Category: Memoir

Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”

Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I love seeking out Biographical Historical Fiction stories in order to better understand the persons who’ve lived before me and to have an interpersonal glimpse into their lives – which is why I seek out an equal amount of Biopics in motion pictures to watch as well. This is how I came to watch the Netflix original mini-series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker”. (see also Wikipedia) Coincidentally, this aired whilst I was preparing my interview questions for this blog tour and thankfully it gave me an inside glimpse into the back-history of what inspired this poetic drama by the author.

Those of us on the tour received a PDF copy of the story by Ms Augustin – as you know, due to my chronic migraines, I cannot read stories electronically but I do sometimes read chapter samplers of stories online to gather a bit about a writer’s style and to better understand what the story might yield in print when I go to read it in a format better suited for me. In this instance, as I was moving through the PDF to find a section to preview for my interview questions I noticed there are photographs included with this story. I wanted to post an advisory on my tour stop that if you are a sensitive reader one photograph did concern me as it actually shows a lynching which I was not personally expecting to be included myself.

Outside of that photograph, the few sections I previewed helped inspire this conversation and I was thankful to have this copy of the book to use in my research to present a better rounded picture of what inspired the poet to create this dramatic story about the Walkers and how the Walkers are continuing to inspire everyone who finds their story. This is a well-timed conversation as many are still watching “Self Made” and I know others are regularly chatting about Madam CJ Walker and the impact she had on both industry and women-led companies who re-wrote what a woman can accomplish in whichever endeavour of business she chooses to become involved and find success.

I found watching “Self Made” to be an incredible story of both internal strength and belief in one’s self to pursue your own dreams and goals in life whilst embracing the fortitude one needs as a woman to achieve the impossible in a male-dominated world. There is so much truth in this mini-series about what women have faced in different generations to overcome the oppression of yesterday – it is a rising light of how hard we have had to fight for what we have as women of industry as much as how hard it is to build a brand when the concept for the brand isn’t one that everyone wants to embrace.

I loved the fact Octavia Spencer had the lead role in bringing Madam CJ Walker to life as I loved her performance and her instincts for telling Walker’s story. I have long admired her acting and am wicked thankful she is now in high demand as she deserves to continue to get these kinds of roles where she can shine such a wonderful light on the characters I feel she was bourne to portray! She’s just a wicked good actress and its a delight to see her in roles which I feel are strengthened due to how she’s approached them as an actress.

I also feel we are undeserved as both readers and citizens not to embrace more of the diversity of our country and of the persons who have made historical impacts on our society. We have such a beautiful diverse citizenship and yet, a lot of the historical stories which need to be told are never brought to light. I am thankful Walker’s story is finally coming into the mainstream in order to reach a broader audience but I have always maintained we need more stories about living histories of all persons in our country’s past in order to have a better rounded view of our History. All voices and lives need representation and all lives are important to be heard and shared.

It is an absolute joy for me to highlight the life and history of Madam CJ Walker and to share this interview on the blog tour celebrating her life and story. I hope you will walk away with some inspiration for your own life as much as have a better understanding of what Madam CJ Walker had to endure in order to reach for her dreams and bring to reality the world she saw in her dreams.

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Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”Out of No Way
Subtitle: Madam CJ Walker and A'Lelia Walker : A Poetic Drama
by Rojé Augustin
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Author, producer, and emerging poet Rojé Augustin has written a groundbreaking debut collection of dramatic poems about hair care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and her daughter, A'Lelia. Rojé's singular and accomplished work is presented through the intimate lens of the mother-daughter relationship via different poetic forms — from lyric to haiku, blackout to narrative. (One poem takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.) Written in tribute to Walker, Out of No Way deftly and beautifully explores themes of race, motherhood, sacrifice, beauty, and the meaning of success in Jim Crow America.

Born Sarah Breedlove to former Louisiana slaves in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, became a mother at 17, and was widowed at 20. After the death of her first husband, Sarah moved to St. Louis with her daughter where she earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. When her hair started falling out she developed a remedy and sold her formula across the country. In the process, she became the wealthiest Negro woman in America.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetry & Drama, Women's Studies


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Self Published

Format: epub | PDF editon

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

NOTE: I do want to advise readers about a content warning in regards to a photograph inclusive of this release which does show a lynching which took me by surprise as well.

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Biography and #Poetry Drama
& #MadamCJWalker and #ALeliaWalker

About Rojé Augustin

Rojé Augustin

Rojé Augustin is a native New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her first novel, The Unraveling of Bebe Jones, won the 2013 National Indie Excellence Award in African American fiction. She wrote the novel while living in London and Sydney as a stay-at-home-mom. Rojé continues to work as a producer while also writing in her spare time. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov in A'Lelia Walker, African-American History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Madam CJ Walker, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

A Non-Fiction Audiobook Review | “My Life in Plants” (Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself) by Katie Vaz, narrated by Taylor Meskimen courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Thursday, 3 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#AudioReads banner created by Jorie in Canva. Unsplash Photography (Creative Commons Zero) Photo Credit: Alice Moore

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “My Life in Plants” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Why I was intrigued to listen to
“My Life in Plants”:

What first drew me into wanting to hear this story about one woman’s life centred round the plants which populated her memories was the fact I needed a segue story to resume my current reading queue as the world’s news headlines were getting to me this week. We all have our level of tolerances for how much news we can sustainably read before it all becomes a bit too much to filter and this week, my tolerances simply vacated.

I decided to see if I could find a short audiobook about something completely outside my own purview as a reader and as an audiobook listener to where it would be a dynamic shift outside my current wanderings as much as be a story I could get behind because of its own authentic voice to tell its own story. What I found was a curiously titled Memoir about a woman who stored her memories from the seeds and experiences she had with plants. To me that was a wholly original concept and I wanted to follow in her stead!

What I found was a thought-inducing Memoir which helps you think about your own life as your listening to her adventures whilst finding inspiration along the way. The only downside for me (despite how much I loved this book!) is that some of the chapters and snippets of her life are quite on the shortened end of the spectrum – so don’t be too surprised if you’re hugged into one of her memories and suddenly that chapter ends!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A Non-Fiction Audiobook Review | “My Life in Plants” (Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself) by Katie Vaz, narrated by Taylor Meskimen courtesy of #NetGalleyMy Life in Plants
Subtitle: Flowers I've Loved, Herbs I've Grown, and Houseplants I've Killed on the Way to Finding Myself
by Katie Vaz
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Katie Vaz
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Taylor Meskimen

From stumpy potted houseplants to intricate and delicate flower arrangements, My Life in Plants is a heartfelt, honest memoir that intertwines the complex nature of houseplants with a journey of self-discovery.

From Katie Vaz, author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, the beloved Make Yourself Cozy, and The Escape Manual for Introverts, comes My Life in Plants. Her newest book tells the story of her life through the thirty-nine plants that have played both leading and supporting roles, from her childhood to her wedding day. Plants include a homegrown wildflower bouquet wrapped in duct tape that she carried on stage at age three, to a fragrant basil plant that brought her and her kitchen back to life after grief. The stories are personal, poignant, heartwarming, and relatable, and will prompt readers to recall plants of their own that have been witness to both the amazing moments of life and the ordinary ones. This illustrated memoir covers the simplicity of home, the sharpness of loss, the lesson of learning to be present, and the journey of finding your way.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Botany, Horticulture, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524864019

ASIN: B08FJFKJDC

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

on 1st September, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes, 58 Seconds (unabridged)

Published By: Andrews McMeel Audio
an imprint of Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel)

Genre(s) of Interest: Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Self-Help and Botany
as well as Gardening & Horticulture and Foodie centric memories

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Enjoy a preview of the artwork in the book!:

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 3 September, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobook, Autobiographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Botany, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Horticulture, Indie Author, Journal, Memoir, Modern Day, NetGalley, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Short Stories or Essays, Vignettes of Real Life

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan Risher

Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for this unique collection of stories hosted by iRead Book Tours. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, outside of the fact I did host the Marilyn Wilson blog tour as it was her second release. I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. When I came across ‘Old Algiers’ I thought it was such an interesting collection of personal history, experience, reflective insight and philosophical enquiry – it was something I was keenly looking forward to reading.

I received a complimentary copy of Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers direct from the author Jan Risher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was eager for this book & how life interfered with my plans in

reading ‘Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers’:

When I first learnt about this collection of stories – I thought it would be wicked interesting to read which is why I was excited about signing on for the blog tour! I had wanted to read the stories and curate a conversation with the author to coincide with my review, however, a few things ended up derailing all my lovely plans for this blog tour – which is in effect, why I am posting off-tour instead. In fact, I’ve been attempting to get this review put to order since a week ago Friday, except to say, my physical unwellness has been a bit extreme these past three weeks ever since I came down with a beast of a Winter virus. Secondly, my father had a medical emergency where we spent 4+ hours in the ER which rattled my nerves and my emotions never did quite settle down that particular week until the start of the next one. My father, is fine – thankfully, the fall was not serious but we had to ensure it was nothing major as Thanksgiving weekend marked his 2nd year past his stroke.

To return back into reading, I had to wait til a) my health was less stricken and b) my mind could re-attach into reading and blogging. It wasn’t until Sunday (last weekend) where I felt well enough to resume where I had left off with a lot of different stories but my return has been slow going which is why my posts are populating at a bit of an odd rate of progression. This review is one I wanted to finish earlier in the week, but I’ve literally been plagued with health issues and honestly, it took extra time to compose.

Having said that, I decided to make my journey into this book a bit uniquely different than most readers might have approached it. I knew in my heart I couldn’t traditionally read this start to finish, as I just didn’t have the capacity to do that right now – therefore, I hope you’ll enjoy the notes, ruminative reflections and takeaways I am sharing on behalf of Old Algiers!

Likewise, I am hoping my note of apology reached the author – somehow, for whichever reason, life became a bit of a determining factor of how I was unable to release this review in step with the blog tour itself whilst I had to realise also, the conversation would have to remain unknown as just to get this featured before the New Year I felt was more priority after having missed the blog tour.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan RisherLooking to the Stars from Old Algiers
Subtitle: And Other Long Stories Short
by Jan Risher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Jan Risher took the long way to get from Mississippi to Louisiana with stops in between in Slovakia, Mexica, China, Burkina Faso and more than 40 other countries. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been a Sunday columnist for The Daily Advertiser and has written a column every single Sunday since 2002.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is the collection of columns written over 15 years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman's aim to build her family, build up her community and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.

From her family's move to Louisiana, adoption of a daughter from China, covering Hurricane Katrina, travels near and far, author Jan Risher attempts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, to do her small part to make the world a better place.

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946160331

Published by Lafayette Press, Sans Souci Books, University of Louisiana

on 11th September, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 312

Published by: Sans Souci Books

an imprint of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction & #ShortStories

About Jan Risher

Jan Risher

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. She was managing editor of The Times of Acadiana. Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was an English teacher. She has taught English near and far, in its most basic and most lyrical forms. She continues her career as a freelance writer and now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm. She, her husband and their two daughters have made their home on the banks of the Vermilion River.

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Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Daily Devotions of Inspiration from Life, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Publishing Industry & Trade, Short Stories or Essays, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Stories of Adoption, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. Wilson

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the second release by Marilyn R. Wilson hosted by iRead Book Tours. I was thankful to be a part of her debut release blog tour a few years ago where I learnt about her life’s work and what inspires her to write. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. I am thankful I could host Ms Wilson on this second tour and gain more insight into what inspires her to share this inspiring collection of voices, hearts and lives.

I received a complimentary copy of The Wisdom of Listening direct from the author Marilyn R. Wilson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was keenly interested in wanting to read ‘The Wisdom of Listening’:

I wanted to dig into the heart of how she organised the sequences of discloses within this release as it has a unique rhythm of disclosures – as I initially settled into reading the individual passages, I noted how they strike a hearty balance between a slice of memoir, a candor of conversationalism and the kind of insight you would expect from a woman whose dedicated her life to listening to others who tell their story with the hope of inspiring someone by the experience of hearing their story told.

It is quite true – when she encourages you to read the passages out of sequence from how their arranged – you can take it upon yourself to curate a bit of a personal experiment – which passages are drawing your eye towards them first? Which ones speak to you the most? Try it! You might be pleasantly surprised – as I knew I was as I was reading – I was automatically seeking out more of her own personal declarations – the pieces of this installment in her evolving series of Real People | Real Lives which takes on its own canon of originality with each book she writes – something which struck me as interesting as I was not expecting this to be the case.

Similar to reading anthologies – I took this edition to be of the same vein – a wanderlust of inspiration wherein you are never quite certain which piece or short will draw you into the folds of the message it has left behind for you to find. Each of these pieces curate their own fingerprint of insight into what Ms Wilson has gleamed as an interviewer but also, as an experiencer of life spent observing the keen awareness we all have within us to contemplate as we shift through our transitions – where memory and experience intermix and re-settle the thoughts as they once percolated to mind when inspiration alights within us.

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Notation on Cover Art: Being an artist who wants to increase her toolbox of media choices, one of the future journeys I wish to take visually is into watercolours. Especially coming from a history of using oils and pastels; the effects you can achieve with watercolours never fails to impress me or inspire me. If you see the collective works of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law floating into my feeds on Twitter it is not by accident – she has an incredible gifted eye and story-telling arc of narrative within her paintings which I simply :love: dearly. This cover is a spasm of colour, thoughtfulness and it speaks to sometimes you have calm your voice in order to hear what others are saying – sometimes that requires removing our sensory awareness – to close our eyes in order to see what is being said is a great metaphor to have on the cover.

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening
Subtitle: Pieces of Gold from a decade of interviewing and life
by Marilyn R. Wilson
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

The next time you're out in public, take a moment to look around you. Each and every person you see holds wisdom in their pockets--pieces of gold they've accumulated as they walked their own unique life journey.

Within these pages, Marilyn shares some of the many pieces of gold she has received over her decade-long career. They have been offered to her during interviews, through random encounters and while facing difficult challenges. The most important? We are each unique and exactly who we are meant to be.

Are you ready to dig for gold? All you need to do is be brave, be present in the moment and be open to the possibilities--then start a conversation.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995314726

Also by this author: Life Outside The Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, Author Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson, (Guest Post) The Wisdom of Listening

Published by Influence Publishing Inc.

on 28th May, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 220

Published by: Influence Publishing Inc. (@influencepub)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening by Marilyn Wilson

You might remember my conversation with Ms Wilson or my ruminations on behalf of her first release Life Outside the Box, Volume One – this week, I have the joy of her guesting on Jorie Loves A Story with an insightful response about how she fleshed together her inspiring idea behind her latest release: The Wisdom of Listening.

Converse via: #NonFiction & #RealPeopleRealLives

About Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for interviewing. It all began in 2006 when she answered a Craigslist ad from a NY magazine asking for story submissions. Two were accepted. The first live interview was life changing and Wilson has never looked back. With over 150 interviews now behind her, the love of interviewing is still as strong as ever. Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a “one-on-one” interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same—to share the unique journeys of inspiring individuals.

In 2007, this goal led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry, paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Now on staff at Raine Magazine (NY/Miami/LA), as well as freelancing for other publications, Wilson has taken her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book.

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Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Publishing Industry & Trade, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Vignettes of Real Life