Genre: Travelogue

Book Review | “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker” by Stephen Galloway #BloggingForBooks

Posted Sunday, 15 April, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I decided to join the “Blogging for Books” programme (on 9th July, 2014) which is a book for review programme created by the Crown Publishing Group. As a book blogger you are offered books in exchange for an honest review on your book blog as well as the ability to reach new readers when you cross-post your review to the Blogging for Books website. The benefit for the blogger is exposure as a reviewer as they put direct links back to your blog post on the book you select to review as well as your homepage.

I received a complimentary copy of “Leading Lady” direct from the publisher Crown Archetype (an imprint of Crown Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A book blogger’s note of gratitude to Blogging for Books:

It’s hard to admit you’ve forgotten about a book you requested for review, but sometimes it’s the easiest explanation to give as is the case with Leading Lady. I remembered I had requested it closer to the time it arrived last year, but so much happened between that moment and the months afterwards to where I quite literally did manage to forget I had this book on my shelf awaiting to be read! Then, after a hard ending to [2017] and a difficult start to [2018] – you could say, this is the first time I could theoretically get myself re-interested in reading it!

I was properly shocked hearing the Blogging for Books programme was ending – as I did enjoy my brief time participating in the programme – I will miss the insight it gave towards the Non-Fiction releases I was earnestly starting to appreciate getting to know a bit better as I had overlooked seeing which ones were in queue for years, as it was only in the last few years where Non-Fiction has attracted my attention.

I also enjoyed getting to know their INSPY line of Fiction and Non-Fiction – observing their releases and also, finding that they regularly publish a lot of lovely releases for those of us who are foodies at heart by way of cookbooks or books centred on all things divinely kitchenary.

What truly motivated me to request Leading Lady was finding the story itself – I felt pulled into the premise behind who Sherry Lansing was and I wanted to know more about her life. I grew up with a healthy passion of following beloved tv series and motion pictures alike – both interests are still a big part of my life, even if I regularly opt-out of new releases in favour of classical ones. It takes me a bit longer these days to find newer releases I can sink my teeth into – the last of which were: The Mountain Between Us and Murder on the Orient Express – I was quite gobsmacked I found two so close together I loved! Sadly, this is far more rare these days than it had been even a decade ago where I would find several releases a month I would embrace rather than a handful of releases a year if I’m lucky in the years since.

I suppose in a way, I was intrigued by the premise of finding out more about the back-the-camera world of motion pictures. The allure was also appealling to learn about how a woman grew to become the head of studios previously only held by men. I mostly wanted to learn how she exchanged one life for a new one – how she forged her path and how she found her passions in life to sustain the legacy she gave to each industry she endeavoured to give her heart and life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Review | “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker” by Stephen Galloway #BloggingForBooksLeading Lady
Subtitle: Sherry Lansing and the making of a Hollywood groundbreaker
by Stephen Galloway
Source: Publisher via Blogging for Books

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0307405937

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Current Events, Film History | Classic Hollywood, Interviews & Conversations, Motion Pictures and/or Television, Non-Fiction, Travelogue, Women's Studies


Published by Crown Archetype

on 25th April, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 416

 Published By: Crown Archetype

(an imprint of Crown Publishing Group)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook and forthcoming Trade Paperback

Converse on Twitter via: #SherryLansing & #BloggingForBooks

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Posted Sunday, 15 April, 2018 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogging for Books, Book Review (non-blog tour), Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Saints at Devil’s Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail” by Laura Allred Hurtado and Bryon C. Andreasen

Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from the (LDS) Church Historian Press regarding working with them on select non-fiction releases – which interested me as I have been reading LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction for the past two years. My interests in non-fiction (LDS or otherwise) tend to parallel through the historical past (as I love learning about History) and thread through biographical accounts of persons who lived. I love to seek out a variety of topics across different sub-interests of mine – including Science, Philosophy and Feminism as well. Being an ancestral sleuth in my family alongside my Mum, I love finding out the hidden histories not as well known as other aspects of the historical past, too. Therefore, when they approached me about reviewing for them, I was quite keen to find out more about their releases. This marks my first review with a second shortly following: ‘At the Pulpit’ a special overview of LDS Women.

I received a complimentary copy of “Saints at Devil’s Gate” direct from the publisher The Church Historian’s Press (in conjunction with The Church of Latter-day Saints) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

Originally, I was meant to post my review on behalf of ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ in January – however, due to personal reasons (related to life after my father’s stroke) I haven’t been able to post as frequently as I had beforehand – I’ve been spending the past few months re-adjusting to my father’s recovery and being his main caregiver whilst my Mum works full-time in order to offset my father’s recovery. It hasn’t lended itself to feeling very readerly or in the mood to blog – I’ve had to make adjustments to my online life as I re-emerge into my reading life one story at a time. I admit, I haven’t quite found the balance I am seeking but throughout January & February, I can say, my family and I have found positive enroads moving forward with my father’s recovery, as well as keeping observant on how the after effects of his stroke’s are affecting his everyday life.

Having said this – I originally wanted to post this review far ahead of my second review for the LDS Church, however, sometimes in our lives things happen which upset the course we’re walking. The best we can do is try to make amends lateron and follow-up after the dust settles. I’ve been struggling to re-inspire myself forward in my readings – finding that whilst I feel more confident in what I’m doing offline to help my Dad, I haven’t quite transitioned through to finding down-time to focus on things outside our personal sphere. I’d like to find a way to read and blog more regularly similar to the pace I was starting to set forth as my ‘new regular norm’ last Autumn, as despite pairing down my commitments, I was finding reading several books a week to be quite enjoyable – especially with a more relaxed pace of deadlines.

I am hoping with each new post and book I consume now, will be one story closer to finding my bookish spirit renewed as I inch towards balancing being a caregiver and a hearty reader of stories – coming full circle since the fateful day I watched my father have a stroke before the paramedics and doctors were involved. Some events cause small ripples of changes and other times, our lives change in such distinctive ways, it takes us a bit of time to ‘catch-up’ to realising we’re not quite the same as we were but that doesn’t mean life won’t continue forward – it’s simply we need to allow ourselves a bit more breathing space to sort it all out. Find our way, and hope everyone along the way understands our absences where we cannot always pull things together.

The reason I wanted to accept receiving ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ is because it’s a photographically inspired art book – following in the footsteps of the Mormon Pioneers who went West in search of a new place to call home. Through my ancestral research – I have come to find out more about how all of our ancestors made their way in the world. Courtesy of the LDS Church for providing us with the best resource to seek out our ancestors: FamilySearch.org. I’ve mentioned this previously on my blog – how thankful I am to Family Search and the LDS Church for providing all of us a method of researching our family and ancestral lines.

Although I am non-LDS Protestant, part of what I researched led me to find I have Pioneers of the LDS Church in my ancestral past – where a marriage separated part of my ancestral family. The wife of one of my ancestors had to say ‘goodbye’ to her family as they moved West – taking the long road out to Utah, whilst staying behind to start her family, having been recently married. This is as much as I can pull together by what is left behind to be found. At least, I think this is what happened! There is always an error of caution when researching your ancestral heritage – are the pieces pulling together in the right way and are we interpreting the clues in the right way to understand the lives of our ancestors? I am unsure if I will find more at a later date or not, but for now, I thought it was keenly interesting on the fringes of finding out about this – a book about the Mormon Trail was available to be reviewed!

I also appreciated the Church Historian’s Press for being open to having a diverse group of reviewers and book bloggers receiving their releases from different backgrounds – as this highlights something I’ve been trying to understand better about why there is such a division of interest in INSPY Non-Fiction and Fiction releases. INSPY is the shortened word for Inspirational Fiction and Non-Fiction – the main umbrella of literature for faith-based literature – not limited to one religion nor branch of Christianity; as sometimes I think is wrongly perceived. I read INSPY Lit as it was intended – across cultural and religious backgrounds whilst finding inspiring stories in both fictional and realistic (non-fiction) settings of interest.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNon-Fiction Book Review | “Saints at Devil’s Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail” by Laura Allred Hurtado and Bryon C. AndreasenSaints at Devil's Gate
Subtitle: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail
by (Artist) Bryan Mark Taylor, (Artist) John Burton, (Artist) Josh Clare, Bryon C. Andreasen, Laura Allred Hurtado
Source: Direct from Publisher

The book showcases fifty-two landscapes paintings of the Mormon Trail, the 1,300 mile route from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City that some 70,000 Latter-day Saint pioneers travelled between 1846 and 1869. Each painting is paired with quotations from the original journals and reminiscences of pioneers who made the journey.

The paintings were created from 2011 to 2016 by award-winning Latter-day Saint landscape artists John Burton, Josh Clare, and Bryan Mark Taylor. Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum in Southern California, said that these artists are 'noted for their remarkable ability to paint beautiful and elegant works, filled with natural light and brilliant colour.' He added that the paints will 'appeal to all viewers, those who seek meaning and enlightenment in the historical background of the trail s well as those who seek beauty in art and nature'.

The pairings of the paintings with historical quotations allows modern-day readers to share in some of the feelings that Mormon pioneers experienced while travelling west. For example, Bryan Mark Taylor's Looking Back which depicts Nauvoo as seen from across the Mississippi River in Iowa is paired with a May 1846 excerpt from Wilford Woodruff's journal: 'I left Nauvoo for the last time perhaps in this life. I looked upon the temple & city of Nauvoo as I retired from it and felt to ask the Lord to preserve it as a monument of the sacrifice of his Saints'.

Laura Allred Hurtado, global acquistions art curator for the Church History Museum points out that 'not all the experiences of the Mormon pionners were tragic. Journal entries capture the mundane and practical toiling of daily life', such as finding places to wash clothes, picking flowers, and dancing and playing music.

Pioneeers also commented regularly, sometimes quite poetically, on the beauty and grandeur of the land they were traversing. Referencing bluffs she had passed in western Nebraska on the journey in summer 1853, English convert Hannah Tapfield King wrote, 'The Bluff ruins... are very beautiful - I should like to have an explanation about them - but I suppose none know their history - They stand out in bold relief with a silent eloquence that speaks trumpet-tongued to every thinking mind - They are looking eternally silent.'

The new book accompanies an exhibition of the same name that opened at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on November 17. The free exhibition is open to the public and will run through August 2017. The exhibition is also available online via LDS Church History Department.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 978-0-692-78585-0

Genres: Art & Art History, Biography / Autobiography, Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Fine Art & the Natural World, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Interviews & Conversations, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Travelogue


Published by The Church Historian's Press, The Church History Department

on November, 2016

Format: Softcover Edition

Published by: The Church Historian Press (imprint of) The Church History Department

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Formats Available: Softcover

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #ArtBooks. #OilPaintings, #LDSChurch, #MormonTrail, #MormonPioneers

About (Artist) Bryan Mark Taylor

Bryan Mark Taylor

A world traveler and an accomplished painter, Bryan Mark Taylor has won numerous top awards at the most prestigious plein air invitationals and is regularly featured in western art magazines. His work can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections around the world. He received his BA from Brigham Young University in 2001 and his MFA from Academy of Art University in 2005. He lives with his wife and four children in Alpine, Utah.

About (Artist) John Burton

John Burton

John Burton is an award-winning oil painter best known for his stirring and vivid depictions of the transitory beauty of our ever-changing world. A graduate of Academy of Art University, Burton has traveled and painted around the globe, always maintaining his home in the American West. Burton’s deep American roots permeate the rich, natural character of his art and inform his work’s reverent tone. John is married with four children.

About (Artist) Josh Clare

Josh Clare

Josh Clare graduated with a BFA in illustration from BYU-Idaho in 2007 and has earned numerous awards, including Artists’ Choice at the 2012 Laguna Plein Air Invitational and second place in the Raymar 6th Annual Art Painting Competition. His work has been featured in Western Art & Architecture, Southwest Art, and Art of the West. He lives with his wife, Cambree, and their children, Nathan, Anna, and Emily, in Cache Valley, Utah.

About Bryon C. Andreasen

Bryon C. Andreasen

Bryon C. Andreasen earned a JD at Cornell University and a PhD in nineteenth-century American history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently a historian at the Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Previously he was the research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, where he also edited the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association and helped found the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition that pioneered heritage tourism in Illinois.

About Laura Allred Hurtado

Laura Allred Hurtado

Laura Allred Hurtado works as the global acquisitions art curator for the Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. She has curated exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, CUAC Contemporary, Alice Gallery, Rio Gallery, Snow College, and the Granary Art Center. Previously, she worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Family Life, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, The Church Historian's Press

Blog Book Tour | “Reef Libre: An In-Depth Look at Cuban Exceptionalism” by Robert Wintner

Posted Tuesday, 17 November, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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 part of the blog tour for “Reef Libre” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book and DVD (accompaniment to the book) direct from the publisher Taylor Trade Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why the oceans have fascinated my mind:

I grew up surrounded by the oceans as my state is one of the Gulf States hugged so close to shoreline we’re perpetually below sea level; a fact that never shied me away from wondering which hurricane season might cause catastrophic destruction; not only to the humans who live within my state but to the ecological habitats who call this area home. There have been many disasters within the Gulf region since I was bourne and unfortunately they were not limited to mother nature. Each time something has happened to cause a disruption in the harmony of the natural world of my state and the surrounding ones, a part of my heart has been full of remorse and grief.

Mankind has not found kindness nor humility in understanding there are limits to what we can effectively do and what we can not undo due to our greed and our progression forward through industry. Too often the progress of mankind is placed first rather than taking into consideration the benefit of living in conjunction with the natural world; in this case, the oceans. The oceans were studied quite widely throughout my school years, but it wasn’t until 7th grade where I truly caught on to the specifics of weather patterns, wave formations, tidal histories and the incredible density of how large our oceans are whilst cross-compared to how much of the oceans have been mapped, researched and understood on even a basic level of insight. It’s truly our greatest ‘unknown’ frontier outside of Space.

I grew up going to the beach as oft as time would allow and part of my appeal of visiting those sandy shores were to feel the connection from the sand under my feet to the humming clarity of the waves. There is something altogether spiritual about walking the beach, acknowledging the shells and connecting to the lifeblood of what the oceans give us per annum. I originally felt I would grow up to be professionally connected to the oceans, as I explored different options from interspecies communications (i.e. dolphins or whales; similar scope to Zeus and Roxanne); dolphin research; Nautical Archaeology; Marine Biology or one of the many sub-fields therein that stimulated a personal curiosity to know more. I even yearned to get my PADI license until I realised that I appreciated being a bit more disconnected from this enveloping world of dark and light; of where the underwater ecology is as reverent as the one on the surface and mimics certain attributes therein.

I found that my greater passion was to become a writer whose stories would be soulfully connected to the ocean and allow me the chance through research to develop more knowledge than what I could have gained if I had selected only one field to pursue. I appreciate the freedom being a writer and photographer can yield, but also, it’s finding a way to give credence to an ecological living system that so many of this world take for granted. If non-fiction releases like Reef Libre and my own personal wanderings within fiction can shed a light on the beauty and the case for conservation with preservation forward thinking solutions, I think we have a chance to reset the balance we’ve destroyed.

Blog Book Tour | “Reef Libre: An In-Depth Look at Cuban Exceptionalism” by Robert WintnerReef Libre
Subtitle: Cuba: The Last, Best Reefs in the World. An in-depth look at Cuban Exceptionalism
by Robert Wintner
Source: Publisher via iRead Book Tours

Cuba reefs host apex predators and coral cover at optimal levels. While Cuban reef vitality may be linked to economic default and no shoreline development, no agricultural pesticides or fertilizers and limited human population growth, the Castro regime is aggressively developing its reef potential.

Seas to the south are now 100% shark protected.

Most Cuba travelogues advise “getting off the beaten path,” but Reef Libre examines that path, to see where it might lead as things change. Will Cuba reefs remain protected? Or is this perilous age of natural decline a last chance to see a healthy reef system?

Robert Wintner and the Snorkel Bob Jardines de la Reina Expedition herein provide narrative insight with photos and video. First stop is the baseline: Havana urban density. Down south at Cayo Largo, reef collapse seems imminent with 600 guests changing daily, and the phosphate-laden laundry water flowing directly to the deep blue sea. Will Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism step up with the Jardines de la Reina paradigm? Rising from the Golfo de Ana María, Jardines is a thousand square miles of mangrove estuary, for ages compromised by constant extraction of its biggest predators, taken as food. Protected, it now rises on the world reef stage.

A DVD comes with the book in a paper sleeve glued to the inside cover. Reef Libre, the movie, runs about an hour.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781630760731

Genres: Current Events, Digital Photography, Ecology, Marine Biology, Non-Fiction, Oceanography, Science, Travelogue, Wildife & Nature Photography


Published by Taylor Trade Publishing

on 1st February, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 272

Available Formats: Hardback with the DVD

Published by: Taylor Trade Publishing

An imprint of Rowan & Littlefield (@RLPGBooks) known for their academic publications within the Humanities and Social Sciences. They also focus on Educational publications.

Converse via: #ReefLibre

About Robert Wintner

Robert Wintner

Best known as Snorkel Bob in Hawaii and around the world, Robert Wintner captures Cuba above and below the surface with urgency and hope. As a pioneer in fish portraiture, Wintner demonstrated social structure and etiquette in reef society. Reef Libre goes to political context, in which human folly will squander Cuba’s reefs as well—unless natural values can at last transcend political greed. As pundits joust over who did what to whom and why, Wintner ponders reef prospects in view of political changes.

Robert Wintner has authored many novels and story collections. Reef Libre is his fourth reef commentary with photos and his first overview of survival potential in a political maelstrom. He lives and works in Hawaii, still on the front lines of the campaign to stop the aquarium trade around the world.

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Posted Tuesday, 17 November, 2015 by jorielov in Aquaculture, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Charity & Philanthropy, Climate Change, Conservation, Ecology, Education & Learning, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Environmental Solutions, Indie Author, Life in Another Country, Marine Biology, Nature & Wildlife, Non-Fiction, Oceanography, Preservation, Science, Social Change, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue