#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Tiger Lily” by Wende Dikec with a small extract from this YA Paranormal Romantic Urban Fantasy!

Posted Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I crossed paths with this Speculative Fiction author in the twitterverse, as we would regularly converse about various literary and bookish topics. Quite randomly, truly, and then, I remember she offered me to read this novel of hers which I was excited about at the time. I can’t remember exactly what took me away from reading it closer to when it arrived as this is part of my backlogue of reviews – where a few years ago I simply lost traction with my review requests and had to put them on a backburner. Last year, during #WyrdAndWonder, this was one of the books I was meaning to read and showcase – however, due to health reasons I had to push it forward til our 2nd Year.

I received a complimentary copy of “Tiger Lily” direct from the author Wende Dikec (now known as Abigail Drake) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

What first drew my attention
into wanting to read “TIger Lily”:

I know. YA can be really dark and gritty now, can’t it? I don’t write that way. Someone called my book “Legally Blonde meets The Sixth Sense”. It’s actually more of a funny book than a scary book. – Wende Dikec / Abigail Drake response to my initial enquiry

Before I agreed to accept Tiger Lily for review, I wanted to enquire about what I would find inside the book itself as I have had a propensity for being particularly particular about the kind of Young Adult and/or Middle Grade stories I accept for review consideration. I’ve been burnt a few too many times in the past – to where either the undertone ran too dark for me or the overall gist of the novel was delving into deeper and darker waters than the ones I would prefer to tread upon.

My biggest concern for this YA novel was what set it apart from the pack, how did it tackle the Speculative aspects of its story-line and was it a gritty book or was it simply a light-hearted paranormally inclined YA story which anchoured itself well into the niche I call #SpecFic?

When I receive this response from the author, I knew I would alright picking up the story and seeing where it would take me. One of my favourite kinds of paranormal stories are GHOST STORIES – this is a parallel interest of mine, as they’re not just in PNR (ie. Paranormal Romance) narratives or in Urban Fantasy niches of interest (which happens to be my preferred sub-genre) – they can become inclusive to Cosy Horror, Gothic Literature and other genres of note including Historical Suspense or Psychological Suspense narratives wherein you can parlay a ghost story into the background of nearly any story you wish to direct the reader’s attention. The truth in the pudding for me is how the writer handles the discourse from there and augments our perspective not just strictly on the ghost themselves but on the overall world-building therein.

When she assured me there wasn’t any strong language, that the story itself was rather tame and innocent – appealling to readers between 13-16 years (but would benefit a broader audience outside that range), I knew I had found the right story to be reading.

Of course, her greatest compliment to me is when she said “feels like a Jorie story”.

For #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 – it felt rather fitting I would be reading Tiger Lily as this isn’t the only ghost story I’ll be showcasing this May! Ironically or not, a few other ‘ghosts’ snuck into my TBR for the event and I couldn’t be more delighted! I definitely have wanted to dig inside this novel ever since it first reached me in [2016] and I am very thankful I could finally put my heart round it to see what was awaiting me as the years shifted forward.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Tiger Lily Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Tiger Lily
by Abigail Drake
Source: Direct from Author

Lily Madison thought dying because of a bad manicure was the worst thing that could happen.
She was wrong.

Waking up in the hospital and realizing she’s being stalked by an entire herd of naughty little ghosts turns her entire world upside down. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes she isn’t alone. A Goth girl, named Zoe, can see the ghosts, too.

Most of the ghosts look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He’s a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick. Although they dislike each other on sight, Nick soon realizes Lily is his only hope. With the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she has only days to get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world will be in terrible danger.

But sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, and Lily isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to let him go.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, YA Paranormal Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781939590770

Published by Inkspell Publishing

on 28th January, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 200

Published by: Inkspell Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

The author included a small extract for my readers:

Mr. Wan raised one bushy gray eyebrow and peered at me over his spectacles. “Do you have a problem now, with ghosts?” he asked quietly, not that Miss Lin or her customer could have heard him. She’d moved onto complaining loudly about cauliflower now.

My mouth dropped open in shock. “How did you know?”

Mr. Wan sighed, and put the brush into the bottle of polish, swishing it back and forth as if trying to think about how to answer. “Once, when I was a young boy in my village in China, the same thing happened. A girl died, and then came back to life. We were all so happy, until we realized that she hadn’t come back alone.”

“What do you mean?” My fingers were still extended over the soft white towel that separated us on the table. I couldn’t move. I could hardly breathe.

Mr. Wan grabbed my left hand and went back to work, talking as he painted. “When you cross over the barrier between life and death, things sometimes follow you back. They might be ghosts, or they might be something else. Either way it is a problem for you.”

About Abigail Drake

National award winning author Abigail Drake (previously known as Wende Dikec writes Young Adult Speculative Fiction with romantic and humorous elements. An avid traveller who spent many years abroad, she now lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons, a puppy named Capone, and a very well used espresso machine.

NOTE: The following links for this author are a combination of what I had previously for "Wende Dikec" and what I found recently for "Abigail Drake" as she has changed the name she's using as a writer. I have the previously released version of "Tiger Lily" which I read for this review as it was part of my backlogue. The Book Site takes you to the NEW listing for "Tiger Lily" via GoodReads.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

my review of tiger lily:

You just never know when your life is about to take an abrupt turn – something Lily wasn’t considering when she acted on impulse to have her nails painted a colour of hue she never would have normally agreed too. It was this fateful day where Lily found out how fast you can become unprepared for life’s emergencies – especially in a situation which involves a car, rushing water and a severe lack of oxygen! From the very first glimpse we have of Lily – we know two things – she never took time to put a few emergency tools into her vehicle (such as a window breaking hammer) nor did she remember not to become distracted whilst she was driving. Dear hearts, its her distraction which cost her more than the poor choice in nail varnish!

When she awakens at the hospital what drew my eye of curiosity was what she was seeing in her room – outside the visual range of her doting parents yet within reach of her hospital bed. It there she starts to feel slightly removed from her current situation – perhaps it was the whole circumstance of being hospitalised and in recovery which was playing with her mind to see things which truly weren’t there but they felt like they were real to her? You can get yourself into a bit of a frenzied loop thinking like that – did I, didn’t I, should I or shouldn’t I – until of course, you can root out what is truly unknown by wholly real and what is completely a figment of your traumatic recovery from an unexpected accident.

Part of this reminded me when you first start to watch Charmed or even Ghost Whisperer – where no one wants to admit they can see the world around them differently but at some point, the truth is just too difficult to ignore?

I wasn’t a bit surprised the girl at her school with all the answers is the last girl she would have expected to be the one she needed to reach out too. Most schools are all the same – the creatives and the preppy students barely acknowledge each other, much less socialise together; that’s why seeing Lily muster up the courage to talk to Zoe must have taken more strength out of her than she was letting on! Zoe was the outcast in Lily’s school – a self-declared medium, Gothic clothing fashionista and a girl whose intuition about her peers was far more attune than Lily’s – you had to wonder how the two might forge past their differences to unite in a greater cause?

This story has a beautiful overlay of Chinese beliefs and mythologies – as Mr Wan helps explain the realities of what can happen to those who ‘come back’ from a near-death experience such as the one Lily endured. I love when Mythology and Lore can become part of the backbone of an experience within a Fantasy novel (as revealled when I shared #25PagePreview’s for A Mortal Song and Empire of Sand) In this regard, part of what Mr Wan was hinting towards truly brought me back inside the pages of The Ghost Bride. As Lily starts to get her head to wrap round the descriptions he is giving her about the plausible reasons why she is being surrounded by ghosts – the next things he realises is that he is giving her over to the local apothecary and sent on her merry way to figure out an intervention of sorts with the ghosts a la Zoe.

It is Mr Wan who named her Tiger Lily as this has a direct reference to not just his personal beliefs but the beliefs of how which animal can become like a spirit guide – enabling you have embody more courage and valor than you perhaps feel at any given time during a crisis such as this one. The unique way in which the tiger itself is empathsised in the story whilst Lily is in his company left me in a cluster of smiles because there are moments where the ghosts trailing behind Lily due some of the craziest things that simply touch your heart due to their innocent natures. Mind you, I wasn’t going to conclude they were all benign but some of them definitely were as they were much more inclined to do something randomly spontaneous and cheeky than to cause harm.

I wasn’t quite as surprised by the revelation Nick reveals about himself or rather, what Lily clues him into accepting when he visits with her as it felt like this might be the course the novel would take to give us a closer look at Lily’s new awareness but also, how her keen insight is also a cause and effect of how others can perceive her in return. I even loved the Chinese lady who sold her the powder she was advised to use by Mr Wan; she was exactly the type of character I was expecting and Drake didn’t disappoint me by how she characterised her presence!

You had to laugh though – the best revenge Nick seems to think he can give Lily (as he thinks she’s a bit bonkers for her suggestion about why he’s able to visit with her as frequently as he can) is to haunt her at school. He finds ways to give her so much grief whilst she’s in class and with her friends that you’d had to wonder how she even managed to keep a straight face! Laughs. The worst bit of course is how opposite they were – he was closer in personality and funkified style as Zoe when compared to how girly and pre-professional Lily presented herself on campus. She was the epitome of the sweater set, mini skirt wearing homecoming queen who had her hair and nails done weekly. Nick on the other hand was far more comfortable in the clothes that didn’t define any particular style profile but rather were the clothes which made him feel the most relaxed; at least this is the impression he gave off.

Zoe, Lily and Nick struck a balance with each other – they were an odd trio of friends but it worked because although Zoe had a few hiccups in communicating with Nick, it was Lily who fused them together. Reading about their adventures in sorting out what was happening also reminded me of some of my other favourite paranormal series – especially the ones that involve ghosts or people who could transition out of their bodies (via astral projection) without really understanding how they were able to exit their physical body. The elements of this novel were reminiscent of an Urban Fantasy – where you have the modern world in the foreground but just behind it, you have this otherworld that is fighting to gain traction in the characters’ lives. It isn’t especially vile or evil but it looms over the narrative almost as if it was waiting for its queue to move into scene. This ominous presence I know is part of what Mr Wan had warned Lily about – why he named her Tiger Lily and how he had tried to give her a foreshadow about what could come from her recent experience from beyond the living.

Go, Lily! My favourite scene was actually the first fight between Nick and Lily – she took out her claws and defended herself – which in retrospect might have been what he wanted her to do? Still though – it was a beautiful monologue where she not only owned her past, the adversities of her family and the losses she’s sustained but she owned her own truth as well. How what makes her quirky is her right to be different and how despite appearances she’s not a flower about to wilt under the sun. It was one of those affirming statements from a character you’ve come to love – Lily definitely feels inspired by the forementioned Elle Woods but she has moxie in her as well on a level that might have even inspired Elle herself! Elle had her own voice and her own way of handling the negativity in her life – it felt to me like Lily was trying to sort out her own path, where she wouldn’t let people’s harsh judgements touch her anymore.

Mr Wan and Ms Lin are such lovely characters because they give us the impression that the truths from the old world are still viable today. Mr Wan had a timeless wisdom to pass forward to Lily and Nick but it was what Ms Lin was hinting towards which started to confirm my own suspicions about Nick and why he was in this transitional state of where he can’t move forward but he can’t reverse his course either.

Drake keeps her story on the lighter side of Speculative Fiction but she manages to keep it levelled and poignant but interlacing strong life lessons into the background of the journey her characters must take to find themselves. As this isn’t just a journey towards one particular end goal but rather a journey towards an internal awareness about one self and the route we have to take to understand our lives. There is a beauty of depth in this novel – from premature childhood death to overcoming medical emergencies and crises which can arise at any point in our lives where we least expect something to overtake the normal rhythm of our hours. She keeps the context firmly lit on her teenaged characters but the scope of the novel is far more reaching than their individual journeys.

I love stories where there is an unexpected surprise awaiting you at the end – Tiger Lily has all the hallmarks of a gentle romance with a punch of ghostly intrigue to give a read your not wanting to put down. It definitely qualifies for Wyrd and Wonder because there is a wonderment to the suspense – how can Nick be this close to Lily but not recognise how he is functioning in this capacity? It is slightly weird on the level that it isn’t your typical ghost story nor is it your traditional Urban Fantasy – you’re suspended a bit between both realities – the one you can live in your everyday life and the one where there is a veil that becomes lifted once your eyes have awaken to seeing what previously went unseen.

In regards to the world-building:

Drake doesn’t let her world reveal itself to you in large gulps of descriptive narrative in the beginning nor does she offer a back-story about the mysterious boy from the hospital or the blobs of bouncy joy following Lily ever since she was in the hospital. What she does is give you the same perspective Lily is experiencing and thereby, drawing out the world to be observed as Lily starts to see its revelations. As you navigate this world she’s created it is in step with Lily and therefore your path and hers are at an intersection.

You don’t have to suspend yourself too much into a traditional Urban Fantasy to dig into this story – the real world is just as it would be represented elsewhere but with the added layers of having ghosts and teenaged paranormal investigators taking up the war against what cannot be seen but what must be dealt with in strength to restore the balance that is slowly shifting out of order.

the speculative styling of wende dikec aka abigail drake:

Drake has a cheeky sense of humour – straight out of the gate, by the quotations she includes at the top of each of her chapter headings! They foretell a bit of what might start to happen in the story but it is how wise they are sending a particular message about an important ‘life affirmation’ or ‘life lesson’ that really drives home the point that wisdom comes with age and experience but can sometimes become lost on the young.

Her humour carries over into the depictions of the blobs – herein what are known to be spirits or ghosts (at least by first impressions) as she uses familiar references to kittens and other comforting pets that most of us have known at one point in our lives. The way she uses their patterns of behaviour to describe the cheekiness of these ‘spirits’ is really a riot! You can’t help but burst into a smirk and smile because she’s accurately describing exactly how a cat would plant itself in your life even if it could read your mood knowing you’d rather have some alone time occasionally! Not since I first heard of the tribbles on the original Star Trek have I been this keenly delighted through descriptive narrative about the cattitude of a spirits outward behaviour towards humans! They really don’t understand personal space either which also makes it a fitting representation!

I love how she wrote this in the vein of an Urban Fantasy slash Paranormal Romance comedy – where you’re back in high school for a brief moment, sorting out these extraordinary things that are happening to you whilst trying to keep your head above water in the grind that high school is on a daily basis. From the snark of your peers to the over-curious attention you have from your teachers to the staff who observes you like your under a microscope – Drake includes all the horrors of high school against a backdrop of comedic ghostly fun!

She was right by the way – this is definitely a story for Jorie!

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Fantastical Elements:

→ Ghosts (seen as ‘blobs’ which travel with you and round you)

→ A teenage medium

→ Near-death experience

→ Ghosts (who appear as we do except their no longer amongst us)

What I liked about the atmosphere of the story is how there are two distinctively different kinds of ghosts threading into the background – you have the ones which are not dimensionally able to be seen by Lily and the one(s) which manifest to look similar to us except for the fact they are no longer walking amongst us. The typical version you would believe you’d see – the translucent ghost or the ghost who looks solidified but if they try to do something with their hands, it is rather apparent they are in different kind of reality.

I even loved the fact she included Zoe as the teenaged medium – the girl who no one seems to understand at school who is really wired and clued into this ‘alternative’ part of our world. Whilst I also felt it benefited Lily having a near-death experience as it acted as a catalyst for her to entertain the notion that perhaps that is exactly what has to happen in order to start ‘seeing ghosts’.

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This book review is courtesy of: Wende Dikec

Tiger Lily teaser banner provided by Wende Dikec aka Abigail Drake

now known as Abigail Drake

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reading this novel counted towards

my 2019 reading challenges:

Beat the Backlist banner created by Austine at A Novel Knight and is used with permission.

2019 Backlogue Reviews banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Last year, despite my earnest attempts to read the stories as they alighted in my life for review consideration and contemplation, the fact I had 10 out of 12 difficult months of health afflictions (including my continuing battle with chronic migraines) – I lost the ability to focus on a lot of the books I was receiving. I am thankful I am in a better place right now in late January to where I can begin ‘anew’ and re-settle into the stories and works of Non-Fiction I wasn’t able to read until now – including those which released a year or two prior whilst I was helping my Dad recover from his stroke in late 2016. This New Year is a year where I can reclaim my readerly life and get back into the books I yearn to read, ruminate over and savour.

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whilst being read during my participation of:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of  “Tiger Lily” as well as the author photograph for Wende Dikec, author biography, book synopsis and teaser banner for “Tiger Lily” were all provided by the author Wende Dikec aka Abigail Drake (as she is know known) and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com. Beat the Backlist banner provided by Novel Knight. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Wyrd And Wonder Book Review badge, Tiger Lily Book Photography (Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com) and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

IF you want to see how the author and I used to love to chat about our readerly and bookish lives, open this *threaded convo of ours and see how easily the conversation flowed between us. I’m referring to the first tweet below this paragraph, the other two just continue to make me smile as she shared such positive feedback on my behalf.

Comments via Twitter:

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Near-Death Experience, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Urban Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

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