Category: Book Cover Reveal

Book Review | “Design for Dying” (Book No.1 of the Lillian Frost & Edith Head novels) by Renee Patrick A wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series set during Hollywood’s Golden Years!

Posted Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from a publicist at Tor/Forge in regards to this lovely new Historical Mysteries series I had not had the pleasure of finding out about previously! I was quite excited about what the scope of the series might entertain as I have a fond appreciation for Old Hollywood and the treasure trove of movies one can experience through the channel Turner Classic Movies (or TCM for short). Being one of the lead characters was Edith Head (a woman of interest of my own from Hollywood’s past) it felt like a wicked good fit for me to accept this series for review. Especially as I love watching old films as a stepping stone towards ‘discovering’ new actors and actresses I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing before and in effect become my ‘new favourites’ even decades after their careers ended. There is a pulse inside those films and I love watching the fashions change as much as the settings and story-lines!

I received a complimentary copy of “Design for Dying” direct from the publisher Forge (an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly interested in this new Mystery series:

First of all, I have a deep appreciation for Old Hollywood and Classic Movies of yesteryear – I grew up with this passion for black and white movies – going back to a quintessential holiday favourite of mine: ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ followed by ‘White Christmas’. I grew up on James Stewart films especially, as he was such a wicked good actor who could move between family films, drama and suspense (ie. Hitchcock!). By the time I discovered TCM (Turner Classic Movies) in my late teens / early twenties, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion Classic Movies would become a fixture of my viewing pleasure; yet it wasn’t until my mid to late twenties and early thirties that I started to *devour!* the offerings of TCM!

I even stumbled across the collective works of Cari Beauchamp (a wicked sweet Hollywood biographer!) prior to being a book blogger whilst fully engaged in the context of her book: Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s. Ever since I came across her writings, I’ve longed to attend the TCM: Classic Film Festival and mingle with others who love Classic Hollywood! I still itch to read through her collective works and seek out other titles by writers who are encompassing the same zest of love for this wicked time in film history!

One of my pet projects prior to being a book blogger was compiling a list of titles about Old Hollywood – most of the books were hard to fetch via ILL (inter-library loan) due to the heaviness of their volumes, which is why my ILL List soon became a Wish List of Purchases! lol On that list are biographies about Edith Head, as I had come to find her styles being represented through the films I was watching on TCM. The beauty of TCM is being able to find #newtomeactors of a begone age where women had the luxury of having a healthy body image & a definitive style where the fashions of Hollywood not only pushed new boundaries of fabric & craft but gave an eloquence to film-making at the same time! I love drinking in the styles of the 1920s – 1940s especially as they are such a cardinal imprint of class, sophistication and individuality.

When the publicist at Tor/Forge reached out to me about the mysteries involving Edith Head, I didn’t even have to think hard about accepting them! I did request receiving ‘Design for Dying’ alongside ‘Dangerous to Know’ as I felt the best way to entreat into an established series is to read the very first entry, wherein I could get a solid footing for the background of the characters and feel the continuity between installments!

As I will be blogging my ruminations back to back – if you return on Friday, you’ll get a special delight in reading my conversation with the authors behind this delishly vintage series, too! I loved how I even have a small tidbit about the ‘length and scope of time’ we all have coming towards us as the series expands and continues to grow! I am ever so excited for these two showcases as one thing I love about Old Hollywood is how quirky and comedic the ‘back-stories’ can be surrounding what is readily known but also, how delightfully quirky their lives were because they were defining the rules as they lived! There wasn’t a structure to everything back then – you could carve out a life between the lines and craft together a living on sheer determined will, pure wit and the daring conviction to pull it all off! And, that is what I loved about this series – as it embodies the fierce grit of daring possibilities to carve out your own path and live it with confidence!

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Notation on Cover Art Design: For a girl who once considered studying Costume Design at Ole Miss, I must confess I love the whole vintage texture and vibe of this cover art! I even love how there is this allure of ‘who could that be entering through the theshold’ whilst focusing on the dress of the woman in front of the mirror! Part of my allure of following the legacy of Edith Head is my passion for vintage fashion and costume design. A bit of this was revealled recently on my review of ‘How to be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World’ – but more to the point, I love how the typography, the setting and the art direction of this cover pull you forward into a plausible entry point to re-trace the footsteps of Edith Head.

Book Review | “Design for Dying” (Book No.1 of the Lillian Frost & Edith Head novels) by Renee Patrick A wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series set during Hollywood’s Golden Years!Design for Dying
Subtitle: A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Novel
by Renee Patrick
Source: Direct from Publisher

The salon and the case files are open...

Meet Lillian Frost. A transplanted New Yorker with a boundless love of the movies and a single lousy screen test to her credit.

Meet Edith Head. The costume designer who, over the course of a career spanning seven decades, would be nominated for more Academy Awards than any other woman. Who dressed the most glamorous stars in history. Who worked closely with directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.

Meet the sleuthing duo about to become Hollywood’s greatest detectives.

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl ... until she discovers she’s a suspect in the murder of her former roommate Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she’s barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian’s name and save Edith’s career, the two women join forces. Unraveling the mystery pits them against a Hungarian princess on the lam, a hotshot director on the make, and a private investigator who’s not on the level.

All they have going for them are dogged determination, assists from the likes of Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck, and a killer sense of style. In show business, that just may be enough…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780765381859

Also by this author: Dangerous to Know

Also in this series: Dangerous to Know


Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Fashion Industry, Film History | Classic Hollywood, Noir Crime Drama


Published by Forge

on 7th March, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Forge (@torbooks) | Read their incredible BLOG

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Hardcover + Ebook

About Renee Patrick

Married writing team of Rosemarie & Vince Keenan, known as Renee Patrick. Photo Credit: David Hiller, 2015

Renee Patrick is the pseudonym for married authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan. Rosemarie is a research administrator and a poet. Vince is a screenwriter and a journalist. Both native New Yorkers, they currently live in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: David Hiller, 2015

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Barbara Stanwyck, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), California, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, Edith Head, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Inspired by Stories, Lady Detective Fiction, Noir Crime Drama, Old Hollywood, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Thirties, Vintage Clothes & Boutiques, Vulgarity in Literature

Cover Reveal | NEW #ChocLit #HistFic the SIXTH #ChartonMinster novel: “Girl in Red Velvet” by Margaret James

Posted Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

If your a regular reader or frequent visitor of Jorie Loves A Story, you know I’ve been smitten with the novelists who publish their relationship-based Romances with ChocLitUK for a good two years now! I love being on the cusp of learning about a ‘new release’ whilst I remain patient to see if the Digital First new ChocLit novel will make it to a print release further down the road of it’s lifetime. I don’t mind the gaps between the ebooks and the print editions – as it’s always given me the pleasure of balancing my ‘next ChocLit reads’ to include both Front List and Back List offerings. Thus, I am enjoying being a member of the Reveal Team at ChocLit whilst it gives me a chance to introduce my readers to a variety of sub-genres within Romance I appreciate picking up to read!

Charton Minster : a series, a towne and a house

I love finding an author like Ms James who can curate such an authentic and historic setting which speaks to you in each of the volumes of it’s continuous story-line. #ChartonMinster for me is a threading of time set first during a backdrop of war-time strife and adverse circumstances befalling the Denham family whilst curating this incredible arc of characters and journeys of self-discovery per each character the lens of each novel is turnt to highlight to draw you further into what makes #ChartonMinster such a compelling series to be a part of through the two trilogies!

Rose Courtenay is being tested about her loyalty to her heart and the duties endowed her by being her parent’s daughter – a child raised at a certain level of station where the divides between classes is dearly outlined for her each time she tries to assert her voice. Never more true than a proposal that is not on the merits of love or romance, but because it ‘sounds good on paper’ to unite two people whose finances and families can unite together as one. The contriteness of this choice is not lost on Rose, but how she wars with her mind over her choices is what champions James as a writer of a war drama bent on highlighting a strong female lead who has her own story to share.

Denham went off to war and Rose found herself conscripted by her choice into a hospital ward as a volunteer nurse – a place where she fully came into her own and matured. She made a bit of a muck of things at first, stumbling her way through her rounds and not nearly as apt at doing routine requests as other young nurses, but somehow through perseverance she managed. In the midst of the hospital wards, Rose was given the rare opportunity to try her hand at living and serving others with a freedom she never had in her own life to give.

-quoted from my review of The Silver Locket

One common thread of the saga is the pursuit of independence, freedom of choice and the pursuit to fully embrace who you are whilst your growing into your own skin. Each of the women (and men!) of the series is struggling through growing pains and life situations which try their faith, patience and personal belief in alighting on a better path in their futures. They each have to embrace risk, chance and the hope of tomorrow – sometimes without even realising how things will turn round but to gather strength out of the Hope of what tomorrow might bring. This is something I love about the series – each of the characters being focused on in turn have something to prove and something to accomplish. They are finding themselves – whilst the world isn’t quite on solid ground but they have the gumption to endeavour a better future than the one they can see in the present.

Charton Minster : an estate, a towne and a legacy:

What truly is fascinating behind the curtain of events, is how Ms James roots us to the spot surrounding the emotional legacy behind Charton Minster; which is both an estate, a towne and a legacy of souls. There is a lot of deeply felt emotional baggage pertaining to the residents (both past and present) but it’s more than mere lineage and ancestral heirs that bespeak of the anguish that is a bit of a shroud around the estate itself, as the whispered rumours etch well into the towne as well. It’s an intriguing look at how society can chose to judge and take sides against issues they may or may not even truly understand; but they do so because they feel they have the right to judge people who live in their towne. In this one regard, Ms James paints the grim picture well for how small towne gossip and misunderstandings can abound as swiftly as one can add scuttlebutt to the gossip-mills!

It almost felt like the towne had trouble moving forward because the family whose ancestral heritage was once respected in residence at Charton Minster, had long since vacated it’s grounds. The new owner was not worthy of it’s holding, as his entire life was practically a sham but it’s also how he lived his life that truly was distasteful. Further interesting was watching how choices, judgments and the fine line of tolerance all started to intermix affecting the lives of those who would come up next in the generations after all the heartache first materalised.

-quoted from my review of The Golden Chain

There is more to this series than the characters – there is the history of the town inasmuch as the history of the house – #ChartonMinster is self-evolving as it moves forward through time. Sometimes things stay the same and yet, nothing is truly ever the same – the setting and the evocative way in which the series becomes transformative through time proves how temporal time truly is for all of us. We have to rise through our challenges, accept our tribulations and greet life with a cheery hope of joy for what it could bring to us in unexpected moments which grant us the best happiness of our lives.

This is a reader’s delight in finding a series you can allow your heart to move from one set of shoes to another, as you live the varied lives of the series’ characters who will deepen your appreciation for reading Historicals but also allow you the pleasure of alighting through a well-conceived portal of time.

Ms James brings back the issue of Charton Minster (the house) itself too, whilst giving us a good nod towards knowing what’s become of the other characters we’ve cared for throughout the series (thus far along). Daisy makes an appearance and in so doing, gives us a happy moment of reprieve knowing her life has turnt out quite well. She’s not just happy (in career and marriage) but she’s resolved her past and her origins; she even has a healthy outlook on the circle of her life. One of the things you love appreciating about how the series unfolds is how each character is still keenly important even if the core of the current story has shifted forward and away from them. Their still viable and their able to give insight into where they currently are now on their own life’s path.

The tug on your heart is waiting to find out what becomes of the young adventure seekers: Cassie and Frances whilst finding the twins (Robert and Stephen) keep you on your toes as to how their lives will become altered through service and war. Robert might not be the easiest bloke to warm too, but there is something about him that pulls at your heart as you watch him make the choices he needs too and the sacrifices which come from duty. Stephen is a bit head-strong even though you don’t think it at first; he’s the twin who feels he has the most to prove and yet never quite sees himself in a positive light.

What truly hits you throughout this third story is  how difficult it is to accept the circumstances as they evolve; to embrace the future of tomorrow without understanding how the present will heal and feel less adverse. Each of the characters you’ve come to know how learning curves and situations to overcome, but at the heart of the series is always finding one’s path when the uncertainties are stacked against you. When being brave and finding courage are not easy attributes to always embrace but a strong will to survive can carry you through. What I loved most is how in each turning of the series, the women and men featured in Charton Minster have the capacity to endeavour to beat the odds and find true love in unexpected hours of grace.

-quoted from my review of The Penny Bangle

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Posted Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, ChocLitUK, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Multi-Generational Saga, The Sixties

Cover Reveal | NEW #ChocLit #RomCom by Jane Lovering “Little Teashop of Horrors”!

Posted Tuesday, 28 March, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

If your a regular reader or frequent visitor of Jorie Loves A Story, you know I’ve been smitten with the novelists who publish their relationship-based Romances with ChocLitUK for a good two years now! I love being on the cusp of learning about a ‘new release’ whilst I remain patient to see if the Digital First new ChocLit novel will make it to a print release further down the road of it’s lifetime. I don’t mind the gaps between the ebooks and the print editions – as it’s always given me the pleasure of balancing my ‘next ChocLit reads’ to include both Front List and Back List offerings. Thus, I am enjoying being a member of the Reveal Team at ChocLit whilst it gives me a chance to introduce my readers to a variety of sub-genres within Romance I appreciate picking up to read!

You may or may not realise how quirky my humour is by what you’ve previously read here on Jorie Loves A Story, as comedy is not something I always focus on nor is it easy for me to find contemporary favourites in the comedic world. For instance, it might surprise you to learn Mum and I sometimes find ourselves caught up in comedies that might be considered ‘outside our comfort zones’ and far to the outside of where we regularly travel in the world of comedy! A prime example of this would be the film ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’ and our ill-fated attempt to watch ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’.

More recently we have dipped into the Contemporary comedies on television which have garnished a following for those of us who appreciate quirky humour, dashes of romance and a slightly dysfunctional view on family life such as: Schitt’s Creek (from Canada) and Grace and Frankie (from Netflix). Of these two, the first one lost it’s luster in Series 3 where the timing and writing were so far off the mark of the original two series, we stopped laughing + watching outright. Similar to how the first series of Younger had a plausible reason for being watched (especially for anyone who is caught up in the world of books and publishing!) but by the sophomore year, they quashed the joy so distinctively it was hard to remember what was good about it! (similar to why ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ was let go of as well before the end of series two!) Now, the third series mentioned is on that fringe state of losing it’s ‘quirkified style’ and merit of being wicked funny.

Reason being — despite all of these being slightly blunt around the proverbial edge to include vulgarity* in more sprites and frequency than what I would accept in novels — at the core of the series themselves, there was a lifeblood of realistic drama, cunning dialogue and a soulfulness of relating to the human condition whilst life is being evolved in ordinary hours. They might be billed as comedies, but somewhere the lines blurred and were more dramedies than comedies. Yet. They all had their quirks – to understand properly what I’m referencing you’d have to borrow the seasonals like I did or pop over to Netflix for a trial go at membership! lol (if you want to catch the first three seasons of Grace and Frankie)

*I would of course love to see them temper the inclusions but that’s wishful thinking on my behalf! Sometimes I like to see what others’ are watching in order to ‘keep in step’ with my contemporaries but also choosing what works for me at the same time. I’d rather not have a blind eye but an informed eye. Sometimes I make exceptions to understand my peers and sometimes what I ‘try’ for awhile fades into the background of a ‘miss’ but something that was briefly appreciated.

Now, why do I like quirky humour!? To say life is far too serious and jarring IRL is too obvious to state; but to clarify that I’ve always had a quirky funnybone is more readily the point! You see, I was in middle school when I met ‘Beetlejuice’ as much as I was entralled with the Addams Family; not to mention the Munsters! There are classics in comedy and there are ground-breakers like Carol Burnett who redefined how sophisticated you can make comedy even if it’s fully on the level of ‘quirk’. I might dip inside well-known shows for a spell, but my personal favourites tend to be more traditionally writ and/or have something inside them that proves timeless (such as Carol Burnett or Dick Van Dyke).

On the flipside, the drama ‘Monarch of the Glen’ falls inside a lovingly brilliant dramedy where Highland life in Scotland with a cleverly writ dysfunctional family is fully engaging round a story-line of where one son endeavours to bail out a failing Scottish Castle and mindfully embrace the quirky family he’s a part of in the process! I loved every inch of that zany comedic series – even when it turnt quite emotionally jarring!

When it comes to the comedy of Ms Lovering, I am a bit in the ‘dark’ so to speak. I do not know how she flavours her stories (by language choices) or how she adds layers of quirky situation comedy to her characters’ lives, but one thing is for sure – I think I have an inside glimpse at what could be involved as I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with her during #ChocLitSaturday! (see also @ChocLitSaturday for chat updates) During the chats she was able to duck inside were the ones I laughed so hard I nearly split a kidney as they say! Her cheeky and insightful humour never fails to leave me in stitches of joy, and I have a feeling I’ll feel the same about her fiction!

Of course, mind you, one of the joys of featuring this ‘cover reveal’ today is not only my participation as a ChocLit Star but as a second entry of blogging about Ms Lovering’s fiction! I’ve been wanting to duck into her comedies – but as the Yorkshire series is full-on established, I never knew which book to begin with or when to enter it properly! I know her stories are one-offs as much as they are part of a threading of a series, but I sometimes am shy about how to start series. My general intent is to start at the beginnings, but I’ve broken that tradition several times for different reasons, so it’s not a strict hard fast rule if series like this are not traditionally anchoured round each story continuing the previous installment.

FYI: I have a secret of my own right now about how I’ve resolved this curiosity of mine but today, we are celebrating her latest release! You might remember me hosting her Reveal for ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ last May!? (see also this post!)

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On my connection to the author:

I happily have had the pleasure of interacting with Ms Lovering through #ChocLitSaturday the chat off/on for the past three years; up until when she had to take a hiatus from joining us Autumn 2015 or thereabouts. I am always thankful when the ChocLit authors can find a niche where they feel comfortable chattering with fellow ChocLit authors, Romance novelists, book bloggers, readers, and other bookishly chatty spirits who alight on Saturdays! Ms Lovering always knows how best to give us a heap of laughter, a wicked good smile and happily make #ChocLitSaturday a lovely place to be!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays that come after their initial publication.

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Posted Tuesday, 28 March, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy

Author Q&A | “Soulmated” by Shaila Patel an exciting new release for readers who love #DiverseLit!

Posted Monday, 30 January, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo dear hearts! I am pleased to be a part of the blog tour hosted directly by Month9Books for a new release of #DiverseLit featuring a cross-cultural romance between an Irish bloke and an Indian lass! I’ve had the pleasure of interacting a bit with the author via Twitter leading up to my tour stop – whilst being caught up in the pre-release excitement of having a new book begin it’s travels within the book world. Always an exciting time for authors & readers alike – what drew me into wanting to host this blog tour is the opportunity to talk to the author about her characters, the story-line itself and to help celebrate an author whose writing an #ownvoices release.

I have always read diversely, ever since I was a young girl, however, a lot has changed in publishing in the last several years – where #WeNeedDiverseBooks has become a movement I’ve been a part of since it’s initial Twitter storm of tweets supporting diversity and equality in literature to where we now can celebrate authors like Ms Patel, who are writing narratives from their own cultural heritage and background whilst being celebrated through the #ownvoices movement as well. Literature is quite an exciting time right now – but what moves me to the most to read stories, are the heart and soul centred stories where we truly get to enter into the lives of the characters through an emotional connective thread which gives us entrance into their lives.

As I read the premise behind Soulmated, I felt the author had a wonderful window into telling a story a lot of us could relate too, and would love to read. The fact that it’s a cross-cultural Romance with the added benefit for being inclusive of the Urban Fantasy arc of elements wherein the supernatural bits are interspersed with the lives of the characters, you feel as if your about to enter into an exciting story which has a fast pace of alighting inside your imagination.

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Soulmated by Shaila Patel

Published By: Month9Books (@Month9Books)

on 24th January,  2017

Available Formats: Ebook | Paperback

Converse on Twitter via:

 #YALit, #DiversityInYA, & #DiverseSFF
 & #Month9Books

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BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Two souls. One Fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

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Posted Monday, 30 January, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Spotlight of E-Book (ahead of POD/print edition), China, Chinese Literature, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Month9Books, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Parapsychological Gifts, Stories on the Rise, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction