Genre: Women's Studies

Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.

Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might recall, I happily read a novel in January which was set in Russia and captialised on a living person’s life – my latest in finding a compelling Biological Historical narrative which was so wickedly writ to the truth of the woman’s life as to make you feel you had walked a proper mile in her shoes. The author and I staid in touch after my review posted during her lovely blog tour – as I had hoped all along to feature her in a guest post talking about specific points of her story-line (the cross-references to today’s current events) and the curious hidden meanings (if any) behind the choice in ‘title’.

This lead to a wonderfully planned out essay which Ms Laam has written to be shared with all of you – I love how she talks to the purposeful meaning behind what is truly ‘lost’ and how the theme behind the title is played throughout the story, further revealling the homage seen in the title. Whilst I had observed whilst I was reading the novel, there are a lot of carry-overs into today’s society about the rights for women and the further need for our rights to be upheld in all instances (not just in the workplace). Natayla did not live in an age of freedom where she would have more choices than those which were availed to her and in many ways, her story does read like a tragic love story. I personally felt Natayla had been given a bad rap in History – as I sided with the author’s own reflections after I finished reading her rendition about her life.

Too often women in History are misunderstood or their motives are misconstrued in modern eras – in Natayla’s case, I don’t believe any historians had fully given her a chance to have her voice heard much less understood. When you read about what she was facing and what she was going through – your heart softens to her plight. You can definitely feel empathy for her and in the end, what is truly sad is how it all unfolds into such an emotionally charged ending. I am unsure if she’s a victim of the times or a victim of how sometimes you can become a victim of circumstances which are never fully resolved. In her case, love was not something without conditions placed against it and her life was never truly her own.

I hope you enjoy reading Ms Laam’s guest essay about “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” – perhaps inspiring you to pick up a copy of this dearly inspiring Historical narrative or if you’ve already read it – perhaps this will help clue you into things you’ve observed whilst you were reading it. Either way, be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy ruminating about what the author leaves behind to be pondered!

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Why I was interested in learning more about the hidden meaning behind this title:

There are so many keen moments of beautiful prose in this narrative – of observations on ordinary objects, to the traditions of holidays and the little touches of rooting us within the time-line of History, as Natayla steps further into the foreground of the story. The people she is interacting with are as viable as anything else being described because of the nature of how close certain circles were kept and maintained. It was fitting to find her in such company because her movements in social circles was evidence enough she would cross certain people’s path at some point or another. What lends such a gasp of awe for us who are reading about her for the first time is how her path started to intersect with so many well-known figures of her generation. A bit like the Fitzgeralds in the 1920s who curbed the market for knowing all the latest persons in literature, art, music and the creative arts.

It was not long for me to feel lost inside the world Ms Laam created within the pages of The Lost Season of Love and Snow; for this was a coming-of-age story which created it’s own niche out of what is known and unknown within the fables of history. As we dig further into the life of Natalya, we find a girl who is maturing into her own skin, of sorting out her emotions and of finding she does not fully ascribe to her mother’s sensible beliefs about marriage and life. Within these pages, you get to tuck close to her, watching her as she moves through the hours and attempts to forestall the influence of her sisters and brothers whilst owning to the fact, without being married she is still under her mother’s rules. This is partially what captured my attention most – as in so many ways this story reminded me why I love Little Women.

-quoted from my review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.Guest Post (Jennifer Laam)
Subtitle: The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

on 2nd January, 2018

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Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer Laam

Posted Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Books 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! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” direct from the publisher St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was interested in the premise behind this novel:

Similar to why I wanted to read Who is to Blame?, this novel appealed to me because it is about Russian History. Being a reader of military dramas in my youth, Russia was one of the countries most used as a back-drop (especially in regards to the Jack Ryan series) wherein I developed an appreciation for seeing Russia in fictional settings. There were a few Historical Romances I’ve read over the years which are set in this country as well, but this was the first time, (I can recall) where the story is predominately showcasing Russian History.

Towards that end, I was most appreciative of finding a part of living history etched into the premise of this novel – of how Ms Laam had found a woman to champion – someone who was lost inside her own histories from the prejudices of memory by people who were not willing to understand her as she had lived. This is one of the issues with living histories of person who lived; they are not always fully understood whilst they are alive nor are they honoured lateron with a sense of self by biographers or those who seek to bridge their lives into the world of Historical Fiction. It takes an eye and heart like Ms Laam to see their worth – of hearing their voice and of finding a way to fuse their story into a captivating drama such as The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

The truer gift being given through this novel is having one woman’s life untarnished by supposition and hearsay – to get to the singular truths of her own story without the prejudices injusticed against her person – whilst re-alighting through her own journey towards womanhood, marriage, family and the ache of her own heart whilst she realised the folly of her own actions. This reads like a proper Biography – with the added benefit of listening to Natalya as she tells her own story. Including critical nods towards where living history and her fictionally voiced thoughts co-merge to paint the landscape of her life from the moment she lost Alexander to the moment she first knew she was in love with him.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer LaamThe Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: Guest Post (Jennifer Laam)

Published by St. Martin's Griffin

on 2nd January, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin via St. Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress)
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #LostSeasonOfLoveAndSnow

About Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and the forthcoming The Lost Season of Love and Snow, all from St. Martin’s Griffin.

She is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and currently resides in California’s Central Valley. When she is not busy writing or reading, Jennifer spends her time obsessing over cosplay, trying new vegetarian recipes, line dancing, and spoiling cats. She works for her alma mater, University of the Pacific.

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Posted Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Godspace: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God” by Keri Wyatt Kent

Posted Thursday, 28 December, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, where I started reading titles by FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “Godspace” direct from the publisher FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I have been purposely seeking out titles like this one:

All of us feel the chaos of our lives hectically carting us forward time to time – it leaves little personal space much less space for conversing with God. Whilst we’re feeling harried and stretched a bit thin round the edges our spiritual lives can feel untethered or pulled a bit too taut or even fractured in places where we otherwise might feel strong. As soon as I read the chapter breaks within GODSPACE, I knew I had picked the right time to delve into the author’s context of this book:

NOTE: I refer to my reactions/thoughts by using the // after the prompts in the book

* Sabbath – Space in my Calendar // how many of us find less time for stillness and peace in our spirit?

* Hospitality – Space in my Home // how many of us feel like cocooning ourselves in our comfortable abode as a retreat from the outside world?

* Worship – Space in the World // how many of us feel disillusioned by the Church?

* Simplicity – Space in My Soul // how many of us overthink our spiritual health?

* Generosity – Space in My Budget // how many of us are of the working class and feel our budgets blighted by the woes of living economically insecure in a workforce which is never guaranteed to be stablised?

* Gratitude – Space in My Relationships // how many of us feel stressed out by life itself to where we have let go of spending time on our connections to others?

* Critical Thinking: Space for Faith & Doubt // all of us should aspire to have a healthy balance of our emotional and intellectual states of awareness

I loved the book cover for this book, too. Not that I have the same kind of contents within my own purse – but because, it shows a strong representation of all the important bits of modern life most of us have within our purses or backpacks – from the functional components of staying connected in a high-tech world of commerce and trade; to the ready at will access to our finances and the beautification of ourselves on the move to the little touches of our personal essences by the accessories which set us apart from each other. The only thing missing is where do we keep the spaces needed for our spiritual health and welfare? They might not be tangible components of our lives – pieces of material we can tuck into a pocket or purse, but where do we shelter and store our spirituality?

The premise of the story behind this go-to guide for busy believers is quite simplistic – despite our varied religious backgrounds there is always time to retreat and find a path back towards the One of whom is most important of all. We all need to find ways to remain actively involved in our spiritual paths – of connecting and reconnecting our souls to the greater truths and the humbling aspects of being human – thus, I felt the context of this warranted being read during a year where I felt taxed and burdened by the changes within my life to where exhaustion oft-times won out over finding the joys which light up my days with smiles of happiness. We each have our own upturnt scales of adversities to muddle through but we all have to find a way to shift through and out of those moments to re-align with a better buoyancy of balance where we’re not always teetering on the edge towards those things which seek to unsettle us the most.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Godspace: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God” by Keri Wyatt KentGodspace
Subtitle: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God
by Keri Wyatt Kent
Source: Direct from Publisher

Think you don't have time or space for spiritual stuff? That intimacy with God is impossible?

Here's how-in the life you already live-you can make time and space for God.

GODSPACE offers seven practices that help busy Christians pay attention to God. They help us align our sometimes messy daily lives with our spirituality. And they strengthen our most important relationships, giving our lives meaning, significance, and purpose.

It's not holding a set of beliefs, reading the Bible, going to church, or even praying that determines how we connect with God. It's our pace of life. When we live hurried and distracted lives, we miss the chance to experience the intimacy we desire with God.

Experience God more deeply and live more joyfully by exploring these seven spiritual practices:

Sabbath
Hospitality
Worship
Simplicity
Gratitude
Generosity
Critical thinking

With abundant wit, humorous anecdotes, and authentic sharing of her own joys and struggles, KERI WYATT KENT guides us toward a deeper and more meaningful faith in the midst of our overcrowded, cluttered lives.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781478970712

Published by FaithWords

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 208

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #INSPY, #Christian & #ThursdayThoughts

About Keri Wyatt Kent

Keri Wyatt Kent Photo Credit: Michael Vanderra

KERI WYATT KENT is the author of ten books and the co-author of many more. She continually writes for a variety of print and digital publications, including Christianity Today, Gifted for Leadership, The High Calling, SmallGroups.com, and Today's Christian Woman. She also serves as lay pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, where she has been a member for almost 30 years.

Photo Credit: Michael Vanderra

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Posted Thursday, 28 December, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), FaithWords, Non-Fiction, Philosophy