Category: Religious Orders

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

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Listen to an Excerpt of the Novel:

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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, 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, 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

Blog Book Tour | “Taking the Cross” by Charles Gibson a #histfic of epic historical impact in regard of the Crusades

Posted Monday, 20 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Taking the Cross by Charles Gibson

Published By: Köehler Books (@)
Official Author Websites:  Site @_CharlesGibson| Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TakingTheCross & #FranceBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Taking the Cross” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Charles Gibson, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Blog Book Tour | “Taking the Cross” by Charles Gibson a #histfic of epic historical impact in regard of the CrusadesTaking the Cross
by Charles Gibson
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Taking the Cross is a historical novel by Charles Gibson about the little-known crusade launched by the Roman Catholic Church against fellow Christians in France, a time of great religious turmoil and conflict.

In the Middle Ages not all crusades were fought in the Holy Land. A two-pronged threat to the Catholic Church was growing within Christendom itself and Pope Innocent III called for the crusade against heresy to eliminate both the Albigenses and Valdenses, two movements that did not adhere to Church orthodoxy.

Andreas, a knight who longs to go on crusade to the Holy Land, finds himself fighting against one in his French homeland. While Andreas wages war for the lives and religious freedom of his people, a battle rages within his soul.

Eva, a young woman of a new religious order, the Beguines, discovers a secret message within a letter about the death of her father in the Holy Land. As she learns more of her father, she is forced to confront the profound and perilous spiritual inheritance he has bequeathed to her. A legacy for which she must fight.

Hearing of the feats of Andreas, Eva senses her inheritance may lead her to him.

Filled with battles of the flesh and the spirit, Taking the Cross reveals a passionate aspect of Medieval times where some fought ardently for the freedom of others.

Content Warning for Readers: some medieval warfare violence

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Series: Taking the Cross,


Also in this series:


Genres: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Military Fiction


Published by Köehler Books

on 1st October, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 269

About the Author:

Charles Gibson

Charles Gibson first started reading about history and geography when he was seven. He wrote his first short story at the age of nine. He continues to read and write whenever he can. Charles has spent many years researching the Middle Ages and the Crusades, and has traveled to the Languedoc region in France. He has combined the passions of history and geography and prose to finish his first novel, Taking the Cross. It takes place during the summer of 1209 in France. Charles Gibson has previously written for the inspirational book series God Allows U-Turns as well as for a Minnesota newspaper. He also works as a project manager for a medical device company. He also loves travel writing, and would like to start his own magazine some day about travel as a journey through life. The dominant theme of his writing is freedom.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
He lives in Minnesota with his lovely wife and energetic sons.

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Reflections on the Crusades:

War is always a brutal affair, but the Crusades always felt anguished a bit more fiercely to me than most battles forged and fought prior to their beginning and long since after they were quelled. The Crusades were layered with rife – a history of existence that set them apart for their breadth and depth of importance, yet what I always felt at the heart of the Crusades that had fallen a bit out of view were the people who lived through them. The people whose battle cries might never have been heard, as so very few of the commoners were able to survive the brutal surges of where the knights and the armies had gathered together to fight for what each side of the warring factions felt were the reasons for the engagements themselves. Each side was just as fiercely loyal in their approach and in their reasons for fighting that the ability to unravel where everyone stood and why they fought for what they believed in must have been an incredible archive of knowledge for those who transcribed the Crusades originally! I could not even put to thought how many hours it would have taken to go over the testimonies left behind nor the oral histories mixed into the journals. The original historians and scholars who unearthed the particulars will forever have my gratitude and mark of appreciation, as they left behind a tome of insight and a lot of unanswered questions.

I was always a bit curious to seek out the stories of the everyday citizens who were caught betwixt and between the Crusades themselves, as much as I oft wondered how the battles during the Civil War must have had repercussions for those who lived so close to where the individual battles were fought, won, or lost. War has a lot of layers threaded through it and the humanity of who was caught in it’s sight were always a keen interest of mine to research.

My Review of Taking the Cross:

Gibson doesn’t back down from arriving the reader straight into the heart of the battle of where this particular story alights during the Crusades of the 13th Century. An ordinary road in the Languedoc region of France has become a battle-scared visage of the reality of a young knight’s life of attempting to not only fight for his people’s religious freedom but to draw out a measure of honour whilst creating a life in service to his countrymen. We meet Andreas in full arrogance of not understanding his Viscount’s interest in the refugees who are on the road to escape further persecution and attack from the outsiders. What Andreas perceives as wasted time, his leader views as a measure of mercy to those under his guidance and rule; inasmuch as an opportune exchange of information that could become necessary to have lateron.

The section where Eva is first introduced to us, is one of my favourites, as we see her as a woman of twenty before her thoughts and re-collective memories take a stronghold in the text. From thence we find her as a young girl of ten, of whom is listening to her Mum tell her about the Beguine community as much as the benefits of being a Beguine woman can have in the age of where women had less freedom than they do today. Old English words and French words are interspersed throughout the story, but none of them are intrusive nor distracting to the reading Taking the Cross as I give full credit to Gibson for utiltising their inclusions in such a natural way of understanding their meanings. When Eva disclosed her visions and her second sight starting to emerge out of anguished sorrow, I felt a murmuring of Hildegard echoing through my heart.

Eva’s character for me was the channeling center of the story, as her path in life was quite a unique one to step into as she was given certain gifts which afforded her a great purpose throughout Taking the Cross. Each step of the way, as we unlock hidden glimpses of her patronage and settle inside the ruminations of her own heart, soul, and spirit, we start to acknowledge that she has been given an enlightenment of knowledge not always etched onto a person of her birth. Eva’s courage and her fortitude to rustle out information that gave keener insight to unravell a bit of the puzzling circumstances her region was undergoing provided a bit of foreshadow as much as intrigue. Eva’s best gift as a character is giving the reader a way into the soul of the story itself — to ground us in the suspense and the tentacles of unlocking where this part of history has such a hard time in asserting it’s voice.

The usage of honeybees in the undercurrent context of warfare and alertness towards a humming awareness of how an attack can come without warning was a bit of cleverness on the part of Gibson. I have a fondness for bees myself, but evenso, I know they can be used against their natural will to effectively mark terror on those who would never suspect a bee could do more harm than good. The method in which the bee’s are used is a viable option as most of what is considered medicinal can be turnt against us if darkness erodes through the light. Another vein of the intellectual mystery that acts like a shroud over the characters caught in the web of both deceit and war.

There is a pursuit within this novel that is not entirely circumvented by the turnt of the last page, as this is meant to be the first jaunt of a series forthcoming — yet within the chapters of what is revealed is a daunting task to undertake a challenge of shielding the world from a great darkness that never should be unleashed or contained. There are many elements of what could be viewed as paranormal activity threaded throughout the story, but they go to a greater cause to not only alarm the reader of what was at stake during this particular Crusade but what this Crusade might have been on the throes of uncovering. Not everything that is once lost is lost to time nor can everything that becomes lost be in need of finding. Gibson gives his readers a taut eclipse of a narrative that begs you to delve further into his next writings in order to glimpse the full scope of what he is giving us to read. This is an incredible debut novel because the suspense continues to heighten and pull you deeper behind the veil of what you once thought the story was writ about rather than what is starting to become revealed at it’s conclusion.

On the historical artifact styling of Charles Gibson:

By saying ‘historical artifact’ of a style on behalf of a historical fiction writer, in this particular sense I am referring to the fact that Gibson has a singular passion for the historical past (especially in regards to the Medieval era), and picking up his tome of work is like uncovering a historical artifact at an archaeological and anthropological dig! The way in which he has the keen insight to etch in the facts concurrent with the narrative pacing of his story allows the reader to settle inside this oft overlooked era of intriguing history and become quite attached to where his muse is leading him to take his readership! It is a difficult balance to achieve, because the Crusades are heavily writ about throughout historical fiction (across mainstream & inspirational markets of literature as much as across platforms of major trade & indie releases) — yet, I found a truly original voice in Gibson’s style reflective of his passion for freedom for all people and in all ways freedom is not only necessary but an innate right of everyone to have in their life. This is the second author who pens a style of historical fact into historical fiction on an era of history that is lit aflame with realism. The first author (George Steger) penned: Sebastian’s Way: the Pathfinder, another very unique find that breathes a lot light out of darkness inside it’s story.

Although there are instances of war visuals inside this early chapter of the novel, I cannot say that Gibson crossed the line as far as what I can handle or not handle as far as what a war drama would include inside’s sleeves. He sharpens the bow of imagery just enough to give you the full experience of being on the ground where the knights are engaged, but he doesn’t bridge that gap with full-on imagery that would be too horrific to read. In this, I appreciate his dexterity and exclusion! I was also thankful that I had read Citadel prior to Taking the Cross in order to have an understanding for the region in which the story is set. Two different war dramas during two pivotal times in history centuries apart, and yet, the fight for freedom remained ever present.

I shall have to keep vigilant in knowing when the second novel of this series is released!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Virtual Road Map for “Taking the Cross” Blog Tour:

Taking the Cross Virtual Book Tour via France Book Tours

I will be featuring an Author Interview with Charles Gibson on the tour in forthcoming days!
Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

 on my Bookish Events page!

Please take note of the Related Articles as they were hand selected due to being of cross-reference importance in relation to this book review. This applies to each post on my blog where you see Related Articles underneath the post. Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the further readings which are offered.

I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon!
{SOURCES: Cover art of “Taking the Cross”, book synopsis, author photograph of Charles Gibson, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. France Book Tours badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Beguines – (charlesgibson.net)

Join the Quest – (charlesgibson.net)

The Languedoc & Provence – (charlesgibson.net)

Heretics – (charlesgibson.net)

Tweets in regards to “Taking the Cross”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Monday, 20 October, 2014 by jorielov in 13th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Beguine, Blog Tour Host, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Castles & Estates, Christianity, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Good vs. Evil, Historical Fiction, Historical Perspectives, Honeybees, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Military Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Religious History, Religious Orders, The Crusades, War Drama, Warfare & Power Realignment, World Religions