & Stone from the publisher Seventh Street Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What I am appreciating from Seventh Street Books Mystery authors:

[ Jennifer Kincheloe ]

Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era. (from review of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc)

Anna Blanc was the first character who caught my readerly eye so to speak when I originally found Seventh Street Books and had read through their Current Front List catalogue to see what story would intrigue me as I was picking my first story to review. There was simply something about this historical mystery that tempted me to say “Yes, please!” and I was not disappointed! If anything, it left me hungering for a sequel and a continuation of Anna Blanc’s journey! She was writ so wondrously well, every inch of this novel was unputdownable because it was realistically compelling and lovingly conceived to live inside it’s era of choice! What was happily unexpected was the cheeky humour and the levity, the author underscored to the harder hitting edges of the story! I loved her personality and spark she granted to Anna Blanc – such a lovely discovery for me!

[ Larry D. Sweazy ]

I dearly appreciate the dramatic styling of Sweazy’s approach to writing this mystery series as it’s breadth is far deeper than the psychological impacts of crime and the tragic losses endured by those who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Sweazy digs deeper into the heart and mind of his lead character (Marjorie Trumaine) whilst using her as a guiding point towards understanding the undercurrents of her small Dakota towne – it’s in this approach that I have found myself so happily entrenched inside the Dakotas, and happily residing a bit on the Trumaine farm whilst I walk beside Marjorie as she puts the clues together and finds truth out of secrets hidden from view. (from review of See Also Deception)

The Marjorie Trumaine mysteries caught my eye after Anna Blanc – I have had a hankering for wicked good mysteries for quite a long while now – they are dearly one of my favourites to curl up inside – especially the cosy side of the ledger, but this series – wow. I had hoped it would be a series I could disappear inside, but I could never have fathomed how heart-centred I felt to the Dakota small towne and whilst becoming fully entrenched inside the spirit of Marjorie Trumaine! I spent a heap of lovely hours happily in step with Marjorie’s pursuit of the truth and as each story in turn was quite unputdownable – I dreamt of the story whilst away from it – I could only hope a third installment will come along soon! Perhaps within a year? It’s that wicked brilliant! It’s also singularly unique – a dramatic crime story full of introspective intuitions about humanity and the human condition!

[ Susan Spann ]

Spann continues to write in such a beautiful arc of narrative voice, styling her cosy historical mysteries after the culture she celebrates with each novel she pens. She keeps the characters true to not only their own personal beliefs and convictions, but to the cultural heritage they are naturally akin to representing. I may have voiced wanting to see more emotional responses from the samurai, but that was only as an observational notice of how well controlled their emotions are and how wisely they choose not to show too much emotion to the outside world; as it would be a completely slip of weakness. There are simply times where you feel as a reader, one character, even if a minor one in a story might react differently than their training; and it is in this, that I celebrate Spann’s gift for historical accuracy as much as personality of character accuracy. The ways of the West and the East do not always align, and by representing her characters with the strength of their own individual personalities, a bridge is reached and crossed. (from review of Blade of the Samurai)

Spann’s Cosy Historical Mysteries are moving to *Seventh Street Books* this year, and I already have my copy of her debut release with them “The Ninja’s Daughter” of which I will happily be devouring this Summer whilst featuring a review close to it’s Pub Date in August! Spann smittened me with this curious portal into Japanese history wherein I found myself tucked inside her character’s lives with such a zest of intrigue I could not believe my wicked luck in finding the series! To be able to continue to celebrate this series per each new installment as they release is a true blessing for a reader whose simply over the moon happy one of her recent favourite series has found a new home with her new favourite publisher of Mysteries! The martial arts and the influences of Japanese tradition and cultural heritage is truly what captured me and has sustained me alongside the beautiful friendship Spann has underwritten into Father Matteo and Hiro’s relationship.

Why the Ellie Stone Mysteries felt like another ‘good fit’ for me:

The first thing that went through my mind when I read the blurb for Heart of Stone, was how interestingly a title can make me think about Jesse Stone! The title character in the television mystery movies featuring Tom Selleck in the lead role created by Robert B. Parker! They (the Jesse Stone mysteries) are a bit harder edged than most of the mysteries that whet a thirst of interest for me to read and/or watch (as I not only read mysteries, I devour Crime Drama & Mysteries in tv and film!) yet surprisingly I was attracted to the downtrodden Jesse Stone who was repairing his soul as he re-built his life in a small towne.

I seem to be on a bit of a ‘1960’ mystery hunt, as the Ellie Stone mysteries take place in early ’60s whereas the Marjorie Trumaine mysteries follow shortly thereafter! Concurrent to this, I found another mystery author (Reavis Z. Wortham) who writes his own Red River series in the 1960s of which has a likeness to the atmosphere inside a Marjorie Trumaine mystery! I’ve decided to follow where my readerly heart takes me, as Wortham’s first novel The Rock Hole was borrowed via ILL (inter-library loan) in late May, however, I unfortunately found I had to return it the day it arrived. I had not realised there is an incident of animal abuse and cruelty in the development of the mystery itself.

In regards to Ellie Stone directly, I liked her felicity to take-on a man’s role and dare to do a job only known for the men who owned it’s niche whilst re-identifying it as her own. Women can do anything they set their mind towards, but in the early 1960s that was not as obvious as it would be in later decades.

Ellie Stone felt like the type of feminist and forward-thinking female character I could rally behind – not only for her moxie to give men a run for it but for how she approached her work. I love strong characters (men and women) but what I love more are strong characters who are redefining a stigma they are living inside in order to find the freedom to be taken on their own terms! No one wants to breathe a space defined by someone else’s prejudices – and to me Ellie Stone felt like the kind of woman who could shatter predetermined mindsets and solve mysteries at the same time!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Review | “Styx & Stone” (An #EllieStone #Mystery, No. 1) by James W. ZiskinStyx & Stone
Subtitle: An Ellie Stone Mystery
by James W. Ziskin
Source: Direct from Publisher

Ellie Stone is a professed modern girl in 1960s' New York City, playing by her own rules and breaking boundaries while searching for a killer among the renowned scholars in Columbia University's Italian Department.

"If you were a man, you'd make a good detective."

Ellie is sure that Sgt. McKeever meant that as a compliment, but that identity-a girl wanting to do a man's job-has throttled her for too long. It's 1960, and Ellie doesn't want to blaze any trails for women; she just wants to be a reporter, one who doesn't need to swat hands off her behind at every turn.

Adrift in her career, Ellie is back in New York City after receiving news that her estranged father, a renowned Dante scholar and distinguished professor, is near death after a savage bludgeoning in his home. The police suspect a routine burglary, but Ellie has her doubts. When a second attempt is made on her father's life, in the form of an "accident" in the hospital's ICU, Ellie's suspicions are confirmed.

Then another professor turns up dead, and Ellie's investigation turns to her father's university colleagues, their ambitions, jealousies, and secret lives. Ellie embarks on a thorny journey of discovery and reconciliation, as she pursues an investigation that offers her both a chance at redemption in her father's eyes, and the risk of losing him forever.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781616148195

Also by this author: Heart of Stone

Also in this series: Heart of Stone


Genres: Crime Fiction, Noir Crime Drama, Thriller


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 15th October, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 267

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Ellie Stone Mystery series:

Interesting Trivia: this series has been optioned for a television series!

“Stone Cold Dead” – received a nomination for the 2016 Lefty Award for Best World Mystery Novel. “No Stone Unturned” received a coveted Anthony Award nomination for Best Paperback Original in 2015.

Styx & Stone | No.1

No Stone Unturned | No.2 | Book Synopsis

Stone Cold Dead | No.3 | Book Synopsis

Heart of Stone | No.4 | Book Synopsis

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #EllieStoneMysteries OR #EllieStoneMystery

Read an Excerpt of Styx & Stone on the author’s site!

About James W. Ziskin

James W. Ziskin

A linguist by training, Ziskin studied romance languages and literature at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his graduate degree, he worked in New York as a photo-news producer and writer, and then as director of NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.

He has since spent 15 years in the Hollywood post-production industry, running large international operations in the subtitling/localization and visual effects fields. Ziskin grew up in Amsterdam, New York, and now lives in the Hollywood Hills.

Photo Credit: William Ziskin

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 2 June, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Adulterous Affair, African-American Literature, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Classical Music | Composers, Clever Turns of Phrase, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Judiasm, Lady Detective Fiction, Life Shift, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Music History, New York City, Noir Crime Drama, Religious History, Siblings, Singletons & Commitment, Sociological Behavior, Story in Diary-Style Format, The Sixties, Vulgarity in Literature, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

Spotlight on Music & Compositions | The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendance by Steven Hancoff

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2015 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Spotlight on Music banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired CD set By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the CD set Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendence direct from the author Steven Hancoff without obligation to post a review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why my interest was piqued with this collection:

I have a secret in my closet. A secret instrument to be exact! When I was six and twenty I made the bold choice to purchase a wicked stellar electric guitar – it’s in a lovely deep crimson red colour and has a lovely strap that is super comfy against my shoulder. I have an equally delightful amp that has yet to emerge out of it’s box! What pray tell would prevent me from picking up said guitar and amp whilst curating my own musical styling? Apparently the absence of an open-minded community for left-handed guitar players! No. Seriously. I couldn’t find one instructor who would teach me to play whilst accepting the fact I play left-handedly despite the fact I’m predominately right-handed. Clearly my community is overlooking the obvious: left-handers rock the music world! (i.e. I loved watching Josey Scott playing alongside Chad Kroeger for “Hero”; wave your hands fellow Spider-Man fans of the films with Tobey Maguire!) This guide to left-handed musicians should be passed out in pamphlets round here!

This curious fact stems out of my dyslexic past and a sombering story of pre-school choices – none of which is relevant except to say I also play baseball left-handed! Yes, you read that right *baseball!* not softball! I digress. I’ve been an appreciator of classical music and classical compositions since I was quite young as I cut my teeth on Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky (clearly my passion for the 1812 Overture was a precursor to a life-long passion for devouring war dramas?) – whilst appreciating contemporary symphonies and orchestras. I loved attending musical concerts and developed a passion for soundcapes lateron as I developed my writing style, as I found the evocations of ambient and trance electronica created this ethereal creative well of inspiration. One of my favourite outlets for these soundscapes is Hearts Of Space, whose programmes are a feast of a writerly soul! Originally I listened to them on the radio until their station dissolved and I re-found them online in 2014! If you can find music that allows your mind the ability to relax into your creative synergy, it’s something to hold onto as creativity is quite obtuse at the best of times!

Although being an electric guitar owner goes a bit against the principles of acoustic guitar sessions (as the whole point is to be ‘unplugged’ rather than ‘plugged’ in) — I must admit, I like finding ways to bridge gaps and musical styles; including finding a balance of pause between electric and acoustic techniques. Rebel musicians like David Garrett (info on the album I own of his via Wikipedia) truly inspire me, as who knew you could emote such a wicked sweet sound out of a violin, such as he? I’d love to learn classical guitar techniques prior to cutting into a vein of style that befits my eclectic personality as I am duly passionate about classical opera as much as the rock operas of Broadway musicals! I am happily eclectic by musicality too, as my heart thunders into a rhythm of joy whilst I listen to Indie artists (especially the kind found on CDbaby!) whose vibes are their own niche of musical revolution. I can take-on quite a heap of music and find the beauty of all of it – combined or singularly separate. Even the decades of the past are a vortex of inspiration as I can hunker down inside the early 20th Century alongside Cole Porter, Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and the legends of Jazz.

Swinging back into the classics for a moment, there is something quite tangible about the music of Bach’s generation – it’s not only dimensional, it’s thought-provoking. It’s invigorating but it’s emotionally connecting to you on a level only music can penetrate. Rather than focus solely on the musical notes and experiences of listening to this collection on CD – I wanted to step inside the booklet itself, and relate to you what I found about about Bach directly!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A notation on the Cover Art: Being a visual artist who wants to take up sketching and illustration in the future, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful etchings of the drawings being featured as the cover art design. It’s such a creative way to tell a short story about how man and music can blend together to create a harmony of a new class of dimension that it’s hard to see where man begins and music ends or rather, how the circle is so finite and conjoined the two become entwined. The sketching also focuses on the ‘fundamentals’ of the human form, and thus, seemed to tip the nod to working on the fundamentals of the crafting of musicality. To encourage practice out of the pleasure of developing the ear for what music can give you as much as what you can give back to the process.

The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo Series:

The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo (J. Sebastian Bach) For Acoustic Guitar Vol. 1: The Life of JS Bach by Steven HancoffThe Six Suites for 'Cello Solo (J. Sebastian Bach) For Acoustic Guitar Vol. 2: The Legacy of JS Bach by Steven HancoffThe Six Suites for 'Cello Solo (J. Sebastian Bach) For Acoustic Guitar Vol. 3: Pablo Casals and the Six Suites by Steven Hancoff

Spotlight on Music & Compositions | The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendance by Steven HancoffThe Six Suites for 'Cello Solor: Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendance
Subtitle: J. Sebastian Bach | For Acoustic Guitar
by Steven Hancoff
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANSCENDENCE

ENTER THE CREATIVE WORLD OF J.S. BACH IN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED GUITARIST STEVEN HANCOFF’S GROUNDBREAKING FOUR-VOLUME E-BOOK: BACH, CASALS AND THE SIX SUITES FOR ’CELLO SOLO

A Totally Immersive Multimedia Experience. Richly Detailed Text Embedded with More Than 1,000 Illustrations Illuminating Bach’s Masterpiece, from Its Creation to Its Legacy. Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo and 3-CD set Audio Recording of ’Cello Suites to be Released June 23rd

Exclusively on iTunes and CD Baby

Includes Hancoff’s Complete Recording Of His Acoustic Guitar Transcription of Bach’s ’Cello Suites

From tragedy to transcendence is the theme that embodies the essence of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. “This man, ‘the miracle of Bach,’ as Pablo Casals once put it, led a life of unfathomable creativity and giftedness on the one hand and neglect and immense tragedy on the other,” says Hancoff.

Bach’s life was rife with hardship and tragedy from the start. By the time he was nine years old, he had witnessed the deaths of three siblings and then, within a year, his father and mother also passed away.

For all his education and talent, however, his first job was serving as a lackey for a drunkard duke. Subsequently, he spent the next fifteen years in the employ of Weimar’s harshly ascetic Duke Wilhelm Ernst, who cared little for music. When he was twenty-two, he married the love of his live, his distant cousin, Maria Barbara Bach. During the thirteen years they were married, she bore him seven children, three of whom died at birth.

In 1717, Prince Leopold of Cöthen offered Bach a position as the musical director for Cöthen. Bach jumped at the chance. The officials of Weimar, however, threw him in jail for “the crime” of daring to resign his present position. Still, Bach was on the verge of a career breakthrough.

Three years into his happy and contented tenure in Cothen, Prince Leopold and Bach visited the spa town of Carlsbad for a month of vacationing and music-making. Unfortunately, upon his return Bach learned of the death of his wife and then only when he entered into his home. Imagine the shock, the impact. He never even discovered the cause of death.

Yet this tragic setback in Bach’s life was a major turning point because he came to grips with his personal tragedy by unleashing a flood of masterpieces for which he is and will be forever revered. First came the Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo.

In the ’Cello Suites we hear Bach expressing his own seeking, yearning, love, loss, sorrow, grief and determination and their overtones of surrender, resolution affirmation and transcendence. He aspired to articulate an ultimate personal confession, a revelation, entirely unique, entirely sublime, as an ultimate act of artistic and creative testimony, a heavenly statement about his own life and even of life itself—as a final gift and an enduring, heavenly send-off for his beloved wife.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo invites readers and music lovers into a unique experience, contained in an immersive four-volume e-book from Steven Hancoff – a virtuoso musician’s restless, passionate, multimedia exploration of a musical masterpiece that only grows in stature almost three centuries after it was written.

The many fascinating and inspiring aspects of the book include:

• How Bach struggled and overcame adversity and the lessons his example offer us today.

• The ultimate meaning of the Six Suites for ’Cello.

• How almost all of Bach’s works would have nearly sunk into oblivion were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Sara Levy, the great aunt of Felix Mendelssohn, to rescue them.

• How Felix Mendelssohn singlehandedly created with the performance of the St. Matthew Passion a Bach renaissance and a legacy that continues to be enjoyed to the present day.

• The miraculous discovery of the six ’Cello Suites by Pablo Casals in a Barcelona thrift shop and why he studied them for twelve years before performing them in public.

• What Pablo Casals meant when he spoke of “the miracle of Bach.” Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo promises to be an adventure for anyone fascinated by the enduring power of music, art and why they matter.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Classical Music, Music for the Guitar, Music History, Non-Fiction


Published by Out of Time Music Co.

on June 2015

Format: CD | MP3 | disc or set

Converse via: #JohannSebastianBach + #cello + #classicalmusic

About Steven Hancoff

Steven Hancoff

Steve Hancoff began playing guitar when he was 13 years old, captivated by the folk music craze of the 1960s. Within a year he was performing in coffeehouses around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

For nearly 15 years, he toured the world—about 50 countries—as an official Artistic Ambassador representing the United States of America. His recordings include Steel String Guitar, New Orleans Guitar Solos, Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar, and The Single Petal of A Rose. He is also the author of Acoustic Masters: Duke Ellington for Fingerstyle Guitar and New Orleans Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, home of the “100 Great Books of the Western World” program and has a Masters degree in clinical social work. He is a psychotherapist, a Rolfer, and a practitioner of Tai Chi. An avid hiker, he is also a member of the Grand Canyon River Guides Associations.

Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2015 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Classical Music | Composers, iRead Book Tours, Music History, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction

Page 1 of 11