Category: African-American History

Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”

Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I love seeking out Biographical Historical Fiction stories in order to better understand the persons who’ve lived before me and to have an interpersonal glimpse into their lives – which is why I seek out an equal amount of Biopics in motion pictures to watch as well. This is how I came to watch the Netflix original mini-series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker”. (see also Wikipedia) Coincidentally, this aired whilst I was preparing my interview questions for this blog tour and thankfully it gave me an inside glimpse into the back-history of what inspired this poetic drama by the author.

Those of us on the tour received a PDF copy of the story by Ms Augustin – as you know, due to my chronic migraines, I cannot read stories electronically but I do sometimes read chapter samplers of stories online to gather a bit about a writer’s style and to better understand what the story might yield in print when I go to read it in a format better suited for me. In this instance, as I was moving through the PDF to find a section to preview for my interview questions I noticed there are photographs included with this story. I wanted to post an advisory on my tour stop that if you are a sensitive reader one photograph did concern me as it actually shows a lynching which I was not personally expecting to be included myself.

Outside of that photograph, the few sections I previewed helped inspire this conversation and I was thankful to have this copy of the book to use in my research to present a better rounded picture of what inspired the poet to create this dramatic story about the Walkers and how the Walkers are continuing to inspire everyone who finds their story. This is a well-timed conversation as many are still watching “Self Made” and I know others are regularly chatting about Madam CJ Walker and the impact she had on both industry and women-led companies who re-wrote what a woman can accomplish in whichever endeavour of business she chooses to become involved and find success.

I found watching “Self Made” to be an incredible story of both internal strength and belief in one’s self to pursue your own dreams and goals in life whilst embracing the fortitude one needs as a woman to achieve the impossible in a male-dominated world. There is so much truth in this mini-series about what women have faced in different generations to overcome the oppression of yesterday – it is a rising light of how hard we have had to fight for what we have as women of industry as much as how hard it is to build a brand when the concept for the brand isn’t one that everyone wants to embrace.

I loved the fact Octavia Spencer had the lead role in bringing Madam CJ Walker to life as I loved her performance and her instincts for telling Walker’s story. I have long admired her acting and am wicked thankful she is now in high demand as she deserves to continue to get these kinds of roles where she can shine such a wonderful light on the characters I feel she was bourne to portray! She’s just a wicked good actress and its a delight to see her in roles which I feel are strengthened due to how she’s approached them as an actress.

I also feel we are undeserved as both readers and citizens not to embrace more of the diversity of our country and of the persons who have made historical impacts on our society. We have such a beautiful diverse citizenship and yet, a lot of the historical stories which need to be told are never brought to light. I am thankful Walker’s story is finally coming into the mainstream in order to reach a broader audience but I have always maintained we need more stories about living histories of all persons in our country’s past in order to have a better rounded view of our History. All voices and lives need representation and all lives are important to be heard and shared.

It is an absolute joy for me to highlight the life and history of Madam CJ Walker and to share this interview on the blog tour celebrating her life and story. I hope you will walk away with some inspiration for your own life as much as have a better understanding of what Madam CJ Walker had to endure in order to reach for her dreams and bring to reality the world she saw in her dreams.

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Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”Out of No Way
Subtitle: Madam CJ Walker and A'Lelia Walker : A Poetic Drama
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Author, producer, and emerging poet Rojé Augustin has written a groundbreaking debut collection of dramatic poems about hair care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and her daughter, A'Lelia. Rojé's singular and accomplished work is presented through the intimate lens of the mother-daughter relationship via different poetic forms — from lyric to haiku, blackout to narrative. (One poem takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.) Written in tribute to Walker, Out of No Way deftly and beautifully explores themes of race, motherhood, sacrifice, beauty, and the meaning of success in Jim Crow America.

Born Sarah Breedlove to former Louisiana slaves in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, became a mother at 17, and was widowed at 20. After the death of her first husband, Sarah moved to St. Louis with her daughter where she earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. When her hair started falling out she developed a remedy and sold her formula across the country. In the process, she became the wealthiest Negro woman in America.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetry & Drama, Women's Studies

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Self Published

Format: epub | PDF editon

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

NOTE: I do want to advise readers about a content warning in regards to a photograph inclusive of this release which does show a lynching which took me by surprise as well.

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Biography and #Poetry Drama
& #MadamCJWalker and #ALeliaWalker

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Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov in A'Lelia Walker, African-American History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Madam CJ Walker, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie Huesz

Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Lock of Hair” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with A. Rose Pritchett on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A Q&A with the author A. Rose Pritchett

I would normally compile questions for an author to respond to whilst hosting a blog tour, however due to the amount of personal stress & adverse medical emergencies in my family recently, I honestly had forgotten to submit questions to Ms Pritchett. Thereby, I chose a selection of the questions she responded to which were based on questions Ms Jess asked herself as I found her replies to fit in-line with topics I would have broached myself if I had had the chance to ask her questions of my own.

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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

Pritchett responds: When I first published my book a year ago, I knew I wanted to turn it into an audiobook, but didn’t know how to go about it. It seemed expensive and I already invested so much into editing and publishing. Then, after some research, I discovered that ACX has a royalty-share program, which means that I pay nothing upfront, but just split my royalties with the narrator. I auditioned a few narrators, and ended up choosing Melanie Huesz because she gave each character a unique voice, which I knew was a major challenge. After all, there are characters from Boston, Ireland and the South. Some are young, some are old, and one has Down Syndrome. After a couple months of back-and-forth, we got an audiobook produced.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

Pritchett responds: Mildred’s dog, Nightshade, is inspired by my dog, Isabel. Even though they’re different breeds, Nightshade acts a lot like Isabel. Also, I took a Meyers-Briggs test from Mildred’s POV for the heck of it, and she’s an INFJ like me, so there’s that.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out?
What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

Pritchett responds: Contrary to popular advice, I don’t write every day. A lot of times, I’ll switch my focus to one of my many, many hobbies. In fact, part of my routine on days that I write is to take a break to draw or cross stitch, just to be away from the screen. I also allow myself to take “lazy days”, which are days (usually Sunday) where I just do nothing at all except watch cheesy movies and play Sims. It gives my mind a rest so that I’m not half-dead the next time I stare at the little blinking line on the blank screen.

What’s next for you?

Pritchett responds: I have a completed draft of my second book set during WW2 that I’m trying to get published, and I’m currently working on my third book, which is a fantasy that I’m really in love with. I’ve also dabbled in screenplay writing, with a pilot for a miniseries inspired by my childhood growing up in the restaurant industry and a script that I’m working on-and-off based on my experiences going from my preppy middle school to my arts high school (total culture shock!). All of my works have the same snarkiness that A Lock of Hair has.

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An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV  | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie HueszA Lock of Hair
by A. Rose Pritchett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Melanie Huesz

Boston, 1846. Eighteen-year-old Mildred Parish, a barber's daughter, practices practical witchcraft using locks of hair obtained from her father's customers. She's very selective about who knows her secret and the kinds of spells she casts. Only people she trusts can know, and she must never cast a spell to harm another person.

One of her father's clients is Theodore O'Brian, an Irish immigrant whose family is fortunate enough to be wealthy. Mildred is head over heels in love with him, but he's destined to be with someone else. One day, a woman named Trinity Hartell comes knocking on Mildred's door. She has a vendetta against an entire family and wants Mildred to cast a death spell on them. The family? The O'Brians, including Theodore. Mildred refuses, but Trinity is set on getting what she wants, one way or another.

Mildred now feels she must protect the O'Brian family and the man she loves, but she must also protect herself. How can she make sure Trinity is stopped without telling the entire city of Boston that she's a witch?

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B089YD7759

Published by Self Published

on 11th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 7 minutes (unabridged)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #HistoricalFiction and/or #HistFic

About A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett's writing career started in kindergarten when she daydreamed about being a fairy princess instead of learning subtraction. Her childhood obsession with American Girl turned her into an avid history lover.

At seventeen, she moved from her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia, where she earned her BA in writing with a history minor from Georgia Southern University. She continues to live in Savannah, still daydreaming about princesses wearing gorgeous dresses. A LOCK OF HAIR is her debut novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov in 17th Century, African-American History, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Boston, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Down Syndrome, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Special Needs Children

Blog Book Tour | “Ice Whispers: Book 1 of the Hidden Hills Saga” by K. Willow

Posted Wednesday, 14 October, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Hidden Hills Saga” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Ice Whispers” the first book in the series direct from the author K. Willow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I love reading Southern Lit:

I have been reading Southern Lit for several decades now, as I appreciate reading stories set in the South for both historical and contemporary stories. Southern Gothic runs close to my wanderings in Southern Lit as the two tend to walk together inasmuch as they are completely separate from each other. What I appreciate the most about Southern Lit are the courageous stories of the men and women who overcame their adversities and their difficulties in ways that truly champion the spirit of humanity.

You’ll find a variety of stories set in the South being featured on my blog, as I gravitate towards this section of literature quite often. Tara Conklin’s The House Girl left a strong impression on me for her convicting narrative and her ability to knit the heart of her characters so true to their spirit as to allow us to become emphatically tied to their plight. (review) Christina Baker Kline writes the psychological and emotional tides of her characters quite well as read in Sweet Water. (review) For socioeconomic disparity and gutting realistic narrative set against actual events,  the duo of Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly left me pensively reposed after reading The Tilted World. (review) My heart nearly broke whilst reading Balm due to the soulful prose writ by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (review); only to become properly shattered whilst caught into the emotional eclipse Katy Simpson Smith gave me in The Story of Land and Sea. (review)

The entreat I took inside To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was a feast for my senses as Andra Watkins has styled her own Southern Lit flavour to bend genres to her will. (review) When it comes to slavery and the Underground Railroad, (outside of Conklin’s prose) I felt Coopey endeared the heart of those who felt the harsh punishments were deeply against humanity within the pages of Redfield Farm. (review)

Imagine my delight in finding a Self Pub author who is creating a series set in the antebellum South who is creating her own niche for this type of story; putting a darker spin on the traditional tales set here and keeping in step with the backdrop we already appreciate.

Blog Book Tour | “Ice Whispers: Book 1 of the Hidden Hills Saga” by K. WillowIce Whispers
by K. Willow

Slavery of a different kind, beyond physical chains, leads to a different type of escape . . .

Marissa Kristofferson can taste freedom. Her long years of suffering at the hands of her sadistic husband, Lance, are coming to an end as he lies dying. But she is stunned when he reveals the contents of his will and what she must do to keep Kristofferson Plantation, and how he plans to keep her bound to him even beyond the grave.

The beautiful slave Lolley has always envied Marissa’s life, and after learning that the master has also ordered her freed after his death, she is determined to reach for the life she wants by becoming the mistress of Marissa’s son, Shane, though she does not realize the lengths Marissa will go to to prevent the match, or the far-reaching consequences that will follow.

And Shelby, the plain and dutiful slave of free blacks, is unwittingly caught in the shocking drama that unfolds as a family is torn apart. Used as a pawn in a game of rivalry, deception, and betrayal, hers is a fight for survival while attempting to remain true to herself.

Three women—so very different but each carrying dark secrets that are closely intertwined, caught in a world between slave and free, a world which is becoming more fragile and precarious as war threatens and alliances shift, and each harboring seemingly impossible dreams of a better future.

In this first book of a dark historical saga, K. Willow paints a lush, emotional portrait of scandal, murder, injustice, and the ties that bind in the antebellum South.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781502953797

Series: The Hidden Hills Saga, No.1

Also in this series: Beneath Creek Waters

on 21st November 2014

Pages: 276

Self Published Author via CreateSpace & BookBaby
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

About K. Willow

K. Willow

K. Willow is a novelist and award-winning writer with a background in television, film, theatre, and soap operas. She writes dark historical and urban fantasy and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband.

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Hidden Hills is the setting; the plantation is where the drama revolves:

Willow has started a series set at a plantation within the proximity of Hidden Hills, of which by observation is within range of Charleston. It is here where she sets her characters and her saga to have the foundation laid for the ensuing novels that will follow Ice Whispers. Hidden Hills is aptly named as there are a heap of hidden secrets whispering around the willows and shade trees as their are stars in the heavens! It’s quite an interesting set-up where nary a character is immune to one of the bubbling controversies that are bubbling to the surface, save Aggie. (or at least thus far)

In this place, perception is paramount above all else (as in most Southern Lit stories, the classes are sharply writ and reflected against each other; the same as they are in Victorian or Regency stories) and if someone takes an unfortunate step out of where they are slated to belong, the upturning effect could be quite devastating. There are darker shades of reflection on how women are treated (both slave and free) and how certain men treat their wives without compassion for their well-being. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Posted Wednesday, 14 October, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, African-American History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Small Towne USA, The Deep South, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “For Your Love” by Beverly Jenkins A story within the small towne of Henry Adams, Kansas; a continuance of the Blessings series!

Posted Sunday, 12 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 6 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “For Your Love” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On the delay of this review:

Originally this review was delayed whilst I took ill in June (for a fortnight overall) and was further delayed by a severe batch of lightning storms over the 4th of July. Those storms were so wickedly intense they caused a bit of damage (electrically) and thus, kicked me offline for a good six days solid! Following shortly thereafter were a few more lightning storms, despite the weathermen saying otherwise; I’m a book blogger who reads and blogs about books in tandem, which is difficult to do whilst your facing electrical malfunctions, hissing outlets, power surge aftereffects, unstablised internet connections, and power outage threats. I regret my review was delayed this long but my joy of reading FOR YOUR LOVE is reflected below. I hope the publisher and author will accept my apologies and know how wicked happy I was to be a member of this blog tour!

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Blog Book Tour | “For Your Love” by Beverly Jenkins A story within the small towne of Henry Adams, Kansas; a continuance of the Blessings series!For Your Love
by Beverly Jenkins
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Myra Lucretia Taylor

Return to Henry Adams, Kansas—an unforgettable place anyone would want to call home. . . .

Mayor Trent July and his wife, Lily, are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But fatherhood has inevitably forced Trent to think about his own birth mother.

Raised by his grandmother Tamar—and, in many ways, the good people of Henry Adams—Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love. But he can't help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he's never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn't she want him?

Trent has always believed that no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on you. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it—and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together . . . but can also tear them apart.

Genres: Heartland Fiction, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Blessings

Published by William Morrow

on 28th April, 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Length: 8 hours, 40 minutes

Pages: 304

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the Blessings series:

No.1: Bring on the Blessings (Book Synopsis on Riffle)

No.2: A Second Helping (Book Synopsis on Riffle)

No.3: Something Old, Something New (Book Synopsis on Riffle)

No.4: A Wish and a  Prayer (Book Synopsis on Riffle)

No.5: Heart of Gold (Book Synopsis on Riffle)

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Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #BlessingsSeries + #BeverlyJenkins

About Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins is the author of thirty historical and contemporary novels, including five previous books in her beloved Blessings series. She has been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People, the Dallas Morning News, Vibe, and many other publications.

On listening to a small excerpt from the audiobook of For Your Love:

Normally excerpts follow the way in which the story evolves on the page, however, this particular sample skipped the opening bits completely (i.e. they overlooked the Prologue!) and jumped straight into Chapter 1! I had to pause the sample whilst I read the Prologue and then, continued! What I did appreciate about the ARC is the inclusion of the map of Henry Adams; it gave me a nice overview of the towne, and a bit of a precursory curiosity about what I might find as I read the story!

The reading of a will is a time of surprises for most families because there is a measure of assurance knowing that not everything you felt was in order; truly is. Lawyers have the unfortunate pleasure of being on the receiving end of denial stemming out of emotional heartache and anguish, whilst attempting to adhere to whichever news befell the relation at the very end of their time with a loved one and at the start of their grieving. In some ways, funeral homes, solicitors for wills, and medical examiners walk a fine line towards helping all of us deal with what happens after a person passes on whilst attempting to keep the process out of our hands and in their capable ones. A very curious beginning,.. very curious!

I found myself wondering if I might have the chance to get to know Ms Ida in the years prior to her passing in the successive chapters of this series prior to this release? I can see the writing on the wall — I will be ILL’ing the rest of the Blessings series!

Definitely appreciated the cadence of how Myra Lucretia Taylor’s voice etches your mind to alight inside the home of the July’s; she changes her voice to suit each individual character although not just by age but by personality; giving you a strong impression on who they are and how they are interacting. It would be a wicked sweet experience to one day listen to her voice whilst reading this for the second time as I do rather fancy listening whilst reading print books nowadays!

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Posted Sunday, 12 July, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, African-American History, African-American Literature, ARC | Galley Copy, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Bookish Discussions, Brothers and Sisters, Child out of Wedlock, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Foster Care, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Modern Day, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, School Life & Situations, Scribd, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services, Stories of Adoption, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, TLC Book Tours, Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction