Category: Inspired by Stories

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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Blog Book Tour | “You’ve Got This” (How to Look UP when Life has you DOWN) compiled by Elise Hahl feat. Al Carraway and Hank Smith

Posted Monday, 14 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “You’ve Got This” direct from the publisher CFI (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this collection of inspiring stories:

I was invited to this blog tour by the author Elise Hahl of whom I was thankful who introduced me to this inspiring non-fiction collection of human interest stories and affirmations of positivity which can inspire teenagers to find courage and strength in their growing years. I find these kinds of collections cross-relatable and cross-applicable – as the wisdom and truth of what is being shared is timeless. When your growing up there are moments where you like to have self-reflection and self-motivating modes of inspiration to guide you on your path. You can have a wonderful support system within your family and/or community but there are times where it is best to withdraw internally and seek out the answers  you’re pursuing through your continuing journey where you lean on your faith most directly.

As I will be adopting out of foster care in the future – I am keenly interested in finding books I will one day be recommending to my children. Either for fiction or non-fiction interests and pursuits as the joy of reading and seeking solace in literature is one of the blessings I want to instill in my children. You can gain so much through books – it’s something that I look forward to sharing with them. Therefore, this is one of those motivational books I was keen to read and become acquainted with in case down the road it would become quite handy to have knowledge of whilst giving me the chance to share it with my child(ren).

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “You’ve Got This” (How to Look UP when Life has you DOWN) compiled by Elise Hahl feat. Al Carraway and Hank SmithYou've Got This
Subtitle: How to Look UP when life has you DOWN
by Al Carraway, Elise Hahl, Hank Smith
Source: Direct from Publisher

Life is tough, but so are you! Learn how to work through life’s trials with advice from popular youth speakers, including Hank Smith and Al Carraway, who have endured a few challenges of their own. This encouraging book will help you see trials as essential stepping-stones to becoming who you’re destined to be.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781462119424

Also by this author: More than the Tattooed Mormon

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by CFI (imprint) Cedar Fort Inc

on 1st October, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 128

Published By: CFI (imprint) of Cedar Fort Inc (@CedarFortBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #LDSFaith and #INSPY #nonfiction

About Al Carraway

Al Fox Carraway

Al Fox Carraway has spent the last four years inspiring the world with her story of conversion, redemption, and finding faith. As a blogger and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. This up-close look at her life will show you what it means to truly trust in the Lord.

Photo Credit: Al Fox Carraway headshot by Beka Price Photography.

About Elise Hahl

Elise Hahl

After serving as a missionary to the Brazil Manaus mission, Elise Babbel Hahl completed her studies in English at Stanford University, married her mission pen pal, and went on to earn a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her work has been published in Choosing Motherhood, Whereabouts: Stepping Out of Place, Education Next magazine, Do NOT Attempt in Heels, and recorded on “The World in Words” podcast. She lives with her husband and four children in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

About Hank Smith

Hank Smith

Hank Smith has been a full-time religious educator for the Church for 12 years, teaching seminary and in the Religion Department at BYU. Hank is a favorite speaker with Especially for Youth, BYU Education Week, and Time Out for Women. With his trademark sense of humor and his captivating stories and examples, Hank makes it fun to learn gospel principles and strengthen personal testimonies.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The collection itself is portable – not only for the slimline publication but because it is broken into different sections by each of the contributing authors – each of whom have something unique to share about how their faith re-energised their hope and provided grace in their lives through their adversities. Each of them has a new perspective to offer and a life lesson to impart on the young reader who might be seeking advice but isn’t as sure about the kind of advice that needs to be sought. Sometimes you read inspiring stories just to let you mind wash over something positive even if the pursuit of the story isn’t readily known at the time. Read More

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Posted Monday, 14 November, 2016 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biblical History, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Historical Perspectives, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired by Stories, Lessons from Scripture, Mormonism, Non-Fiction, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Religious History, Short Stories or Essays, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vignettes of Real Life, World Religions

Blog Book Tour | “A Song of War: A Novel of Troy” by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield

Posted Thursday, 3 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “A Song of War” direct from the publisher Knight Media in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title interested me to read:

When it comes to Helen of Troy, the Trojan War and Greek Myths such as The Iliad, you could say I took an about-face course of action whenever these subjects were broached in school. I did not see a need to change that status until recently, when an opportunity to read an anthology collection based on the Trojan War appeared in my blog tour folder. I will say, the Trojan War fascinated me when I was younger (as I loved studying key moments in History; a budding History buff & appreciator of war dramas in fiction) however, it was Helen herself that keenly intrigued me. I wanted to take the discussion in school to a deeper level than the bare bone facts and trivia soundbites, but alas, my peers were not as keen as I was on that front, and thus, I grew bored. The trend for me is that once I turnt bored on a topic or subject in school, I simply tuned it out. Frustrating to my teachers but I was more vexed how tediously repetitive and superficial most discussions were and how ironic my classmates were never bored.

One of the reasons I love reviewing anthologies (previously I’ve spent more attention on seeking out Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror anthologies!) is the nature of how you get the proper chance to ‘meet’ multiple authors, or renew interest in ones you already know and appreciate. Sometimes it’s a mix of the two, if you read successive anthologies and find the same authors are represented and/or if in this instance, you find the happy surprise of a historical author you appreciate is included (for me, this would be Stephanie Thornton).

I approach reviewing anthologies differently than novels – for me, it’s seeking out the stories contained in the anthology that garnished the most connection to the context, character and timescape. If this were SF/F/H I would also be focused on the layering of thematic or the depth of the world-building. With my readings of Troy, I was looking for the aesthetics of the era, the general cohesiveness of how the time was represented and of course, the clarity shining through the point-of-view of the lead and supporting characters.

The best part of anthologies is never knowing how many of the stories you’ll feel wholly enthused about reading nor which story stands out in the end. It’s like a grab bag of literary gold – each story has the chance to touch your heart and imagination – but will it?! And, if so, why!? I also like reading biographies or Appendixes in anthologies – my ARC copy included Author Notes but was re-missive on the Introduction by Glyn Iliffe. Thankfully I let my fingers do the walking and I found it included in the “behind the book” preview on Amazon. The blessing for me, it was only a short paragraph and not a few pages, as reading length digitally is not something I can do.

Imagine then, my wicked joy in descending into this historical anthology – dearly curious on my own behalf of which author would etch such a strong impression as to leave me even more full of wonder about the Trojans, Helen and a period of history that still paints a fever pitch of interest in today’s modern literary world.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “A Song of War: A Novel of Troy” by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell WhitfieldA Song of War
Subtitle: A Novel of Troy
by Christian Cameron, Kate Quinn, Libbie Hawker, Russell Whitfield, Sja Turney, Stephanie Thornton, Vicky Alvear Shecter
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781536931853

Also by this author: Daughter of the Gods, Author Interview (Stephanie Thornton), The Tiger Queens

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Historical Fiction, Short Story or Novella, War Drama


Published by Knight Media LLC

on 18th October, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 483

Originally Published By: Knight Media
Available Formats: Paperback

Converse via: #HistFic, #Illaid + #HTeam

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 3 November, 2016 by jorielov in 12th Century BC, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Greece, Andromache (Hector's wife) of Troy, Anthology Collection of Stories, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Equality In Literature, Feminine Heroism, Gods & Goddesses, Greek Mythology, Hector of Troy, Helen of Troy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Military Fiction, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Paris of Troy, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Re-Told Tales, Short Stories or Essays, Siblings, The Bronze Age (Trojan War era), Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women of Power & Rule