Category: Herbalist

Blog Book Tour | “The Wish Rider” (Book No.2 of the F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey

Posted Wednesday, 7 September, 2016 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the F.I.G. Mysteries series hosted by iRead Book Tours. As I prefer to read serial fiction in order of publication and/or order of the series (if differential), I requested to receive the first novel in order to understand the second in sequence. This is my second review for the tour which is anchoured to my first review highlighting it’s beginning from yesterday! I received a complimentary copy of “The Wish Rider” direct from the author Barbara Casey in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Wish Rider” (Book No.2 of the F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara CaseyThe Wish Rider
by Barbara Casey
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Eighteen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.'s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that

Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

Genres: Amateur Detective, Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1942314448

Also by this author: The Cadence of Gypsies

Also in this series: The Cadence of Gypsies


Published by Hungry Goat Press

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 160

Published By: Hungry Goat Press (@HungryGoatPress)

an imprint of Gauthier Publications

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Note: Corrected the Synopsis to reflect Dara is eighteen when the story begins, not seventeen.

About Barbara Casey

Barbara Casey

Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

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Posted Wednesday, 7 September, 2016 by jorielov in Apothecary, Blog Tour Host, Herbalist, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Naturopathic Medicine, Naturopathy, Orphans & Guardians, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Cadence of Gypsies” (Book No.1 of the F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey with a Guest Post by the author!

Posted Tuesday, 6 September, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the F.I.G. Mysteries series hosted by iRead Book Tours. As I prefer to read serial fiction in order of publication and/or order of the series (if differential), I requested to receive the first novel in order to understand the second in sequence. This is my first review for the tour which is anchoured to my second review highlighting it’s sequel on the morrow! I received a complimentary copy of “The Cadence of Gypsies” direct from the author Barbara Casey in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I enjoy YA Lit esp Mysteries:

My quest to seek out Mysteries under the umbrella of YA or MG Lit began quite innocently through my local libraries – as I would visit different branches of my regional libraries to seek out a better cross-section of Young Adult Literature as well as finding different authors in Middle Grade of whom might not be locally featured. I grew up reading the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries right alongside Agatha Christie – so you could say, I’ve had ‘mysteries’ on my mind for most of my life! This even extended into the series on television I would develop into a passion of seeing, too, as it began with “Murder She, Wrote” and expanded through the decades to include all the family-based mysteries and/or police procedurals that had unique ‘family’ casts of quirky characters (everything from Remington Steele to Nash Bridges to The Commish and to more recently Rizzoli & Isles, NCIS (x3), The Mentalist, etc !)

I even had a bit of luck of finding some wicked good contemporaries in this vein of interest such as: the Enola Holmes mysteries by Nancy Springer (one of only two after canon authors for Sherlock Holmes I’ll read!); the Keepers of the School series by Andrew Clements; Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (even though I had a few issues with how the dialogue was presented); the entire Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett (as I only read the first books before the motion picture release!); The Golden Hour by Maiya Williams; The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone (which is now a series!); Madhattan Mystery by John J. Bonk  and my most beloved mystery whilst growing up myself was The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!

I even have two of the first novels in the Anthony Horowitz Alex Rider series on my bookshelf! I was sidetracked by watching copious amounts of his historical suspense series Foyle’s War by borrowing the BBC series from the library rather than engaging inside this wicked series, which I discovered via it’s film adaptation! I wished they had made more to be honest! Similar to the way I felt after The Seekers: The Dark is Rising film adaptation was made based on the novels by Susan Cooper (another series I aim to read!).

There are several stories in this category I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading such as: Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani, When by Victoria Laurie (this one I started and put down; timing was off to read it), The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stoud, Secret Letters by Leah Scheier, Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller, the Agency series by Y.S. Lee, The Diviners by Libba Bray, And then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart,  and The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt for Young Adult mysteries.

Whilst equally curious about these in Middle Grade: the Theodore Boone series by John Grisham (as I read his legal thrillers as a teenager!), Pie by Sarah Weeks, When You Reach Me & Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead, the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner (as somehow I missed these growing up!) as well as others I am forgetting at the moment!

Mysteries to me stimulate my ability to think ‘outside the proverbial box’ whilst increasing my quantitative analysis of what is or isn’t in plain view of being seen, understood or processed. I love curling inside a mystery to see if I can follow in suit of what is happening (both in the mystery itself but also the layering of the character’s journey) whilst encouraging my mind to take a ‘hiatus’ to appreciate the built-up the author has left behind – to go so far to curiously ‘predict’ the outcome but not necessarily solve the mystery outright, as I want to feel what the character(s) are feeling within that moment their living through ‘something’ outside the pace of their normal lives!

Of course, I like the lighter side of the genre for YA & MG readers, but sometimes I like seeing how writers can handle harder hitting story-lines without breaching what I would consider ‘alright’ for the target readership to enjoy reading. Sometimes children like to be challenged by literature but most children (as I was one of these myself!) don’t like to step too far afield from where they feel comfortable until they are ready for the adult waters of literature. In other words, there is an invisible balance that must be struck. It’s those authors I am keen on seeking out – not only for review or blog tours, but through my own pursuits as a reader and future Mum!

On that note, the YA mysteries I am enjoying currently are the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective series of which I am returning to reading this Autumn, as I fell out of step and sequence with the series. (see my first review) I have also appreciated finding these authors who are giving stimulating suspense & mysteries for this age bracket: the Ian Quicksilver series by Alyson Peterson, the Piercing the Veil series by C.A. Gray, the Cobbogoth series by Hannah L. Clark, Blonde Eskimo by Kristen Hunt, the History Mystery series by Deborah Heal; and for Middle Grade: To Cat a Cat Thief by Sean Cummings and The Contaminated Case of the Cooking Contest by Peter Y. Wong & Pendred E. Noyce.

Thus, when I came across the F.I.G. Mysteries by Barbara Casey, I was most excited to see where she took her own creative muse and how she defined her section of the genre!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Cadence of Gypsies” (Book No.1 of the F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey with a Guest Post by the author!The Cadence of Gypsies
by Barbara Casey
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women.

In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Genres: Amateur Detective, Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780982081280

Also by this author: The Wish Rider

Also in this series: The Wish Rider


Published by Hungry Goat Press

on 15th April, 2011

Format: Hardcover Edition, Large Print Edition

Pages: 272

Published By: Hungry Goat Press (@HungryGoatPress)

an imprint of Gauthier Publications

NOTE: the info reflects the version I received to review (the Large Print Hardback Edition) whereas the cover-art shown for this book on my review was provided to me by iRead Book Tours reflects the newer version of the book which is the ebook edition released on the 2nd of April, 2015. Blessedly the hardback is still in print, for those of us who read traditionally through print editions!

 Available Formats: Large Print Hardback Edition and Ebook

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Posted Tuesday, 6 September, 2016 by jorielov in Apothecary, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Herbalist, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Medical Fiction, Naturopathic Medicine, Naturopathy, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Camelot’s Queen” (Guinevere’s Tale, No. 2) by Nicole Evelina #HistFantasy

Posted Monday, 16 May, 2016 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 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 copy of “Camelot’s Queen” direct from the author Nicole Evelina in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I appreciate reading Nicole Evelina’s Guinevere Tale series:

Evelina has taken us into the heart of Guinevere and her girlhood peers, as we walk inside those hours she spent on Avalon honing her talent and learning about the world from a point of view not concurrent to her parents or ancestral home. Evelina re-develops the image of Guinevere and the back-story therein, allowing us the grace to re-examine what we think we know of the characters being brought back to life inside this trilogy. It’s a curious undertaking, because although it’s rooted in a canonical history of literature, mythos and lore; there is a new attempt at re-developing a story whose depths are grounded by the character’s will of heart and spirit of passage through their growing years.

The complexity and the authentic voice inter-combine to bring a scope of realism to Guinevere and to the back-story of her life. It’s a wholly original complex origin story where even if you are as under-read as I am about Camelot and Arthurian Legend, you can curl inside this novel due to how well-told Evelina evoked it’s heart out of the pages she lent us to read!

Mythology, fable and lore can feel disconnected at times to an actuary world if the conception of their perimeters are not fully fleshed out and brought to such a high level of vision by their writers. This is where Nicole Evelina excels as her vision of the story is portrayed in such a convicting manner as to etch your heart directly into the lifeblood of her characters; you feel everything they are sensing and appreciate the direct connection in order to best understand their world. Definitely a harbinger of emotionally writ historical fiction centred on known persons who have inspired many but of whom feel more three dimensional inside this story as they are presented with equal fragility as their contemporary peerage.

The research Evelina put into this work of a trilogy is evidenced by how she chose to tell the story, first through direct sight of Guinevere approaching hard choices and managing her emotions in the thick of it and secondly, through enlivening the background with such scope of depth as to embrace the mystical and mythology of how Camelot exists. She even kept the continuity alive by bringing together the origins of those who call Avalon home with their familial heritages and beliefs; such as I celebrated in seeing Guinevere’s Rhiannon and Lugh arriving in time for her ascension to Priestess of Avalon. The fundamentals of religion and ancestry are inter-woven to the core of who Guinevere is and what she stood for thereby granting the reader a more grounded vision of the woman Guinevere became latter in life.

– as disclosed on my review of Daughter of Destiny, Guinevere’s Tale No.1

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Blog Book Tour | “Camelot’s Queen” (Guinevere’s Tale, No. 2) by Nicole Evelina #HistFantasyCamelot's Queen
Subtitle: Guinevere's Tale Book Two
by Nicole Evelina
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Jenny Quinlan (JennyQ)
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Genres: After Canons, Arthurian Legend, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical-Fantasy, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996763134

Also by this author: Daughter of Destiny, Nicole Evelina (Guest Post: Camelot's Queen), Been Searching For You, Madame Presidentess, Mistress of Legend

Also in this series: Daughter of Destiny, Mistress of Legend


Published by Lawson Gartner Publishing

on 9th April, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 481

Book No. 1 Daughter of Destiny (review)

Book No. 2 Camelot’s Queen

Book No. 3 Mistress of the Legend releases late 2016/early 2017

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read an Excerpt of the Novel: Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 16 May, 2016 by jorielov in 6th Century, After the Canon, Apothecary, Arthurian Legend, Avalon, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Britian, British Literature, Disillusionment in Marriage, Domestic Violence, Early Middle Ages [the Dark Ages] (1001-1300), Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Loss of an unbourne child, Marriage of Convenience, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Mythological Societies, Parapsychological Gifts, Passionate Researcher, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “Daughter of Destiny: Guinevere’s Tale No.1” by Nicole Evelina

Posted Saturday, 27 February, 2016 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 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 copy of “Daughter of Destiny” direct from the author Nicole Evelina in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A note about how the author enscribed my copy:

The first thing which struck my fancy to notice is the red seal with a crown inside the wax which was quite cleverly affixed next to the author’s signature on the title page of this novel! The reason such a gesture from the old world signified such delight in me, is because I’m a letter-writer whose appreciation for all things papery and postal extend back into my childhood. Seals, waxes and emblems have bewitched my writerly heart for awhile now, and the hardest part to sealing wax is getting it to behave in such a manner as you can be certain of where it shall affix and how the look your hoping to gain will be presented exactly as you intended it.

This was definitely a special surprise for me, as it gave a bit of a definitive nod of the novel’s heart etched out of both history and lore entwined together. I definitely think the author gave me a strong impression on how to greet your book blogger ‘at hallo’ and give them a wink of a surprise as they settle inside your story!  It is always the small things that inspire the most happiness, I find, and this small gesture of yesteryear was wicked brilliant!

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Blog Book Tour | “Daughter of Destiny: Guinevere’s Tale No.1” by Nicole EvelinaDaughter of Destiny
Subtitle: Guinevere's Tale Book One
by Nicole Evelina
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Jenny Quinlan (JennyQ)
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.

Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.

Genres: After Canons, Arthurian Legend, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical-Fantasy, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0-9967631-0-3

Also by this author: Nicole Evelina (Guest Post: Camelot's Queen), Camelot's Queen, Been Searching For You, Madame Presidentess, Mistress of Legend

Also in this series: Camelot's Queen, Mistress of Legend


Published by Lawson Gartner Publishing

on 21st December, 2015

Format: Softcover Edition

Pages: 327

Published By: Lawson Gartner Publishing

Book No. 2 Camelot’s Queen releases 12th of April 2016

Book No. 3 Mistress of the Legend releases late 2016/early 2017

Formats Available: Softcover, Audiobook and Ebook

About Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her current novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year (2016), she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Author biography was updated July 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 27 February, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 6th Century, After the Canon, Apothecary, Arthurian Legend, Avalon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Britian, British Literature, Bullies and the Bullied, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Folklore and Mythology, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Mythological Societies, Naturopathic Medicine, Parapsychological Gifts, Passionate Researcher, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Re-Told Tales, Sewing & Stitchery, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice