Category: #JorieLovesIndies

Audiobook Review | “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” by Jennifer Kincheloe Jorie re-visits one of her beloved reads of 2016!

Posted Monday, 13 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

How I first came to read ‘Anna Blanc’: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared therein. This selection marked my ‘first’ choice of novels from Prometheus Books – which is why being able to listen and review the audiobook was such a sweet blessing!

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How I acquired this Digital Audiobook and my connection to the author: Jennifer Kincheloe

I remained in touch with the author – as I had hoped this would turn into a series – where this would only be the first installment of Anna Blanc’s life. When I caught sight of the audiobook being published on Twitter, I reached out directly to the author, to ask if she were seeking reviews on it’s behalf. Blessed to say, she was and I offered to re-read this novel via the audiobook in exchange for an honest review in December 2016, thinking I would post my ruminations on behalf of the narrator’s vocalisation of Anna Blanc in January 2017.

Except to say, I couldn’t get motivated to re-listen to this title – I was still adjusting to my father’s recovery from his stroke as he was just getting through his recovery period at home. I struggled with finding the inspiration to read in mid to late December and throughout January; although I did find a few stories which took hold. Sadly, this story I pushed forward to listen too, as I wanted to be in a better frame of mind to listen to Anna’s story for the second time, as became such a dear joy of mine the first time round! I had mentioned to the author about possibly contacting the Audiobookworm about promoting the audiobook, too. Turns out whilst I had a few months of a reader’s rut to trudge through, this audiobook and story made it into Audiobookworm Promotions!

I requested to be an ‘additional’ reviewer and to interview the narrator originally as I didn’t want to affect the blog tour – yet at the same time, I was so inspired by the narrator’s take on Anna Blanc, I was wicked excited about setting up a conversation with her about her performance. This conversation ended up being canncelled on my end, as I simply couldn’t pull it together on a short deadline. I also remained on the blog tour to be a ‘second time reader’ of the novel.

Therefore, I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” via the author Jennifer Kencheloe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein nor for recommending her to use Audiobookworm Promotions for publicity for this title or series.

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What I initially loved about the story of ‘Anna Blanc’ – quoted from my original review of the print edition:

Anna Blanc is self-assured and a women who doesn’t take kindly to be ‘put in place’ by her controlling father – as soon as she announces her presence on the scene, you want to know more about her as she’s a formidable woman straight from the gate! Her cheeky cleverness to hide whilst attempting to flee by rail and to be fashionable even though necessity dictates that to be a difficulty when trying to outfox someone from finding out your whereabouts – Anna Blanc has a charm about her that lends well to become entranced by a character you can tell is going to surprise you at each new turning of her story! How can you not help but smile when things go her way? She has this curious aplumb about her that delights the expectation of where she’s about to take you on her adventure!

Kincheloe has this cheeky sense of humour threading through her ink, as right when you think Anna Blanc has mastered the art of deceiving her father for the goodwill of her future, he pulls back twice as strong as before – leaving Anna with a shattered bit of hope and a firm displeasure of injustice. When she meets up with the Suffragettes, I was not too shocked to find her winning a wink towards their cause – as their cause was her cause!

The best attribute Anna Blanc has within her is a self-motivating resolve to become self-educated as it was such a joy to watch her expand her mind in a fervent attempt to understand the underpinnings of motives and causes of the crimes that were leeching through her city at such a fast rate of alarm. She did not just want to sleuth for the sake of detection but to fully understand the methodology behind the crimes and I think this is a nod to the writer’s (Kincheloe) curiosity being piqued by true crime stories straight out of the historical archives from whence she draws her inspirations. Kincheloe also under-writ a stunning historical survey of early Forensic techniques which inspired Anna with her investigating – especially in regards to understanding the differences between murder and suicide. This became quite pivotal in the story as Anna Blanc made her transition from socialite to female detective.

The beauty of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc are the little bits of plot your not expecting to find encircle through the evolving story – there were little clues fluttering through it’s context, but the joy was not completely sorting it all out until the very last chapter – wherein, your heart swoons with glee and you champion the success Anna Blanc had in closing her second case! This is a bit of a guilty pleasure for historical fiction readers – Kincheloe has tempted us with her wicked sweet prose where a heroine peppers the scenes with her feisty personality and a penchant for seeking out the truth from a sea of lies!

Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era.

I loved the way in which Kincheloe turnt a phrase, using words not oft found in historical fiction as her novel is a good primer of words that are wicked to say aloud and used in descriptive narratives such as this one! The phrases themselves are a delight for readers who love words as much as wordsmiths, which Kincheloe definitely excels at including whilst giving Anna Blanc a crafty choice of words to express her emotional duress! She also found a clever way to include Anna’s religious background by having her talk to the Saints when a mood or a moment fitted the hour; it was quite an interesting way to thread faith inside a mainstream novel and I liked the author’s candor.

I found this unputdownable – I read it straight through in one sitting!

I found it deliciously refreshing as Anna Blanc is a heroine who made her mark on the world on her own terms whilst owning the truth of her heart. I cannot wait to see what Ms Kincheloe will give us to devour next when this novel’s sequel is released – with a bit of hope, she won’t leave us in suspense too long!

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Audiobook Review | “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” by Jennifer Kincheloe Jorie re-visits one of her beloved reads of 2016!The Secret Life of Anna Blanc
Subtitle: Read by Moira Quirk
by Jennifer Kincheloe
Source: Direct from Author
Narrator: Moira Quirk

It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father's collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief's son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.

Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

Also in this series: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Historical Fiction


Published by Jennifer R. Kincheloe Ltd

on 14th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 12 hours 44 minutes (unabridged)

(Audiobook) Published By: the author herself

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

Converse via: #SecretLifeOfAnnaBlanc

About Jennifer Kincheloe

Jennifer Kincheloe Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse's aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She's currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.

Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi
Biography updated: March 2017

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 13 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, the Nineteen Hundreds, True Crime, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage

Book Review | “The Girl in the Painting” (Book No.2 of the Rossetti Mysteries) by Kirsty Ferry #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 4 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Girl in the Painting” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On re-reading the ending of ‘Some Veil Did Fall’:

The interesting bit about this particular Rom Suspense is how capturing it was to watch the lead character ‘travel’ back intuitively through the corridors of the past; whispers of windowing moments of another person’s lived life if you will. Becky becomes so attached to the mirroring connective tissues of the past, she has trouble recognising it’s not a life she once lived but the life of another woman: of Ella’s. The two women are fused together – through circumstances Becky has to unravell in order to understand and of whose paths slowly knit together in a chase towards tomorrow! What is underwrit into the narrative is this sense of urgency and purpose; of fine tuning the details to pull together the secrets but also, to understand what is lost and hidden through time itself. The ‘veil’ which falls is the curtain separating the present from the past; where all truths let out and bubble back to the surface – to be examined and understood.

There is a strong case presented for reincarnated lovers – where two souls who were entwined in the past are thus now re-acquainted with in the present; drawing to each other like magnets and finding each other unable to resist being together as a couple. The interesting bit is how the pieces fit together and how Ms Ferry presented her thesis on how this could happen with a strong viable cause for plausibility rather than mere fanciful thought towards that end. Ms Ferry also wrote about how losing trust and confidence in the partnership of relationships is something that is hard to re-build and re-affirm in the relationship which rebounds off a sour one. Coincidentally, this was part of the topic thread we discussed during our last #ChocLitSaturday held on 25th of February. When you lose the ability to trust the men your dating and the capacity you have as a woman to trust your instincts in how to balance the relationship bits with your own independence is a mark for trouble. Part of what held back Becky is recognising not every bloke she’d meet past Seb would be an ill-fated relationship; she had to take a leap of faith but part of her wasn’t quite ready to dive into the unknown; even if her heart was pulling her in that direction.

And of course, one thing that made this story so brilliantly effective of co-merging the past with the present is how Ella whispered into Becky’s mind the voice of reason; for Ella was connected to Becky on a heart-level of insight. It was almost like a form of telepathy except to say, Ella was long since dead and Becky was very much alive! The two shared a symbiotic connection all the same; where their feelings could be felt between them and where Ella was stronger about voicing her feelings than Becky felt she could herself. At the same time, Jon felt Adam moving round his person and attempting to connect with him as well. This was something that stood out to me originally and which I appreciated re-visiting; how Ms Ferry weaved the time threads into her story-line by making unconventional choices of how the ‘past’ and ‘present’ could cross-sect together.

In my re-visit, I was caught up in the emotions of Ella & Adam whilst walking alongside Jon and Becky; there is so much inside this first installment, where the pace is set, the ebbing of the past into the present is well-placed and the duality of the time-lines is well played by Ms Ferry! I felt exactly as I had originally – torn between Ella & Adam and Jon with Becky; as they each had so much to gain and so much to lose; their romance(s) were bittersweet at times and so very tender as well. Both men understood the women they loved in such a startling deep way, it nearly cut off their chances to be with them; as both Ella and Becky were at times very private individuals who did not always champion the men who understood them inside and out!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Girl in the Painting” (Book No.2 of the Rossetti Mysteries) by Kirsty Ferry #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Girl in the Painting
Subtitle: Rossetti Mysteries
by Kirsty Ferry
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

What if you thought you knew a secret that could change history?

Whilst standing engrossed in her favourite Pre-Raphaelite painting – Millais’s Ophelia – Cori catches the eye of Tate gallery worker, Simon, who is immediately struck by her resemblance to the red-haired beauty in the famous artwork.

The attraction is mutual, but Cori has other things on her mind. She has recently acquired the diary of Daisy, a Victorian woman with a shocking secret. As Cori reads, it soon becomes apparent that Daisy will stop at nothing to be heard, even outside of the pages of her diary …

Will Simon stick around when life becomes increasingly spooky for Cori, as she moves ever closer to uncovering the truth about Daisy’s connection to the girl in her favourite painting?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781893609

Also by this author: Some Veil Did Fall

Also in this series: Some Veil Did Fall


Genres: Art & Art History, Ghost Story, Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th March, 2017

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 301

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Order of Sequence of Rossetti Mysteries:

Some Veil Did Fall by Kirsty FerryThe Girl in the Painting by Kirsty FerryThe Girl in the Photograph by Kirsty Ferry

Some Veil Did Fall | Book One | Read more on Author’s blog

The Girl in the Painting | Book Two (Synopsis) | Read more on Author’s blog

#PubDay for the third novel is *7th of March, 2017* which shares the release of the 2nd in print!

The Girl in the Photograph | Book Three | Read the Author’s Convo (via Ms Morton Gray’s blog)

whilst being sure to | Read more on the Author’s blog

Converse via: #RossettiMysteries + #ChocLit

About Kirsty Ferry

Kirsty Ferry

Kirsty lives in the North East of England with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in Peoples Friend, The Weekly News, It’s Fate, Vintage Script, Ghost Voices and First Edition.

Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.
Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.
Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 4 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, 21st Century, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Deaf Culture in Fiction, England, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Gothic Romance, Green-Minded Publishers, Haunting & Ethereal, Indie Author, Modern British Author, Modern Day, Paranormal Romance, Parapsychological Suspense, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, the Victorian era, Time Slip