Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.

Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Mademoiselle Chanel” virtual book tour through France 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.

My connection to Chanel:

My fascination with Chanel took center-stage when I selected my first Rosamunde Pilcher novel to read {The Shell Seekers} giving me a window into the world of Chanel No. 5. I had briefly hinted at this connection whilst tweeting Mr Gortner in January after learning I had become a part of the blog tour for Chanel. (the tweets are in a slideshow at the bottom of this review) I was fourteen and starting to seek out adult literature in all it’s glory after having read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton the year before when I was thirteen. I had reached the point where I was separating myself from what I had read as a young adult and what I wanted to shift forward into as an adult reader.

Romance was in my life ever since I first picked up the novella collections featuring Victorian Christmas stories penned by leading authors in the field such as Mary Jo Putney. I wanted to seek out new genres and other ways in which stories were told, which is why The Shell Seekers held such an appeal to me. It was a unique novel as it was practically a time slip as much as it was a multiple point of view story told from different pairs of eyes per each chapter you entered. It was part war drama and part multi-generational saga, yet at the heart of it all was the discovery of Chanel No. 5.

I hadn’t realised it at the time, but this novel in particular led me to realise how much I appreciated reading historical fiction, although a few years prior I should have known this after reading Judith Pella’s Frontier Lady. It was the scent of Chanel No. 5 which staid with me as I read the novel itself — it is hard to describe how I even would have known the scent, but as I read the story, I smelt the parfum, and that is the easiest way to explain it. I was so stirred by the emotional context of the novel shortly thereafter I had put the book down, I immediately sought out the parfum!

I had seen the Chanel counter at the malls, as much as anyone else, but I hadn’t connected to the scent of the fragrances themselves. The Shell Seekers provided the gateway yet it also proposed a dialogue of conversation revealing a particular unknown connection through my maternal line of heritage! Apparently, long before my own encounter with Chanel No. 5, my grandmother and mother had long since held this fragrance as their most beloved scent! It was at this time the torch was thus passed down to me, and I inherited my Mum’s bottle of the fragrance which I used sparingly until it ran out in my early twenties. The scent itself smelt differently on me, as it was very subtle and yet unique, and this is when I learnt the most about parfum; to each wearer our own chemistry changes how it is reflected to those who smell it on us.

I haven’t been able to wear it after this moment of my life as I started to develop allergies to most commercial fragrances, however, even as I use essential oils I still have very fond memories of Chanel and of Chanel No. 5. It united me with a legacy of how three women in my own family came across Chanel No. 5 in our own uniquely different ways and found a connection through the parfum itself. If I hadn’t picked up The Shell Seekers and been drawn in by the allure of Chanel No. 5, this story of my life would not have been written. Nor would I have known how others reacted to when I wore the fragrance as no one knew it was this particular scent, only that when I wore it, I was known. Anonymity was gone.

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.Mademoiselle Chanel
by C.W. Gortner
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

For readers of “The Paris Wife” and “Z” comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel—the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: , The Tudor Vendetta

Published by William Morrow

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Pages: 416

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Unabridged Audiobook, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #MademoiselleChanel, #CocoChanel

Author Biography:CW Gortner

C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, translated in over twenty-five languages to date. His new novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel”, traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, “Vatican Princess”, about Lucrezia Borgia. Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area, C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.


Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, 20th Century, Adoption, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Coco Chanel, Courtesan & Cocottes, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Parfum Industry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, the Edwardian era, the Roaring Twenties

Blog Book Tour | “The Witch of Painted Sorrows” {Book 1: of the Daughters of La Lune series} by M.J. Rose #HistFic is captured within the essence of a traditional Gothic tale where a woman has to choose what she desires more? Passion or Freedom?

Posted Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 5 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 the “The Witch of Painted Sorrows” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

I previously hosted Ms Rose during her blog tour for The Collector of Dying Breaths, whereupon I also interviewed her for the same tour. I had a fascination inside me about the Reincarnationist series, but it ended up my heart was attached quite dearly to the second trilogy making up the volumes of: The Book of Lost Fragrances, Seduction, and The Collector of Dying Breaths. I went into details about this on my previous M.J. Rose book review, but what intrigued me about returning into her next novel is how it was set to life in Paris itself.

I have come to appreciate different eras of French History through the writers who write stories that surround us in the history and lore of France. In regards directly to the Belle Époque 1890s of this highly regarded city, I last ducked inside it’s chapters of time in Heather Webb’s Rodin’s Lover. The eras of salons where writerly and artistic immersions of the crafts could be celebrated and explored through peers of the same inclinations was quite the intrigue for me, as it is hard to pin-point where the ‘meeting of the minds’ meet-up in latter centuries which have provided as much feedback as camaraderie amongst like-minded spirits.

The layers she knitted into the story to encourage a back-drop of suspense mixing inside Gothic Lit undertones and the possessiveness of a long-dead master of darkness, was imploring as I wanted to see how this story would balance most of what I’ve come to love inside an M.J. Rose novel! I was thinking this was in-part a departure from her Reincarnationist series as much as an extension of the passionate drive her characters have for not only their pursuit of joy but their pursuit of how to live their lives without the attachments which might not allow them to live as freely as their soul desires. Rose tends to write convicting fiction where her characters are seeking ‘something’ in relation to who they are at their innermost core whilst giving the reader a depth of back-story to soak inside whilst the characters thrive through the journey they undertake.

Blog Book Tour | “The Witch of Painted Sorrows” {Book 1: of the Daughters of La Lune series} by M.J. Rose #HistFic is captured within the essence of a traditional Gothic tale where a woman has to choose what she desires more? Passion or Freedom?The Witch of Painted Sorrows
by M.J. Rose
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

Genres: Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1476778068

Also by this author: The Collector of Dying Breaths, The Secret Language of Stones

Series: The Daughters of La Lune

Also in this series: The Secret Language of Stones

Published by Atria Books

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 384

Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #TheWitchOfPaintedSorrows, #MJRose, & #FranceBT
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

About M.J. Rose

M.J. Rose

New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice…books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

(Biography updated August 2016)

Read More


Posted Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, Antiques, Art, Art History, Artist's Proof, Artwork Provenance, Belle Epoque Era, Blog Tour Host, Crime Fiction, Disillusionment in Marriage, Earthen Magic, Father-Daughter Relationships, France, France Book Tours, Freedom of Expression, Gothic Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Parapsychological Gifts, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Suspense, Sculpture, Supernatural Fiction, Witches and Warlocks

Book Review | “100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go” by Marcia DeSanctis | a travelogue of insight to a sensory awareness of France as one woman connect’s to the country’s internal heart

Posted Thursday, 6 November, 2014 by jorielov , , 7 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go by Marcia DeSanctis

Published By: Travelers’ Tales (@travelerstales)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #100PlacesInFrance & #FranceBT

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Travelers’ Tales, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Book Review | “100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go” by Marcia DeSanctis | a travelogue of insight to a sensory awareness of France as one woman connect’s to the country’s internal heart100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go
by Marcia DeSanctis
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

Told in a series of stylish, original essays, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go  is for the serious Francophile, for the woman dreaming of a trip to Paris, and for those who love crisp stories well-told. Like all great travel writing, this volume goes beyond the guidebook and offers insight not only about where to go but why to go there. Combining advice, memoir and meditations on the glories of traveling through France, this book is the must-have in your carry-on when flying to Paris.

Award-winning writer Marcia DeSanctis draws on years of travels and living in France to lead you through vineyards, architectural treasures, fabled gardens and contemplative hikes from Biarritz to Deauville, Antibes to the French Alps. These 100 entries capture art, history, food, fresh air and style and along the way, she tells the stories of fascinating women who changed the country’s destiny. Ride a white horse in the Camargue, find Paris’ hidden museums, try thalassotherapy in St. Malo, and buy raspberries at Nice’s Cour Saleya market. From sexy to literary, spiritual to simply gorgeous, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go  is an indispensable companion for the smart and curious traveler to France.

Genres: Non-Fiction, Travelogue

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Published by Travelers Tales

on 9th September, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 380

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via


About Marcia DeSanctis

Marcia DeSanctis

Marcia DeSanctis is a former television news producer for Barbara Walters, NBC and CBS News.

She has written essays and articles for numerous publications including Vogue, Marie Claire, Town & Country, O the Oprah Magazine, Departures, and The New York Times Magazine.

Her essays have been widely anthologized and she is the recipient of three Lowell Thomas Awards for excellence in travel journalism, as well as a Solas Award for best travel writing. She holds a degree from Princeton University in Slavic Languages and Literature and a Masters in Foreign Policy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

It isn’t everyday you have the pleasure of reading a travelogue writ in the style of a personal diary to the level where one woman’s peripheral intuitiveness lends a hand towards giving the reader a thread of insight that most travelogues do not typically yield. The format of this travelogue is one of the best I have come across due to the nature of how the list of 100 Places is formatted to be revealed. I am going to highlight my Top 5 sections as I want to give a sampling of the joy I experienced whilst reading this non-fiction account of Ms. DeSanctis’s travels within France.

She left such a strong impression on my heart as to eclipse the idea I haven’t yet travelled there myself by placing my mind inside her own shoes as she relates her own story as to create the feeling I was transported there whilst seeing everything she saw herself. To me that is the best part of reading travel fiction and travel non-fiction narratives; they allow us to employ the nature of what excites us as adventurers without necessarily needing to leave our home.

For most of us, travel in today’s world is cost prohibitive and/or we have to become more selective in our choices per year as to where we can afford to traverse. By picking up this guide of the 100 Places of whom gave the author an alarming connective tie to the countrymen and women of France, it will ignite a passion inside your own heart to either walk in her own footsteps or dare to sort out the parts of France that speak to your own spirit of taking an expeditionary route through this remarkably historic country.

Within the Introduction to this travelogue, we start to see the inklings of how DeSanctis first became enamored with France and not surprisingly there is a foodie connection to her passionate joy! I, for one, can fully understand how food can be a gateway into a country as for me it was India of which lent not only a curiosity of spirit for their culture and art (I maintain a healthy penchant for Bollywood films) but it was through the expressive nature of their spices and foods which translated directly into a passion for the people of the country. I can fully respect how a piece of bread (in the author’s case it was a croissant) can quite literally excite your senses for more exploration! (on my behalf it was naan!)

As she bespoke a curated passion for watching Audrey Hepburn movies (alongside Cary Grant) set in France, I smiled most readily because I completely concurred with her sentiments! Hepburn not only translated her characters as though she embodied their souls, but she had the formidable presence on screen to translate the setting and the scope of where the story was set. She redefined how to present a character and how to effectively endear to give a homage to where the character either lived or interacted. She is one of a kind in this regard, except to say I felt the same whilst watching Ingrid Bergman who was just ahead of her on the screen.

(The only difference between us, as I am a bit younger than the author, my “Sabrina” was not Ms. Hepburn but rather Julia Ormond — we blissfully walked away with the same appreciation for living a life where you do not allow your insecurities to interfere with your innermost dreams and desires.)

The way in which DeSanctis presents the allure of being in France is an insightful recollection of how we can lead full lives but have bits of who we are a bit absent as well. The country not only has a way of evoking a proper sense of history but an evocation of femininity and a re-definition of a well-lived life by not only having our senses fully exposed to the liveliness of a French life but to bring out anything that might have previously inhibitiously held us behind.

I found this element of an intangible difference in how life is lived within the film version of “The 100 Foot Journey” based on the novel I have not yet had the pleasure to read but of which exemplifies the same pursuit of not merely existing season to season but passionately living through sensory experience rooted in a connection to community, art, culture, and the interconnectedness of humanity. To intuitively thrive in the everyday hours whilst surrounding yourself in the places which enrich your mind, heart, and soul.

| Section One: #3 Homage to La Môme |

Music has always been a central focal point in my life as it has captured a piece of my own soul in such a way as to alleviate me out of stress or to cultivate an emotional response to a piece of instrumentation, vocalisation, symphony or score for motion picture in such a way as to transcend the moment in which the piece is heard. Music has a cadence of passion knitted into the chords, the harmonies, and the in-between moments that is especially unique to the artist who conceives the idea of what translates into an audio narrative of a story unspoken through words. Even when words are attached to the musical composition itself — they tell only half of the story which evolves through the instruments who accompany the voice.

[ it should be known I was listening to Programme #664 Dark Wisdom via Hearts of Space ( whilst composing this blog post — where string instruments evoked the gutting emotions of humanity. ]

Whilst reading her passages of appreciation on behalf of Edith Piaf, I started to conjure inside my own mind how beautifully dynamic this woman would have been on stage; how creatively evoking her voice would have spilt straight through my heart and soul whilst I would be seated in audience of her performance; and what a gift it would have been to witness her vocality first-hand. There have been a few times in my young life where I have been in the presence of a true performer of unexplained talent and grace, whose very voice was an instrument who could create music on a level that is not even able to be related in recollection through words; as most sensations of music are felt rather than spoken. Our thoughts and our impressions on music are on a completely different level of understanding than spoken dialogue (hence why music is being used to reach autistic children who otherwise cannot communicate).

Finding out there is a residential museum celebrating the life of the legendary and iconic singer made my heart sing with curiosity! I love finding tucked away museums which are housed in unexpected places, that take you on an internal journey back to the time and era the person lived. I always fancied visiting museums and other historic sites where only half the story of the person is known in the exhibits and the other half simply has to be felt by the person who visits the site with an open mind. Read More


Posted Thursday, 6 November, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Chefs and Sous Chefs, Cookery, Debut Author, Essays, Foodie Fiction, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Indie Author, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Life in Another Country, Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Short Stories or Essays, Travel, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life