Tag: Julie Lessman

+Blog Book Tour+ Tower of Tears {Book No. 1: the McClusky series} by Rhoda E’ttore

Posted Friday, 12 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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Tower of Tears by Rhoda D’Ettore

Published by: Self-Published Author

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

 Official Author Websites: Site | @rhodadettore | Facebook

Converse via: #TowerofTearsBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Tower of Tears” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Rhoda D’Ettore, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

When I first learnt of this novel going on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was a bit intrigued by the premise, as I have been reading quite a few immigrant stories of late, and this particular one interested me because the McClusky family was arriving in America from Ireland. I have newly defined ancestral roots to Ireland, and now that I know for a bonefide fact I descended from an Irishman, I have noticed my appreciation for reading about the Irish who came to America has increased tenfold. A bit due to the fact there is such a breadth of unknown factors and stories that are simply out in the void of the past; inches away from knowing anything further about this side of my family and perhaps even, the route they took to arrive not only in America but as settlers on land they chose to farm.

I was captured by this one particular family’s plight to forge their own future in a country so far removed from their own, and encouraged by their determined spirit to make it irregardless of what would come across their path! 

– quoted from my Interview of the author who is going to pen a series around the McClusky’s and giving us a bit of a taste of who they are inside Tower of Tears

+Blog Book Tour+ Tower of Tears {Book No. 1: the McClusky series} by Rhoda E’ttoreTower of Tears
by Jonathan West, Rhoda D’Ettore
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Chapter 1: The Voyage

Betrayal. Despair. Murder. Mystery. Romance. Blackmail. “If God be good, Mr. Landon will burn in the eternal flames of hell. If God be bad, he will suffer much worse.” In 1820, a young woman and her son leave Ireland for a better life in America. She soon suffers heartache and tragedy, while residing with family whom she has never met.

Unbeknownst to her, the family had already set her up with employment in a factory–a factory run by a lecherous man. This is the first book in a series that will follow the McClusky family while they become Americanized while face with the Potato Famine, the US Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Series: McClusky,


Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 25th May, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 308

Author Biography:

Rhoda D'EttoreRhoda D’Ettore was born in Woodbury, New Jersey, into a family of 5 siblings–which has provided her with plenty of comical material. She began working at the United States Postal Service at 25 years old, and over the past 15 years has accumulated many humorous stories about situations that the public never gets to know about. Her first ebook, “Goin’ Postal: True Stories of a U.S. Postal Worker” was so popular that readers requested it in paperback. Recently, she published the humorous “Goin’ Postal” in paperback along with another story entitled, “The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive”. Combining these two into one book may seem strange, as one is humorous and the other is a heart wrenching historical fiction, however, doing so proves to the reader Rhoda D’Ettore’s versatility.

Rhoda D’Ettore received her degree in Human & Social Services while working at USPS, has travelled extensively, and loves history. Over the years she has volunteered for several community service organizations, including fostering abused and neglected dogs for a Dalmatian rescue.

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The Irish & America as a new place to lay one’s hat:

D’Ettore honoured her Irish characters by allowing them to speak in a vernacular which would befit the era and the time in which they were living. I always appreciate the syntax of language and of dialect of characters who either originated from one country and moved to another, or simply lived within a country and culture other than my own completely. I like getting the proper sense of life being lived elsewhere and within historical fiction it is always nice to root around and see where a writer’s own research and heart for the story led them to create the essence of whom they are writing about the most. The Irish are represented well in the novel, as not only are the obstacles in their path representative of time appropriate events, but they are given that determined grit and reserved emotional life that is characteristic of their nature.

One of the bits I appreciated on the voyage was the close kinship Jane felt towards Anna; two women attempting to change the stars for their children and daring to see into the unknown beyond anything they could have dreamt. I appreciated she had someone she could connect too and of course, Anna is one of those pure optimistic spirits who can wiggle out a ray of light even when darkness threatens to supersede your thoughts! I even enjoyed how she turnt the supposed horrid news of an unexpected pregnancy (on Jane’s behalf) to a light of joy!

My Review of Tower of Tears:

As the story opens we are settling into the new life Jane McClusky is attempting to carve out for her three year old son Liam, her husband Thomas (still in Ireland), and herself – she quite literally embarked on a transatlantic voyage to the New World devoid of understanding the hardships and tribulations she would greet once she landed on American soil. She had conversed with her husband about the necessities and the monies she would need to survive living with her Cousins in Philadelphia, but as soon as the wind is back in her chest and rest has given her clarity of mind, her American Cousins who emigrated ahead of her are not as they appear inside their letters. She had a growing fear of this as she was never quite sure if they were as open as they seemed inside their conversations within the postal correspondences. She strove to leave behind the adversities which plagued Ireland at the time: short life expectancy, no forward motion of families as they were co-dependent on the crop yields per annum, little to no hope of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, and the worst of all — a constant worriment over the life your child will have as he’s reared through the hurdles of trying to survive Summer to Summer. The major crop was potatoes (of which I had known before I opened the novel, but hadn’t realise how dependent they were on its yield) yet the greatest hope any of the farmers had were to attempt a new life elsewhere, whilst leaving behind family, nationality and the certainty of self-identity.

D’Ettore is not shy from disclosing the lesser known facts of what such a life shift would entail to those who were brave enough to set sail. She gives you a bird’s eye glimpse at how harsh an immigrant life was for someone to forge as much as how everything changes from an accord you struck prior to your voyage. I always found it interesting studying history that there were always prejudicial misconceptions about immigrants and thus, direct consequences were faced in the work force. In this particular story we are seeing the point-of-view of the Irish, which interested me due to my own newly found ancestral roots stemming from the Emerald Isle; however, I have also read other stories about how Italians and Jewish families were equally displaced with unequal opportunities. I find all of our ancestors were hardened not only by the way in which life affected them, but how their lives were constantly challenged by everything they attempted to do in order to provide an honest wage.

The story shifts view from Jane’s new world in America to the life her husband Thomas was living without her back home on their farm in Ireland. A very typical situation starts to incur inside Thomas’s life; re-pleasant of loneliness and the insecurity of understanding his new role in his wife’s life. Unfortunately, I suppose I had hoped perhaps her husband might have held more honour inside his heart, as their love had such a strong bond to crumble due to distance of only a handful of months felt dishonest to the strength inside Jane’s own mind and fortitude to overcome their situation. Yet, this is a very honest interpretation of a family attempting to change their lives; not every family has an upward light shining to keep them on a path without strife in marriage.

I personally had to stop reading this novel between a rape scene of a pregnant woman and the murder of her abuser, which is a bit of spoiler but not the whole truth of the story. I felt the heinous attack on someone withchild was a bit too much for me to be included — it simply didn’t warrant to happen. I felt a more fitting scene would have been seeing the start of Jane’s affection towards Richard her Cousin in America. Her affection for him and his in return for her were being nurtured from the beginning when they first started to work together. There was already a story-line in place that would have allowed their love to blossom legally and affirmatively, so I am not as sure why the thread of story-line was pitched to take the route of severe emotional and physical abuse. It was quite shocking to read and it didn’t sit well with my conscience either. I could not continue because I simply could not find a reason to go forward as instead of finding a bit of light in the undertone of the novel, I felt the story was growing in oppressive anguish and upturnt devastation.

Fly in the Ointment:

A continuity issue arose when I reached page 26, as Jane is reflecting to her Cousin Richard as they are walking to work about her mother; in this scene she mentioned her name was Erin. Yet, on page 18 Erin is clearly the name of her sister, as she is having a flashback memory of when they were younger. Of course, she might have been named after the Mum, but I was a bit confused by the omission of knowing Jane’s Mum’s name. The few hiccups in proofreading I overlooked as I oft find a few here or there in most of the books I read. Continuity however is something I take a closer gander at as it can alter the perception of the pace and flow of where the story is heading.

The story turnt out to be a bit more brutal and absent of what I was hoping it would yield — there are moments where violence and even violation of a person’s rights has plausible appeal, but for some reason I simply felt there were a few too many circumstances alighting in Jane’s life for her to overcome. Every chance she tried to stand on her feet, something else was taken away from her. I also thought it was a mis-step not to include Anna as an anchor for Jane; there was an absence of aligning Jane with a circle of support from the beginning. And, the family she believed she was welcomed into with open arms was a deceptive web which rankled my joy a bit because I had believed this was a story which was going to go in one direction but found it headed in the opposite instead.

As this is not a comedy of errors, it is a historical fiction rooted in historical fact, and I was just a bit disappointed that one or two threads of narrative were explored, but not all of them combined. I could have even foreseen an issue with Jane’s boss as it is well-known women were not always treated equally or fairly throughout history in employment; but it is the lengths of which her life unravells and how it unravells that left me feeling uncomfortable as I turnt the pages. I was disheartened as I had hoped this would be a multi-generational saga centered around a family I would enjoy reading as the series continued.

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courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Road Map of “Tower of Tears” Blog Tour found here:

Tower of Tears Virtual Tour via HFVBTs

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See what I’m hosting next for:

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{SOURCES: Book Cover for “Tower of Tears”, Author Photograph of Rhoda D’Ettore,  & Author Biography were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Jorie asked to host the author ahead of reading the novel as she is most keen on Jane Austen & the sequel authors who give us such a wonderful joy to read their literary muse after being inspired by Austen herself; she was most happy to receive his replies from the Interview through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours via the author himself.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Friday, 12 September, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Abortion, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Domestic Violence, Feminine Heroism, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Immigrant Stories, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights

Musing Mondays #2: Walking back through the door of my imagination!

Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

Musing Mondays is hosted by Should Be Reading

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

| 28th October, 2013 |

Rather than a proposed question, this Monday the Musings reverts back to:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Today, I am simply thankful to be back ‘on JLAS’, picking up where I left off with my book reviews, and setting up for a wicked month-long post extravaganza (Sci-Fi November!)! I recently finished two books, which I reviewed post-haste: “The Study of Murder” by Susan McDuffie and “Virtual Blue” by R.J. Sullivan! I was honoured that I had the opportunity to read each of these novels, and for me, it was a departure from my preference for reading serial fiction in ‘order’ of either publication OR of the world the story is set inside. There are times where I feel you can be given a proper introduction to the characters and flow of the overall story, to where starting with a series in-progress might suit you as well as if you had started at the beginning! This also helps when you find authors who know how to spin the continuity of their series in such a brilliantly giving way (of which McDuffie and Sullivan excel!) to where you feel as though ‘you had read the previous installments!’ I appreciate too, that each book took me away from my zone of comfort when it comes to reading, as I explored the fascinating world of the 14th Century through the eyes of a reluctant amateur detective in ‘The Study of Murder’, whereas I left our shared reality for the world beyond which is housed within the virtual whilst digging into ‘Virtual Blue’!

There was a nibbling in the back of mind about the first book, something that I had forgotten to mention in my review, which is that Mariota used Caledula flowers as part of one of her tinctures, and that is the very ingredient inside my new toothpaste that is giving me the most relief! I thought it was clever how I had only just discovered Weleda’s Caledula Toothpaste! Small world! I have always loved learning more about natural medicines and herbal remedies, which is why this part of the story perked my interest in such a hearty way!

Whereas with ‘Virtual Blue’, I felt compelled to continue reading a story that was in full effect a bit of a language barrier (bless the author for summarising it!) for me, as he interwove such a courageous story, full of heart, raw pure gumption and a determined spunky spirit of which is the essence of ‘Blue!’ I was quite caught up in the particulars of the gaming world as much as the balance between good vs. evil, which is such a classic story arc to explore, but was given such a fine tune approach that it rendered a whole new world where your tested for what you are willing to understand!

I am moving next into “Redheart” by Jackie Gamber and “Illuminations” by Mary Sharratt, both of which I have been eagerly looking forward to reading and reviewing! I had hoped to review them far ahead of my post deadlines, but as I had outlined previously life in the bookish blogosphere doesn’t always go as we plan it to go! ‘Redheart’ is an epic fantasy world that envelopes around dragons, whereas ‘Illuminations’ dips into the living history of a saintly nun who changed the perception of the world at large by the knowledge she was bestowed and given to share! The latter is a biographical fiction set against the living legacies that were past down about Hildegard von Bingen, which I find fascinating! I am curiously drawn towards reading more and more biographical fiction accountments due to the hearty nature of the context as much as the drinkablity of the narrative!

In-between reading the books for review, I am settling into “Finnikin of the Rock” by Melina Marchetta, as I completely missed the key dates I was meant to post my reactions to the book as I read it, as well as the follow-up sequences speaking about “Community” and “Family” as it directly applied to the characters! Whilst I was living through personal affairs that took my time and attention away, I fear that this lovely event was on-going and brilliantly executed! I will be adding my reactions as I read through the chapters, adding my commentaries and visiting the collaborative reading experience post-event!

I am revising my posting schedule for SFN, due to a few quirks of not being able to source a few of the materials I needed, but I am not letting it deter my enthused joy for the event itself, because I am thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate in the love of a genre that has been a mainstay throughout my life!

I was a bit disheartened that I had missed a few Booktalk Nation events whilst I was offblog, as I had hoped to have participated in the speaking tours of: Wally Lamb (We Are Water); Julia Quinn (The Sum of All Kisses); and Kristin Higgins (The Perfect Match). I wonder if any of my readers took part in these wicked sweet events!? I cannot speak more highly of Booktalk Nation, even though, I still owe a post about the last two authors I saw featured where were Laurie R. King and Robyn Carr! :) The one that I am hoping I am in line to participate in is Rachel Caine who will be speaking about her Morganville Vampire series which might sound out of context for me to engage in, and on one hand you would be keenly observant in that theory, however, I am always curious about books and authors that I hear about regularly through my circle of friends’. Her series is one that is spoken with affection, and despite my unease of wanting to enter into the world of vampires which has never quite been a good fit for me (outside of ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’; certain seasons over others!), I am willing to expand my knowledge and enlighten my heart by listening to the author who penned the stories that has captured the imagination of my dear friends! :)

A bookish blogger can not receive a more humble note of gratitude (aside from an author’s reaction to one of her reviews!) than a full-on post about the merits of joy in discovering a bookish event that a reader can attend, of which they *discovered!* through her sidebar! I speak on behalf of Christine (of Readerly Musings) trekking to Boston for the *Boston Book Festival!* Due venture over and viscerally live through her eyes of this smashingly brilliant bookish event! And, if any of the bits of my sidebar prove helpful, I’d be honoured to hear of your stories of where my sidebar led you to take an adventure! Its my long-term goal to utilise the bookish events, historical landmarks, and book shoppes for my own literary adventures; hence why they are included on my blog! I was hopeful that whilst I await the day to venture off, another reader might find the information useful to them! In this way, I am humbled and honoured by Christine’s post! :)

OOh, and eek! I nearly forgot!! I received word that the novella “A Light in the Window” (the prequel to “The Daughters of Boston” series) by Julie Lessman is FINALLY going to be available in print!! I do not yet have word as to ‘when’, but ooh, did I merrily rejoice in hearing that nearly a year to the day I first learnt about the novella I am celebrating the news of its publication in print!! I have attempted to *win!* a spiral bound copy of it throughout the blog book tours Ms. Lessman has participated in from November 2012 – 2013, however, it was not meant to be! I always longed to read this particular prequel, because as my future review of this lovely series (I am thinking this will be early 2014!) will reveal to you dear hearts, this series has nestled right in the niche of my heart! Marcy and Patrick are the parents inside the story of the O’ Connors, of whom are the hinge-pins who hold the entire Irish family together! To find a story set aside to speak about how they first met and conjoined in marriage is a story that I have pined to read! Blessed is I to have learnt I am closer to this dream! The news was announced in a reply to a comment I left on ‘the Society’ where Ms. Lessman guest posted for a day!

*NOTE: The RSS feed blurb is in the lower portion of my sidebar for ‘the Society’!

At some point, I would like restore my rhythm and pick up where I left off with my dear blogs, of which I enjoy reading regularly, but of which I haven’t had the proper chance to drop by and hang out! The blogs in particular I am museful about today are: Southern Belle View, Word Wenches, the Society, OWG, and a newbie favourite Austen Authors! I hope to swing back once I get my forthcoming reviews into focus and I have a handle on the first week of SFN! All in good time! I am with them in spirit! :) I read more blogs than this regularly, of course, as I am choosing to focus on the group author blogs right now that strike my fancy!

I believe that is all the bookish news and musings I have to share with you, dear hearts! IF I have accidentally been remiss, I will simply follow-up this post on WWW Wednesday! Here is to celebrating bookish memes, the bookish blog community, and the joy of reading! Most especially after a short hiatus we were not expecting!

{SOURCE: Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Raaven with editing by Jorie in Fotoflexer.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

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Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov in 14th Century, Amateur Detective, Austen Authors, Book Festival, Bookish Whimsy, Booktalk Nation, Boston Book Festival, CFHS The Society, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Fiction, Finnikin of the Rock, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Museful Mondays, Naturopathy, OWG, Readerly Musings, Sci-Fi November, Science Fiction, Shelf Awareness, Southern Belle View Daily, The Word Wenches, Virtual Reality