Category: Religious Orders

Blog Book Tour | “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda Lafferty

Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 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 originally found BookSparks PR last Spring, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge this year instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel.  I received a complimentary copy of “The Shepherdess of Siena” direct from the publicist at BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I will be blogging about my contributions and participation in the Summer Reading Challenge 2015 because something quite remarkable happened to allow me to read the first six novels of the ten I selected to blog about. Mum’s the word until I post a very special edition of ’10 Bookish / Not Bookish Thoughts’!

On reading about the Renaissance and stories about strong women:

I fell in love with Renaissance Italy as a child, swept away by the artisans and artists during the re-genesis of creative voice and freedom of expression across their societal divides. The Renaissance is fraught with drama depending on where you alight during it’s different periods of time, but one thing remains: the will of the people to not only overcome what is happening but to dig deeper into a well of strength to overtake what is wrong and shift forward into the future on a sturdier path towards change. It was an incredible time in history, and it is the stories of the people that I am always drawn towards most when I pick up a historical work of fiction.

To tuck inside a commoners or royals life, seeing what they might have seen or felt what they might have bled out of their hearts whilst surviving or yielding to the fray of the hour. Historical fiction I find is enriching because it presents a different worldview than our contemporary timescape; it knits together ideas and motivations to conquer issues which have had lasting results even in our own generations. I like seeing how the people rose to the occasions they were presented with living through but moreso to that end, I like reading about their ordinary lives. Even a royal family at the end of the day are merely who they are behind closed doors — the circumstances of their royal origins do not limit their curiosity but rather increase it, as who are they when the world is not looking?

On the opposite end of it, I love unearthing little unknown pockets of the historical past, elements of how time, life, family, and evolution of thought can expand itself into a boiling stew of passion and declaration for liberty to live on one’s own terms. Strong women in fiction is awe-inspiring, but my favourite preference is finding the women who lived so very long ago held within them a chalice of strength written into the fiber of all women before and after them.

Blog Book Tour | “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda LaffertyThe Shepherdess of Siena: a novel of Renaissance Tuscany
by Linda Lafferty
Source: Direct from Publicist

The Shepherdess of Siena takes us to the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside in a lush drama of untamed horses and wild hearts played out in historic Siena.

Linda Lafferty, bestselling author of The Bloodletter’s Daughter, releases her fourth novel The Shepherdess of Siena. This riveting new novel is based on the real life tale of Virgina Tacci who at age fourteen rode the Palio Horse tournament in 1581 bareback. Linda’s love of all things equestrian and her extensive travel to Italy paints a vivid picture of Tuscany with passion and truth.

Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has big dreams of competing in Siena’s Palio horse race. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, her peasant class and her gender supremely limit Virginia’s possibilities. Inspired by the daring equestrian feats of Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, Virgina’s dreams don’t seem so difficult to reach.

The Shepherdess of Siena brings alive the rich history of one of Tuscany’s most famed cities and this lush, captivating saga draws an illuminating portrait of one girl with an unbreakable spirit.

 

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 31st March, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 616

Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #ShepherdessOfSiena

About Linda Lafferty

Linda Lafferty taught in public education for nearly three decades, in schools from the American School of Madrid to the Boulder Valley schools to the Aspen school district. She completed her PhD in bilingual special education and went on to work in that field, as well as teaching English as a second language and bilingual American history.

Horses are Linda’s first love, and she rode on the University of Lancaster’s riding team for a year in England. As a teenager, her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo, and she played in her first polo tournament when she was seventeen.

Linda also loves Siena, Italy, and the people of the region and has returned to the city half a dozen times in the past three years to research her novel. Linda is the author of three previous novels: The Bloodletter’s Daughter, The Drowning Guard, and House of Bathory. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Lafferty's Author Page on Book Browse

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 15th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BookSparks, Catherine de Medici, Catholicism, Coming-Of Age, Father-Daughter Relationships, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Isabella de' Medici, Italy, Library Love, Literary Fiction, Literature of Italy, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Nun, Orphans & Guardians, Religious Orders, Renaissance Tuscany, Sisterhood friendships, Soundcloud, the Renaissance (14th-17th Centuries), Tuscany, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Rights

Blog Book Tour | “Last Night at the Blue Angel” by Rebecca Rotert

Posted Thursday, 30 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 3 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 be a tour stop on “Last Night at the Blue Angel” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

A Note on the Cover Art Design:

I can honestly say that this is one time where I prefer the cover art design on the first edition rather than the P.S. Edition, as you will see via the SoundCloud Novel Excerpt and the After Story feature below the review, the original design I felt befit the story much better than this new version which only sought to confuse me when I first received the book. You have to look at it from afar if you can even hope to understand what the image is representing whereas the original design had the elements of the synopsis held within the gaze. The colour hues of the original fit better to as far as atmosphere of the kind of story your about to read.

Blog Book Tour | “Last Night at the Blue Angel” by Rebecca RotertLast Night at the Blue Angel
by Rebecca Rotert
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Set against the turbulence of 1960s Chicago—a city in transformation—and its legendary jazz scene, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a lush and immensely heartfelt mother-daughter tale about a talented but troubled singer’s relationship with her precocious ten-year-old daughter.

 It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is teeming with the tensions of the day—segregation, sexual experimentation, the Cold War and Vietnam—but it is also home to some of the country’s most influential jazz. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. But when her big break, the cover of Look magazine, finally arrives, it carries with it an enormous personal cost. Sensual and magnetic, Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet self-destructive woman whose charms tend to hurt those around her, and no one knows this better than her daughter, Sophia.

As the only child of a single mother growing up in an adult world, Sophia is wise beyond her years, a casualty of her mother’s desperate struggle for fame and adoration. Unsettled by her home life, she harbors a terrible fear that her world could disappear at any moment, and compulsively maintains a list of everyday objects she might need to reinvent should nuclear catastrophe strike. Her only constant is the colorful and unconventional family that surrounds her and her mother, particularly the photographer, Jim, who is Sophia’s best friend, surrogate father, and protector—but Jim is also deeply in love with Naomi.

Weaving between the perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a poignant and unforgettable story about what happens when our passion for the life we want is at sharp odds with the life we have. Part stylish period piece, part heartbreaking family drama, it’s a novel rife with revelations, a vivid and propulsive page-turner—and the major debut of an extraordinary new writer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on 14th April, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 352

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, P.S. Edition paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #LastNightAtTheBlueAngel

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Listen to an Excerpt of the Novel:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About Rebecca Rotert

Rebecca Rotert received an M.A. in literature from Hollins College, where she was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets prize. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and other publications. She's also an experienced singer and songwriter, who has performed with several bands, and a teacher with the Nebraska Writers Collective. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. This is her first novel.

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Posted Thursday, 30 April, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Chicago, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Jazz Musicians, Jazz Singers, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Nun, Photography, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Soundcloud, The Sixties, TLC Book Tours

Book Cover Reveal & Announcement | #CoorahCreek No.2 coming soon from #ChocLit (@ChocLitUK) by Janet Gover A Western Outback small towne where the close-knit community truly uplifts your joy of visiting Coorah Creek!

Posted Saturday, 21 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

As you might have recalled, Flight to Coorah Creek was one of my favourite ChocLit reads of the past year, as I started reading novels by ChocLitUK authors in January of 2014. As I enter into my second year of reading ChocLitUK, I am overjoyed at the journey I’ve taken through their backlist and new releases thus far along, inasmuch as I have a wicked lovely ‘ChocLit Next Reads list‘ which continues to grow each month I find there is another ‘must read’ ChocLit novel being released!
A year ago, most new releases were available in print, however, in 2015 they are debuting in ebook versions prior to audiobook and print, which will follow suit in latter months. Imagine my wicked sweet surprise in being contacted by Ms Gover to host a special ‘book announcement’ and series spotlight on my blog overnight!? I had become enchanted with Coorah Creek for it’s representation of ‘small towne Romance’ and hearty fiction set within a Western / Outback world!
One of my happily devoured sections of Romance are the stories set in small townes, such as Serenity where we greet the women who make up the Sweet Magnolia’s (a sisterhood friendship amongst career women at different stages of their lives; sharing life, love, memories, and a lot of sweet tea!) penned by Sherryl Woods. Woods has a way of endearing you with realistic themes and compelling drama inside a series that remains true to itself per each new installment of the women who live in Serenity.
Cedar Cove came into my life years before the tv series came to Hallmark Channel, as I honestly encouraged Ms MacComber to pitch the series and her Angel stories to the network as I felt even back in the early 2000s, MacComber would be a ‘good fit’ for Hallmark’s collection of sweet romances and quality television in a sex crazy world where relationships are rarely seen on film. I loved Cedar Cove for it’s Pacific Northwest setting as much as I loved the familiarity of the characters from novel to novel. I am unsure of the translation of it to tv, as I missed the 1st season as it aired.
Coorah Creek wooed me with it’s rugged outback location, it’s salt of the earth quirky characters, and it’s willingness to not only become a safe harbour for someone seeking solace from the world at large, but a place of a new beginning where you can put down roots and carve out your own destiny. Coorah Creek has the beauty of a close-knitted community you find within small townes, against the eloquently vivid backdrop of the Outback; where horses, humans, and wild blue skies greet each other. Gover had me so over the moon for Coorah Creek, even as I read Flight to Coorah Creek I was envisioning myself returning; yet that felt strange, how do you return if a sequel isn’t even known?
There are other small townes and other writers who pen compelling instances of what I consider a wicked good read for small towne life, community connectiveness, nature and wildlife in close proximity to where you lay your hat, and the beauty of not being clogged inside the wheel of chaos each time you want to step outside your door as most larger areas give you the impression of whilst your there. I was bourne and bred in the city, but I had a chance to exchange it for the country; now my heart is half-tethered to both worlds; seeking a way to find balance between convenience and serenity of spirit. Not to mention a slower pace and a calming rhythm of being connected with neighbours, community members, and the natural world.
The news originally broke inside a #ChocLitSaturdays chat (prior to when I changed our tag) that Coorah Creek was not singularly defined by Flight to Coorah Creek but merely a first greeting in which to become acquainted and book our residence for a long-term stay at the only Inn in towne (it’s above the ‘better’ bar; smiles). A place where you can happily snuggle into jeans, boots, and a fedora whilst embracing the freedom of riding horses, kicking up dust in jeeps, and being there for your neighbours.
I was overjoyed to throw a Pub Party for Ms Gover on #ChocLitSaturday today! The details of which will partially be revealed on this post, but will also alight when I write up the compliment blog post for today’s convo! It was a happy hour full of #booklove, #bookjoy, and the camaraderie amongst friends who’ve only known each other for just shy of a year!  At least, I’ve only known the ChocLit’ers for the twelvemonths I’ve been hosting the chat, as we’ve had the chance to get to know each other off-blog and out in life. The convos are the blissful happy moments I cherish, and to celebrate a new release by an author I already smashingly love reading, wells, what could be better?!
Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

The Wild One {Coorah Creek No.2 } by Janet Gover

Previously I read and reviewed Flight to Coorah Creek

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK), 3 April 2015 (PRE-ORDER time!)

Available Formats: Ebook; more formats forthcoming!

Converse via: #ChocLit & #CoorahCreek

Illustrated By: Berni Stevens

 @circleoflebanon | Writer | Illustrator

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Small Towne Fiction

the Australian Outback | Second Chances

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 21 March, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Australia, Australian Literature, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Cookery, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Divorce & Martial Strife, Domestic Violence, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Military Fiction, Modern British Literature, Nun, Passionate Researcher, Photography, Psychological Abuse, Religious Orders, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Second Chance Love, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Western Fiction, Writing Style & Voice