Tag: Tamera Alexander

+Blog Book Tour+ A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Posted Tuesday, 27 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Published By: Bethany House Publishers (),
a division of Baker Publishing Group
25 March, 2014
Official Author Websites Site | Facebook | Twitter
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book
Page Count: 480

Converse on Twitter via: #ABeautySoRare & #TameraAlexander

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAcquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “A Beauty So Rare” virtual book tour through TLC  Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from publisher Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Synopsis:

Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.Tamera Alexander

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

Author Biography:

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children.

 

I generally prefer to read series in sequence:

Although I generally prefer to read series in sequence with each other, as this particular novel has one ahead of it A Lasting Impression, I had the unfortunate timing of being booked solid back to back on my blog! I was not able to read the book ahead of my readings of the next in line, and I do believe that perhaps this might be one series where reading the books out of order might actually be alright! There are series where if you miss the order you can find yourself a bit lost in the plot, but there are moments like these where the sequels are a continuation of part of the story but perhaps not all as a whole. Where you can re-enter the same world, resume a new vein of thought, and easily find yourself immersed into the series without the prior knowledge of what had happened previously!

Likewise, this is my first novel by Tamera Alexander I am reading, and the main reason I requested to be on the tour is due to the fact I am already attempting to spread my wings in the Inspirational Fiction branch of literature by the outline of my 70 Authors Challenge, in which I have selected 70 Inspirational Authors to read over a five-year grid of time! I originally was going to attempt to read their collective works within twelvemonths before I realised that that would be too little time to fully enjoy the challenge! As there is such a wide network of writers in Inspirational Fiction these days, I welcomed the chance to receive this book and associate myself with an author I have oft read about but have not yet read myself!

Historical fiction has always appealed to me, and although I typically read books set around the World Wars, I do not often read books set during the Civil War. I wanted to venture into new territory and I believe I could not have picked a better book nor author to do so!

My review of A Beauty So Rare:

I have always had a sensitive heart when it comes to war and the drama of medical-based stories, yet Alexander tempers the scenes inside A Beauty So Rare with the harsh reality of war against the tides of emotions the lead character faces whilst she is volunteering by the bedside of wounded soldiers. She gives you Eleanor Braddock’s emotional heart to run in line with the despair and loss of what a soldier faces in the middle of battle. She let’s you peer into a window of this particular time frame with a conscience focused on what is most important in each of our individual lives and how each of us should be mindful of how precious life can become when we elect to focus on the days we are given to live. Alexander has a gentleness about how she relays a story of war, allowing you to ease into the narrative with a heavy heart yet respective of how sensitive some of us can be if she had taken a different direction and focused more heavily on the visual side of war.

The contrast she knits together in the male lead of Marcus Gottfried against Ms. Braddock is rife with happenstance for this reader, as I love how she is crossing the barriers of society against the tides of each person wanting to change their stars. Braddock  and Gottfried each have their own reasoning and hankering to effectively change what society and duty dictate of their lives, and effectively want to change convention! What happiness to find two strong characters, each owning to the truth of their hearts!

The encroachment of Ms. Braddock’s father’s mental health plagues her conscience as she wants to be the one who can circumvent his needs and allow him the grace to be with her at home. My heart tugged reading the passages where she is trying to make the best choices on his behalf, whilst confronting her own heart’s conscience on the matter. Mental health issues are never an easy one to navigate as the effects of what is happening to the person differ from one person to another. My heart leapt out to her as I read the passages, and hoped that perhaps she would come in time to realise even caretakers need to have the strength to accept a bit of help.

The best folly for are always the characters which rustle up a flutterment of vexation for each other, and in Braddock & Gottfried’s case, it is all par for course! To betwixt your Aunt Adelicia with plans which run counter-current to her own for prosperity & convention was such a special treat to find as well! The threads of how all the lead characters start to interact and how their layers of commonality start to overlay with each other was a delight to find. Aunt Adelicia is based on a living person of whom I would lend to believe would appreciate how she was portrayed in the story! Such lightning strength, quick wit, and a temper for knowing how to control the destiny of others is not an easy task to take-on or execute with precision. At her heart, I felt Aunt Adelicia was attempting to make the best provisions she felt were worthy of her niece (as well as others) but part of her was held too quick and tied to the orders of the past era. To hold back from entering the new frontier of where more opportunities and tides of change could help progress move forward rather than stay stagnant.

The best enterprise is bourne out of necessity and out of a desire to re-direct the direction of our path in life. The hardest choice for anyone is to dig deeper into their own heart’s truest desire and walk into a path that they have to carve themselves. The more one listens others trying to convince them that one way of thought or one path towards living is the better of the lot, the more one grows distant from their own soul. Each person has to align with their spirit in a way that agrees with not only their nature, but with what uplifts them in the moment they are alive. A Beauty So Rare is an expression of being bold in knowing where our most desirous ideals are guiding us to venture. Giving our full heart to the cause in which we feel we can champion, and not allowing outside influences to cross examine our motives nor derail our intentions. The beauty for me is seeing how everything was properly stitched and knitted together, as you can soak into this novel as comfortable as sipping a cuppa tea.

Ms. Alexander has a gentle spirit as she writes:

What I appreciated the most about the distinction of her style is that she takes a gentle hand with her reader’s heart as she pens her stories! The oppressive nature of the Civil War could have in full effect come off a bit stronger than it had surely, but she took the gentleness of her story and used the war as a back-drop rather than a clear foreground setting. It was only half of the story truly, as most of the details of the character’s lives were lived and entrenched outside the fates of the war itself. It did serve as a starting catalyst to explain why certain characters elected to make changes in how their daily affairs were carried out, but what caught me the most is how she infused the history of the era in such a way as to leave it palatable, which is what I appreciate the most. I am always attracted to historical fiction writers (both mainstream and inspirational) who can give us a sense of ‘time’ whilst caught in a certain ‘setting’ and leave us at the end of their stories with a feeling as though we were quite literally living in that timescape for the time it took to read the novel!

I also appreciated how she inserted a gentle faith and guiding of spirituality, as to not overstep nor understate its purpose. I may have mentioned this previously, but I always love inspirational stories in fiction which guide the faith of their characters through the subtleties of how they live and engage in their everyday lives; with faith by their side and as their mainstay. Actions and sensibilities to me go a long way in narrative.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

TLC Book Tours | Tour HostFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “A Beauty So Rare”, Author Biography, Author photograph, and Book Synopsis  were provided by TLC 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. }

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 27 May, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Botany, Civil War Era (1861-1865), Family Life, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, TLC Book Tours

+2014 Chunkster Reading Challenge+ Or, how Jorie <3s novels of hearty depth!

Posted Monday, 17 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

2014 Chunkster Challenge hosted by Vasilly

I, must admit, I am always quite curious about the books I gravitate towards reading time after time. Do I pick a specific genre to explore!? Is there a particular heart of depth to the stories I am selecting?! Is there any specifics that would stand out!? Setting?! Time preference!? Locale!? Or, could it be that I, Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story have a natural curiosity and eye bent towards falling in love with novels of hearty depth! What the rest of the world considers a ‘chunkser’ I consider “Now! That’s what I call a wicked sweet tome of a novel!”

Although I have seen posts attributed to this particular reading challenge over the past few years, I was always curious about the length requirements of the reader’s choices!? Apparently, any novel over the mark of 450 pages is considered a ‘chunkster’ by the broader readership! I consider anything under 750 pages to be a full-fledged novel of wickedly delightful sagas! Then, again, I happen to have a penchant for reading multi-generational sagas, of which cannot be fully contained in one singular volume! I oft find the sagas are separated into multiples; either in a running serial of the same family &/or spilt into trilogy installments. The odd quartet is thrown in for good measure as well!

I am a reader who envelops her mind, her heart, and her soul around the characters she meets inside the stories her mind illuminates for her as she reads. The main characters as well as the supporting characters all have equal footing in her heart because each of the characters mentioned may hold a piece of the evolving story. Or at the very least, provide a backdrop flow of continuity for the time, setting, and place of the novel! I love seeing the smaller details, the finer points of everyday hours which elapse at different intervals whilst your engrossed into a hearty historical inasmuch as you might be jettisoning into a time slip or time travel narrative! I like seeing the finite details because they in of themselves give a winking nod towards our own histories. How life was for those who came before us in the not-so-far-off past can be ruminated in a historical story.

This wicked sweet challenge is hosted by Vasilly of Chunkster Challenge!

{Proposed Goal of Reading *25* Chunksters}

Given the rate of probability of increasing my page counts as the months progress forward, I have decided to aim even higher than I originally felt I could achieve over the next 10 months, as I am beginning to count this challenge in the second month rather than the first! And, at the latter half of February, I might add! I originally felt only five novels of considerable length might be possible! Who knew!? I suppose this would fall under the ‘hidden talent’ category for performance artists!?

{Reading List} | Combination of Blog Tour Reviews & Personal Selections

IF a book is in italics I have bumped it into 2015 rather than reading it in 2014.

  1. Crown of Vengeance {Book 1: Fires of Eden series} by Stephen Zimmer (612 pages)
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1,215 pages)
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (643 pages)
  4. Somerset by Leila Meacham {Prequel to Roses} (610 pages)
  5. Roses by Leila Meacham (609 pages)
  6. Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham (470 pages)
  7. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hill Chatlien (484 pages)
  8. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (528 pages)* officially on hold for another year
  9. Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (592 pages)* officially on hold for another year
  10. Citadel by Kate Mosse (680 pages)
  11. The Reincarnationist (Book 1: Reincarnationist series) by M.J. Rose* (464 pages)
  12. The Memorist (Book 2: Reincarnationist series) by M.J. Rose* (464 pages)
  13. A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander* (480 pages)
  14. [7,851 pages thus far!]
  15. Intangible by C.A. Gray (482 pages)
  16. Awesome Jones by AshleyRose Sullivan (456 pages)

{In consideration} | A considerable number are on my tCC List!

[projected pages to read: 8,498!]

  1. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (582 pages)
  2. Jaran {Book 1: Sword of Heaven series} by Kate Elliott (494 pages)
  3. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (834 pages)
  4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (552 pages)
  5. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (479 pages)
  6. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (552 pages)
  7. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (473 pages)
  8. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (562 pages)
  9. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (656 pages)
  10. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (704 pages)
  11. The Crimson Petal & the White by Michael Faber (on TBR Challenge List) (833)
  12. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1,024 pages)
  13. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (753)

{Previously Read}

[Pages thus far consumed: 1,548 & counting!]

  1. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (486 pages)
  2. King’s Dragon {Book 1: Crown of Stars saga} by Kate Elliott (532)
  3. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (530)
  4. and continuing,.. as I sort out which books were of considerable length!

{*} reading in conjunction with scheduled book review of next in sequence

Already at the start of keeping track of the length of each novel I read, I am amazed at how the list begins with *13!* Curiously, I am fascinated to seeing which ‘length’ of book attracts me the most!? If spilt into 100 page increments, will it be the 400 mark? 500? I’ll have to continue this part of the discussion come New Year’s Eve, 2015!

*UPDATE (18FEB’14): As I read Christine’s note about how many actual pages I’d consume, I was curious, how many would that be!? I added the figures!

{SOURCE: Jorie Loves A Story Badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in PicMonkey.

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 17 February, 2014 by jorielov in Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, Chunkster Reading Challenge, Classical Literature, Debut Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Reading Challenges, Romance Fiction, Science Fiction