Category: Religious Orders

Double-Showcase | Book & Audiobook Review of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” (Anna Blanc series, No. 2) by Jennifer Kincheloe

Posted Wednesday, 10 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: 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 Woman in the Camphor Trunk” 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 herein.

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On why I can’t wait to read more about Anna Blanc:

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer KincheloeThe Woman in the Camphor Trunk by Jennifer Kincheloe

Series Overview: Young socialite turned police matron Anna Blanc bucks society’s mores to solve crime in early 1900s Los Angeles.

The main reason I find myself so very attached to the world in which Anna Blanc lives is because of how she is beautifully brought to life by Ms Kincheloe. She has a way of fusing Anna into our hearts whilst winning us over with her quirkily humourous prose which not only dictates a keen awareness of Anna but of the times in which she is alive. It’s a curious door into the historical past as these were my parting words after having read the first novel of the series:

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.

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!

-quoted from my review of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

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Double-Showcase | Book & Audiobook Review of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” (Anna Blanc series, No. 2) by Jennifer KincheloeThe Woman in the Camphor Trunk
Subtitle: An Anna Blanc Mystery
by Jennifer Kincheloe
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Moira Quirk

In early-1900s Los Angeles—an era of courting, ragtime, suffragettes, and widespread corruption—a socialite turned police matron tracks down the murderer of a white woman in Chinatown, while trying to prevent the outbreak of a bloody tong war.

Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. If news about the murder gets out, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna work to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret, reluctantly helped by the good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent local leader.

Meanwhile, the kidnapping of two slave girls fuels existing tensions, leaving Chinatown poised on the verge of a bloody tong war. Joe orders Anna to stay away, but Anna is determined to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633883635

Also by this author: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc [audiobook]

Series: Anna Blanc


Also in this series: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc [audiobook], The Body in Griffith Park


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Jennifer R. Kincheloe Ltd, Seventh Street Books

on 14th November, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Trade Paperback

Pages: 304

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

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
Links updated: August 2019

 

Converse via: #AnnaBlanc + #HistoricalMystery or #HistMyst

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 10 January, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Civil Rights, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Cosy Horror, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, History, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Prometheus Books, Realistic Fiction, Religious Orders, Self-Published Author, Taboo Relationships & Romance, the Nineteen Hundreds

Blog Book Tour | “A Twisted Vengeance” (Book No.2 of the Kate Clifford Mysteries) by Candace Robb

Posted Friday, 21 July, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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! The interesting bit to note is I am happily reading the first two Kate Clifford Mysteries for this particular blog tour; thereby this is the first post in a series of two reviews.  I received a complimentary copy of “A Twisted Vengeance” direct from the publisher Pegasus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I loved reading the Kate Clifford Mysteries:

Robb has created a thinking man’s mystery – you have to peel back the layers (as you would an onion) to sort through how she’s drafted an intellectually intriguing tale. Having learnt her prior series #OwenArcher is interlinked into the #KateCliffordMysteries I must admit, the idea of back-tracing through the prior series to re-enter into the latter is going to be wicked sweet fun! (as foresaid on Twitter; the tweet is below this review) One reason I love reading Mysteries (and Suspense or Thrillers) and watching them is because of the exercise they give your mind! I find them as challenging to undertake as a stellar crossword! The intricacies abound and it is by moving in the directions the writer wishes you to traverse you not only gather the evidence along with the sleuths on the page but you draw closer to understanding how the mind of the writer first conceived their idea which is keeping you up late and musefully happy for the experience of reading their story.

For me, Robb not only entertained me from the stand-point of a new chapter of understanding of the Middle Ages  (as she threads the everyday politico very well into the backbone of her series foundation) but she grants you licence to step with a certain bias of interest to see Ms Clifford succeed even if her methods are not entirely on the level of what you’d expect a woman of her status to choose.

(*) quoted from my review of The Service of the Dead

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Blog Book Tour | “A Twisted Vengeance” (Book No.2 of the Kate Clifford Mysteries) by Candace RobbThe Service of the Dead
by Candace Robb
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

As the fourteenth century comes to a close, York seethes on the brink of civil war―and young widow Kate Clifford, struggling to keep her businesses afloat, realizes that her mother is harboring a dangerous secret…

1399. York is preparing for civil war, teeming with knights and their armed retainers summoned for the city’s defense. Henry of Lancaster is rumored to have landed on the northeast coast of England, not so far from York, intent on reclaiming his inheritance―an inheritance which his cousin, King Richard, has declared forfeit.

With the city unsettled and rife with rumors, Eleanor Clifford’s abrupt return to York upon the mysterious death of her husband in Strasbourg is met with suspicion in the city. Her daughter Kate is determined to keep her distance, but it will not be easy―Eleanor has settled next door with the intention of establishing a house of beguines, or poor sisters. When one of the beguines is set upon in the night by an intruder, Kate knows that for the sake of her own reputation and the safety of her young wards she must investigate.

From the first, Eleanor is clearly frightened yet maintains a stubborn silence. The brutal murder of one of Eleanor’s servants leads Kate to suspect that her mother’s troubles have followed her from Strasbourg. Is she secretly involved in the political upheaval? When one of her wards is frightened by a too-curious stranger, Kate is desperate to draw her mother out of her silence before tragedy strikes her own household.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781681774527

Also by this author: The Service of the Dead, Interview (Candace Robb) via Kate Clifford Blog Tour

Also in this series: The Service of the Dead


Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery


Published by Pegasus Books

on 9th May, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 297

Published By: Pegasus Books (@pegasus_books)
Available Formats: Hardback & E-Book

The Kate Clifford Mysteries:
I personally love the cover art design on this series! There is something about it which lends well to the era in which they are set but also the appeal for those of us who crave a heroine out of a wicked good Cosy Historical Mystery!

The Service of the Dead by Candace RobbA Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb

The Service of the Dead | Book One | (see also Review)

A Twisted Vengeance | Book Two | Synopsis |

Read this lovely Guest Post about the Kate Clifford series | via Patricia Bracewell

Converse via: #Cosy + #HistoricalMystery | #HistoricalMystery | #KateCliffordMysteries | #CandaceRobb

About Candace Robb

Candace Robb

Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT).

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 21 July, 2017 by jorielov in 14th Century, Amateur Detective, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Beguine, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Late Middle Ages (1300-1500), Religious Orders, Siblings, Twin Siblings

Book Review | “Almodis: The Peaceweaver” by Tracey Warr My first EPIC historical novel from Impress Books!

Posted Wednesday, 27 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Impress Books (from the UK), as I found Impress Books at the conclusion of [2015] and have been blessed to start reviewing for them. I crossed paths with one of their publicists on Twitter and started a convo about the historical novels of Tracey Warr. This led me to ask if they would consider a book blogger stateside to review her stories and thankfully my enquiry was well-timed as Warr has a new series launching in 2016! I look forward to hosting their authors (either for review or guest features) and finding well-researched stories of convicting historical story-lines in the process.

I received a complimentary copy of “Almodis: The Peaceweaver” direct from the publisher Impress Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What initially drew my eye to read Almodis:

I love EPIC Historical dramas – especially the ones where your being treated to an unknown chapter of history you’ve yet to visit properly! The 11th Century is one of my under-read centuries of interest and when it comes to the locale for this novel (Languedoc) I’ve visited this setting previously in the war drama that crushed my soul: Citadel. I entreated inside the Early Middle Ages previously when I read Illuminations, wherein I was so distraught for Hildegard’s plight, I was thankful her story had a bit of restitution at it’s conclusion. By the time I re-visited this part of the Middle Ages in Camelot’s Queen, I had noted how guttingly difficult the Medieval Ages were overall.

I am drawn to fiercely strong female protagonists in historical fiction narratives – this has been true throughout my wanderings in literature for the past three years I’ve been blogging my bookish life. Inasmuch as it held true as a reader who sought out one wicked good read after another that would bring the gravity of historical perspectives through a living spirit of a character you felt you could emphatically respond too outright.

When I first read the synopsis for this novel, I was struck by several things all at once: the centreing of the timescape by Warr, the determined grit of her lead character Almodis and the conviction of proving to everyone that you can carve out your own destiny, even if others around you are not as easily convinced your living in an era where a woman can choose her own path to walk. The backdrop of war felt fitting for the era, as most of the early centuries were torn by war and by power re-alignments to such a madding level of frequency, it’s curious how anyone felt any measure of peace to simply ‘live their lives’ without a cloud of fear looming over them; especially to see if war would touch them directly.

Going into my readings, I was wicked happy to be reading a well-researched and well-thought out portion of the historical past, as evidenced by Warr’s approach to conceive this story but also, how she aligned her vision by the way her story is laid out inside the novel itself. I also had in the back of mind the notion that before I could address her newest novels (the Conquest series), I wanted to pull back time and retreat inside the debut novel that set the tone and score of everything that would come lateron.

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Book Review | “Almodis: The Peaceweaver” by Tracey Warr My first EPIC historical novel from Impress Books!Almodis
Subtitle: The Peaceweaver
by Tracey Warr
Source: Direct from Publisher

"Some say Almodis was a serpent, a scandal, a whore. They say wrong."

After generations of fighting amongst the ruling families of eleventh-century Occitania, the marriage of Almodis de la Marche to Hugh of Lusignan is intended to bring peace and harmony to the region. But at a time when a noblewoman's purpose is to produce heirs, Almodis resolves to create her own dynasty.

Almodis' path to power and happiness is fraught with drama. Having escaped her marriage blanc to God-fearing Hugh, she weds the lascivious Pons of Toulouse and takes over the administration of the great city. However, his distrust leaves him plotting to imprison her at a nunnery. Fearing for her life, Almodis flees in the dead of night - the young, gallant Count of Barcelona might be her one chance, if only he wasn't betrothed to another...

Intrigue, forbidden love and murder underpin this extraordinary story based upon the life of a real medieval countess, whose children went on to rule southern France and northern Spain.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781907605093

Also by this author: Conquest: Daughter of the Last King Cover Reveal, Conquest: Daughter of the Last King Cover Reveal

Genres: Biographical Fiction, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Impress Books

on 12th October, 2011

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 345

Published by: Impress Books (@ImpressBooks1)

Formats Available: Hardcover & Ebook

Warr’s second novel was The Viking Hostage (Book Synopsis) | Pub Date: 1st September, 2014

Warr’s upcoming NEW RELEASE is the 1st novel of the Conquest series:

Daughter of the Last King (Book Synopsis) | #PubDay is 1st September, 2016

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistRom

About Tracey Warr

Tracey Warr

Tracey Warr is a writer based in Wales and France, and has published novels and books on contemporary art. She was Senior Lecturer, teaching and researching on art history and theory of the 20th and 21st centuries, at Oxford Brookes University, Bauhaus University and Dartington College of Arts.

Her first novel, Almodis: The Peaceweaver (Impress, 2011), is set in 11th century France and Spain, and was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Fiction and the Rome Film Festival Book Initiative and received a Santander Research Award. Her second historical novel, The Viking Hostage (Impress, 2014), is set in 10th century France and Wales.

She received a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary for work on her new trilogy, Conquest , set in 12th century Wales, England and Normandy. She received an Authors Foundation Award from the Society of Authors for work on a biography of three medieval sisters, entitled Three Female Lords. She is also working on a new historical novel featuring a 12th century female troubadour in Toulouse, and on a future fiction novel set in the debatable territory of a river estuary, between water and land, in the 22nd century.

Her writing on contemporary artists has been published by Phaidon, Merrell, Black Dog, Palgrave, Manchester University Press. Her latest art publication is Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (Ashgate, 2015). She reviews for Times Higher Education, Historical Novels Review and New Welsh Review.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 27 July, 2016 by jorielov in 11th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Castles & Estates, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Early Middle Ages [the Dark Ages] (1001-1300), Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Impress Books, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Jorie found the Publisher on Twitter, Life Shift, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Monastery, Monk, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Religious Orders, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Spain, Spontaneous Convos Inspired by Book, Twin Siblings, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Writing Style & Voice

Book Review | “Along the Way” by Jacqueline Kolosov

Posted Friday, 3 June, 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 was selected to review “Along the Way” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger.

I was originally contacted to review this novel last year [2015] however, due to different reasons, I was never able to share my thoughts on behalf of this Luminis Books title until now. This is one of the books from my backlogue of reviews, I am thankful I can now set mind and heart to read. Luminis Books was one of the publishers I was most grateful to have discovered in [2014] due to their compelling Children’s Literature.

I received my complimentary copy of Along the Way from the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I originally wanted to read ‘Along the Way’:

As “Along the Way” is reading to me to be a new book that paints a similar portrait of personal growth on a trail that re-defines your life by what you learn and what you gain by the experience itself. In a similar way, this is why I want to borrow the film “Wild” from my local library, as I read the review of a fellow book blogger I follow who gave me clarity of the story from her own ruminations but halted me from wanting to read it due to the heaviness of the abuse/neglect and acting out behaviour the author survived. The film thankfully glosses over some of it, but sometimes I find I can drink in a film better than a book.

“Along the Way” feels more akin to “Not Without My Father” and a topical non-fiction I can handle rather than the harder hitting “Wild”.

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Book Review | “Along the Way” by Jacqueline KolosovAlong the Way
by Jacqueline Kolosov
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Three friends, 33 days, and 500 miles walking the Camino de Santiago add up to one journey they'll never forget.

Piper Rose, Dani Shapiro, and Alexandra 'Tessa' Louise De Mille Morrow share a history that goes back to their preschool years in Chicago when their families were still intact. Now Piper lives in Evanston with her divorced dad, her estranged, unstable mother popping in and out of her life at random moments.

Meanwhile, Dani's been living in Santa Fe with a psychologist mom pregnant with her fiancé's IVF babies. The blueblood Tessa resides on a prominent street in Boston and dreams of a romantic and well-heeled love story like that of her great-grandmother who went to France during World War II.

Now that it's the summer before college, these radically different friends decide to celebrate their history and their future by walking the legendary pilgrimage along the Way of St. James, from the French Pyrenees to the Spanish city of Santiago. Along the way, each young woman must learn to believe in herself as well as in her friends, as their collective journey unfolds into the experience of a lifetime.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-941311-47-9

Genres: Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Luminis Books

on April 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 300

Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #LuminisBooks + tags used together: #UpperYA #Contemporary

About Jacqueline Kolosov

Jacqueline Kolosov teaches creative writing and literature at Texas Tech University. She is the author of the young adult novels Grace from China, Red Queen's Daughter, and A Sweet Disorder, and the poetry collection Memory of Blue. She lives in Lubbock, Texas.

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Posted Friday, 3 June, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Coming-Of Age, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Mental Health, Modern Day, Pilgrims and Pilgrimages, Realistic Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Young Adult Fiction