Book Spotlight | “The Undertaker’s Assistant” by Amanda Skenandore

Posted Wednesday, 31 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By:

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “The Undertaker’s Assistant” direct from the publisher Kensignton Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this story appealled to me:

When this novel first arrived in my postbox, I must admit, I was so dearly curious about it, I couldn’t help myself – I immediately dug into the first chapter and didn’t want to put it down! The timing was a bit off for me to conclude my readings of the story on its arrival but one thing was certain, I loved the style and humour of Ms Skenandore!

Being that I enjoy Historical Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers – I thought I might enjoy a story set through the eyes of an embalmer who worked during an age and time where women were not seen as equal to men. Effie was attempting to prove her independence – not just as a female embalmer but as a freedwoman during the Restoration – the period of time after our Civil War in the 1800s. The premise of that kind of work being a passion for a woman seemed like an interesting prospect for a Historical novel to explore and I wanted to see what Skenandore would do with the plot and the character’s growth within Effie’s shoes.

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Book Spotlight | “The Undertaker’s Assistant” by Amanda SkenandoreThe Undertaker's Assistant
by Amanda Skenandore
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Set during Reconstruction-era New Orleans, and with an extraordinary and unforgettable heroine at its heart, The Undertaker’s Assistant is a powerful story of human resilience–and of the unlikely bonds that hold fast even in our darkest moments.

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.”Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies–and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings.

Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters–with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline–introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496713681

Also by this author: The Undertaker's Assistant

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 30th July, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 326

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TheUndertakersAssistant and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Amanda Skenandore

Amanda Skenandore

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 31 July, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

An #Audiobook Spotlight | “Surviving Doodahville” by Ashley Fontainne & Lillian Hansen, narrated by Rebecca Roberts

Posted Saturday, 27 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Surviving Doodahville” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Sara Pascoe on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What inspired me to listen to this audiobook:

When I first played the samper for this audiobook, it felt like an interesting story to listen too. I am definitely attracted to certain kinds of Contemporary & modern narratives within the scope of Women’s Fiction, sagas, intergenerational and multigenerational explorations of ordinary life – which is the particular niche I felt this title would fall inside as I had originally planned to listen to it and review it during my Saturday’s Are Bookish focus of reviews on Jorie Loves A Story – which specifically hightlight either Romance and/or Women’s Fiction titles.

What I hadn’t foreseen is how my life in July would take me away from listening to this audiobook & how in the end, I wasn’t able to attach myself into the story itself; at least, not at this particular point in time.

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An #Audiobook Spotlight | “Surviving Doodahville” by Ashley Fontainne & Lillian Hansen, narrated by Rebecca RobertsSurviving Doodaville
by Ashley Fontainne
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions

“Filled with powerful scenes and great characters! Brings the ’83 Old South to vivid life. One of my all-time favorite reads! Loved it"! (Janelle Taylor, NY Times best-selling author)

The summer of 1983 - the era of big debt, big hair, and big dreams. Seventeen-year-old Kassandra Lawson is excited about starting her senior year of high school. She has a crush on a local hunk, and her best friend, valley girl extraordinaire Liz Hendricks, insists on helping her snag the hot guy - for sure!

July starts out uneventful for Kee and her parents. Her father, Kevin, is a partner at a CPA firm, and her mother, Gail, works as a secretary at the police department. The small family lives an idyllic life in sunny Hacienda Heights, California.

1983 also brings upheaval and strife for the Lawson clan. A death in the family forces Kevin and Gail to make the painful decision to pack up and move to Kevin’s hometown of Daltville, Arkansas.
Each faces daunting challenges adapting to their new life. Gail and Kee aren’t quite sure they can handle the culture shock. They encounter social and racial issues they never faced on the West Coast, strange food, weird dialects, odd customs, and wicked secrets that have the potential to destroy their family.

More than just a coming-of-age story, Surviving Doodahville explores family bonds, racial barriers, and just how much a person is willing to sacrifice for others. The tale is full of humor, action and a touch of mystery, making it a fun romp into the past.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07S9849JW

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Women's Fiction


Published by RMSW Press

on 24 May, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 5 hours and 18 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: RMSW Press

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #SurvivingDoodaville + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

#WomensFiction and #Contemporary Fiction

About Ashley Fontainne

Award-winning and International bestselling author, Ashley Fontainne, is an avid reader, becoming a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters lurking within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley's love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go to when seeking personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated against them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance, focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. Once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answers that question—far and wide.

The short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five touches upon the dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards.

The paranormal thriller entitled The Lie won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense. A movie based on this book, entitled Foreseen, is currently a feature film available on video-on-demand from Amazon.

Ashley delved into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, which released in January of 2015. The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell released in September of 2014.

Ashley teamed up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) and penned a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, released in 2015 and was voted one of the Top 50 Self-Published Books You Should Be Reading in 2015 at www.readfree.ly.

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Posted Saturday, 27 July, 2019 by jorielov in Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Indie Author, Women's Fiction

Author Interview | Discussing a new #HistNov series set during an Arthurian timescape which begins with “Sign of the White Foal” by Chris Thorndycroft

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might remember how consumed I was by the story-telling and historical narrative arc within the Guinevere Tales trilogy by Nicole Evelina? This was the first chance I had to pull myself into the folds of a well-thought out exploration of the Arthurian myth & canon – wherein, I found a wicked intense focus on Guinevere herself, the foundations of Avalon’s history and the curious ways a writer can pull you through a Historical Fantasy series wherein you’re not just captivated by their research for these fabled characters and heroes of the ancient times in our timeline but you feel more anchoured to a part of history which isn’t oft discussed or explored.

As I had such an emotional connection to Evelina’s trilogy, I waited until after I had concluded reading it before I began to read more stories set in, round or next door to her time periods. There is another Historical trilogy I am re-reading late Summer, early Autumn this year – as the first novel released last year; “The Lost Queen” runs parellel to my interests in this timescape. Thus, when I saw “Sign of the White Foal” was touring, I was equally delighted and excited to see how this author would treat the subject and the persons he’s populated within his story.

It is lovely how for each author who stimulates a historical portal to the past, there are others who can pick up from whence we left off with one author and continue our quest to move in and out of periods of history which fascinate our imaginations. I am looking forward to reading “Sign of the White Foal” this week – as originally, I had scheduled to post a review & interview in tandem today on Jorie Loves A Story.

Due to unforeseen illness I needed a slight extension but will be sharing my ruminative thoughts on this novel before the tour concludes. I look forward to your future visit to see what I disclose after reading the story – today, brew your favourite cuppa and enjoy the conversation I had with the novelist whose given us this newest portal into King Arthur and those who were interconnected with Avalon!

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Author Interview | Discussing a new #HistNov series set during an Arthurian timescape which begins with “Sign of the White Foal” by Chris ThorndycroftSign of the White Foal (Interview)
Subtitle: Book One in the Arthur of the Cymry Trilogy
by Chris Thorndycroft
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A generation after Hengest and Horsa carved out a kingdom in the east, a hero of the Britons rises in the west…

480 A.D. The sons of Cunedag have ruled Venedotia for fifty years but the chief of them – the Pendraig – is now dying. His sons Cadwallon and Owain must fight to retain their birthright from their envious cousins. As civil war consumes Venedotia, Arthur – a young warrior and bastard son of the Pendraig – is sent on a perilous quest that will determine the fate of the kingdom.

The Morgens; nine priestesses of the Mother Goddess have found the cauldron of rebirth – a symbol of otherworldly power – and have allied themselves with the enemy. Arthur and six companions are dispatched to the mysterious island of Ynys Mon to steal the cauldron and break the power of the Morgens. Along the way they run into the formidable Guenhuifar whose family have been stewards of Ynys Mon for generations. They need her help. The trouble is, Guenhuifar despises Arthur’s family and all they stand for…

Based on the earliest Arthurian legends, Sign of the White Foal is a rip-roaring adventure of Celtic myth and real history set in the ruins of post-Roman Britain.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781099698132

Also by this author: Sign of the White Foal

Also in this series: Sign of the White Foal


Genres: After Canons, Arthurian Legend, Historical Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by Self Published Author

on 1st July, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

This novel is self-published

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #Avalon and #Arthurian

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 by jorielov in Anglo-Saxon History, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

#PubDay Book Spotlight | “The Girls of Pearl Harbor” by Soraya M. Lane

Posted Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have a special treat for you today! Earlier in February, of this year – I had the joyful pleasure of interacting with Ms Lane during her #HistFicChat! As you might know if you’re following me via Twitter – #HistFicChat is hosted by Vivian Conroy (@VivWrites) which gives readers and authors of Historical Fiction a chance to interact! Aside from my beloved #HistoricalFix chat hosted by Erin Lindsay McCabe (of which has been on hiatus for a year or so now) – this is my next favourite due to the conversations it encourages between everyone who participates!

Sadly due to different reasons which arose through the Spring and Summer months, I haven’t had the chance to pop back round into #HistFicChat. I think the chat might be on hiatus as when I tried to pull up the recent scheduled guess, I was not finding one.

You can read an archive of our chat discussing “The Spitfire Girls” wherein I was delighted about not just discovering more about her writing style but more about the stories which she is passionate about writing! I have a special niche of love in my heart for war dramas – always have – yet, it has been through recent years where I’ve had to amend my search for the war dramas I desire to be reading. Sometimes as a reader, my bookish heart breaks and my soul feels crushed due to how authentically accurate some war dramas are being written. This is a credit to the novelists, yes, but as a reader, I have to be cautious about how I proceed forward.

When it came to Ms Lane’s war dramas – I still remember awaiting her chat and being happily consumed by how her narrator was pulling me into her narratives! I love listening to audiobooks for the full-on immersion experience of how I can feel transported directly into the heart of a novel in a different layer of insight than I can as I read stories in print. I am a traditional reader in that regard, as I only read books in print or audio, but what I love most about audio is how transformative the stories become as there is this pure fusion of an experience as the narrators evoke such a stirringly realistic connection to the characters and the world in which they are building us through their narrations.

Into late Summer, early Autumn, I’ll be listening to my first novel by Ms Lane (“Hearts of Resistance”) and I hope to be listening to more of her releases thereafter, as I am looking forward to getting back my Scribd membership to listen to audiobooks as I had to take a brief hiatus due the last bout of migraines I had in May. Right now in July, I’m six weeks migraine-free and I feel blessed for the reprieve.

Today, however, I wanted to highlight her latest release “The Girls of Pearl Harbour” as I felt it was an incredible premise and a story which I felt was a dramatic one to be told.

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#PubDay Book Spotlight | “The Girls of Pearl Harbor” by Soraya M. LaneThe Girls of Pearl Harbor
by Soraya M. Lane

From the bestselling author of Wives of War comes a harrowing tale of four brave young nurses whose lives change forever in the wake of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

When Grace, April, and Poppy join the US Army Nurse Corps, they see it as little more than an adventure, one made all the better by their first station: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Joined at the hip, idealistic Grace, exuberant Poppy, and brave but haunted April frolic in the sun, attending parties, flirting with the handsome soldiers, and becoming fast friends with seasoned nurse Eva. Like the Hawaiian sun, their future seems warm and bright—until the infamous morning of December 7.

Within just a few horrifying hours, their sparkling hopes turn to black rubble and ash. Now embroiled in a war they never could have imagined, they must decide what truly matters to them and face grief as they never have before. Death may await them—but so do hope and purpose. In the midst of the carnage, can they find happiness and learn to fight not just for their country’s honor but for themselves?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07PLHWP46

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 16th July, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Published by: Lake Union (@AmazonPub)

Follow Lake Union Authors (@LUAuthors) for updates on their releases!

Converse via: #GirlsOfPearlHarbor, #HistNov and #HistFic
as well as #LakeUnionAuthors

This is a Digital First release → print and audiobook releases are forthcoming!

→ Audiobook & Print cross-release scheduled for 10th September, 2019!

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About Soraya M. Lane

Soraya M. Lane

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

Soraya M. Lane (MFA, LLB)

Author

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Posted Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Spotlight of E-Book (ahead of POD/print edition), Historical Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama