Genre: Romance Fiction

#PubDay Book Review | “Winning the Cowboy’s Heart” (Book Five: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock I am wicked thrilled to be returning back to the Cade Ranch and re-entering a series which already won over my heart!

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 4 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Winning the Cowboy’s Heart” direct from the author Karen Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series:

I had planned a special series marathon read for this blog tour – wherein, during #ContemporaryJanuary I wanted to celebrate a family of cowboys who had won over my heart and had become one of my favourite romantic and family dramas in Contemporary Fiction – however, what sidelined that particular goal was an extended recovery from my five week virus (the one I had before, during and after Christmas) whilst I also had three migraines in three weeks – the last of which was from this past Friday til Monday – a four day supernova migraine which rendered me offline, unable to read and which I nearly thought I was going to lose the joy of reading the book for the tour – as these kinds of migraines take the longest to ‘leave’ and have the harder recovery time when it comes to reading & blogging.

Thankfully, I spent Monday resting offline which allowed me to get up with the roosters on Tuesday morning to where I could settle into the fifth novel of this series and feel the pulls of the migraine were no longer with me – they might be hovering in the background but at least I could finally start to read again which was a joy of its own. Its nice to ‘come back’ to a series you love after such an ordeal and for me, the Rocky Mountain Cowboys is a series I fell in love with reading ever since I first started borrowing the books through my library – adding ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ to my local library as they accepted my purchase request and having the joy of hosting a few of the blog tours connected to the series which led me to celebrating the fifth release today!

There is a sixth novel on the horizon for this year – coming up later in the Spring which is why I’m going to be rescheduling my re-readings of this series for *March!*, whilst giving me the proper chance to dive into “Bad Boy Rancher” for the first time ahead of seeing “A Rancher to Remember” released!

You might be wondering what draws my eye into this series and to the writer’s style of story-telling if this is the first time you’ve seen one of my posts about the Rocky Mountain Cowboys – one of the best joys for me as a reader, outside of my love of the Cade family and the men of the series is where Ms Rock set the series to reside: deep in the heart of the Rockies! There is something about mountain living and the atmosphere of ranching that uplifts a girl’s soul!

Ms Rock does a great job of taking you into the heart of addiction – first through the opinions of family who feel they are being helpful but in reality their falling a bit short with a few good observations. Secondly, she takes you into an NA meeting to hear the stories of other addicts who are struggling just like Sofia to quash their innermost doubts and to remain above the pains of addiction whilst re-setting their lives free of the substance of their choice. It was in one of those meetings where Sofia felt both ashamed to be present and rather awkwardly at first, comfortable amongst those who she could relate too.

Ms Rock also highlights what it is like to have a controlling personality – someone who is unable to yield or bend – this was spoken about in regards to Sofia’s father but in the present time-line of the series it is mostly directed towards James who has a definitive way of ‘taking over’ and claiming roles he was not meant to lead because doing so would jeopardise another person’s sense of self.

One of my favourite parts of the story is how closely Sofia and Joy (the Cade siblings mother) bonded over being in such close quarters whilst she was recuperating. Joy still had quite a bit of spunk left in her and she had a right to want to keep living her life to the fullest she could. Sofia inspired her in equal measure of Joy inspiring Sofia to take new risks and to keep bettering herself for her future and her son’s (Javi). Javi was an impressionable child but he also understood what was important in his young life. I can see why Sofia stressed about how he might react around James and why being around James for both of them was proving to be a bit too difficult.

One of the beautiful things about this series is how redemption and second chances permeate through the stories. Erstwhile, you are becoming closer in acquaintance with the Cade family themselves – the ranch they live on becomes the anchour to their lives, the place where they gather and they grow; where love nurtures their present and where it breathes hope into the future. Each installment of this series builds on the last story in sequence – thereby, by the time you start at A Cowboy to Keep whilst reading each new story thereafter, you are given a wonderful portrait of a resilient family. A family whose honest about the hardships in life and where good or bad, this is a family who remains evermore true of themselves.

Everything comes full circle in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series – you get to see where loose ends knit back together and the one beautiful thing about this series is you get to have continual updates about all the characters you’ve loved reading about in prior installments! If you take the title of this one for a second to ruminate – you’ll find the word “pride” speaks volumes towards understanding where this story was leading you to venture. It isn’t just the pride of the current cowboys in the Cade-Loveland families but of all the cowboys within their mutual lineages who led to the current heroes of the series.

One of the things I admire most about how Ms Rock writes her stories is the continuity aspects of her series – where you can move from one installment to another in a seamless transition. I’ve started reading this series from the prequel into the first and second novels – before arriving into the fourth ahead of the third. I almost thought that was a mistake on my part, as I wasn’t sure if this fourth installment would pick up directly out of the third or return to an earlier conflict. The beauty of reading this series slightly out of sequence is how compelling it was for the feud to take precedent and thereby allowing me to continue the continuity I have been appreciating by reading this fourth novel.

The feud itself was established in the earlier stories – setting down the foundation of how both families are at war with each other – not just over the water rights (though those are a valid reason for the ill will between them) but it goes back to a matter of principle and honour. Of the circumstances relating to the original feud’s origins and how unsettling it is for the details which have remained behind paint a rather dark portrait of their ancestor’s lives.

Through all of this, Ms Rock has rooted us into the Cade and Loveland families – showing us how human each of the families are and how vulnerable the members of their families are to the adversities of life. In many ways, both the Cades and Lovelands have each endured a lot of obstacles and have made their own sacrifices over the years – over and beyond the feud which has always stood between them. Ms Rock makes this a living reality for us as readers – as you don’t have to get too far into the stories to feel the tension coming the Cades or the Lovelands – their natural reactions to each other is out of spite and anger; fuelling the feud and deepening the chasm between them.

-quoted from my reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch”,
“Falling for a Cowboy” and “A Cowboy’s Pride”

As you can see – I am truly emotionally attached to this beautifully lovely series and I am honoured I get to be on the blog tour to welcome in the fifth installment of a series which gives me so much love & joy to be reading!

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#PubDay Book Review | “Winning the Cowboy’s Heart” (Book Five: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock I am wicked thrilled to be returning back to the Cade Ranch and re-entering a series which already won over my heart!Winning the Cowboy's Heart
by Karen Rock
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Jewel Cade wants two things --

One is Heath Loveland

The Rocky Mountain cowgirl has her heart set on becoming range boss of the Cade ranch. But first she has to accompany the son of her family’s longtime enemy—and her off-limits secret crush—on a cattle drive across Colorado. Discovering Heath shares her attraction only makes for a rockier road. Because Jewel has a sneaking suspicion that if she drops her guard, the cowboy might ride off with her heart.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335510532

Also by this author: A League of Her Own, Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), A Cowboy's Pride, Christmas at Cade Ranch, A Rancher to Remember

Also in this series: Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), A Cowboy's Pride, A Rancher to Remember


Genres: Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 5th February, 2019

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 379

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary #Western + #Romance

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The Rocky Mountain Cowboys series:

A Cowboy to Keep (Prequel) (see also Review)

Christmas at Cade Ranch (Book One) (*reviewed)

Falling for a Cowboy (Book Two) (*reviewed)

Bad Boy Rancher (Book Three)

A Cowboy’s Pride (Book Four) (see also Review)

Winning the Cowboy’s Heart (Book Five)

Forthcoming release: A Rancher to Remember (Book Six) April 2019!

(*) Christmas at Cade Ranch and Falling for a Cowboy
were reviewed in-line with A Cowboy’s Pride

About Karen Rock

Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, West Coast USA, Western Fiction, Western Romance

#Harlequin Heartwarming Series Book Review | “The Rancher’s Homecoming” (Book Five: Return of the Blackwell Brothers) by Anna J. Stewart [of a five book series!]

Posted Thursday, 31 January, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

This particular review is slightly different from my regular blog tours and hosting features for Prism Book Tours – as an opportunity came along this Summer to secure a spot on a ‘review tour’ rather than a ‘blog tour’ for a five-book series from Harlequin Heartwarming entitled “Return of the Blackwell Brothers”. This differs as each of the reviewers and book bloggers who are committing to this review tour are posting at different intervals as each of the five novels release which is also co-dependent on the format we are signed on to review.

My reviews will be showcased from August 2018 through January 2019 beginning with the first novel by Carol Ross. Only the first and second novel will showcase the book synopsis, author photograph and her biography as the rest of the tour will only feature the serial information which is also seen on this post. Each of us had the flexibility to choose when we are posting our reviews which was another added bonus to this particular review tour. I elected to post mine on Saturdays, as for the past four years Saturdays have been happily focused on Romances (previously strictly by ChocLit) and I am going to continue to expand this featured part of the week encompassing more Romances by both ChocLit and different publishers. Except for when I needed to post during the week in lieu of Saturday due to health issues or life in general.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Rancher’s Homecoming” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I continue to feel attached & connected to the Blackwell Brothers:

I love the direction Vastine took to alight us back into the towne shortly after we left The Rancher’s Redemption as she re-aligned us immediately by having Tyler & Hadley have a bit of a run-in with Judge Edwards and Zoe! This was a brilliant move as it shows the shortness of time between the two installments whilst it also helps us understand the larger timeline of the series.

The more they played at faking their engagement the more entangled they became with each other and left them with little wiggle room. It was was a great way to set-up the angst before a real relationship, too. Their play-acting brought out a lot of the left-over issues Tyler hadn’t faced from his past whilst with Hadley, it also brought out her insecurities and her ethics. She was questioning her motives whilst she was at the ranch yet more to the point, she was also discovering a part about herself she wasn’t expecting to find. She really could settle into the slower pace and the quiet stillness of the Rocky mountains. It held an appeal to her which felt as if the ties to this particular place were actually stronger than their passion for the city they had left.

This is why I loved this installment: it brought back to centre the entire back-history of the Blackwell family. This series is anchoured on its living histories – even Big E for all his glory and issues, he held his family close in his heart. Evident moreso by the time you reached the final chapter of this story but more to the point, the Blackwells were a family who held a resilience in them that gave them a bit of an edge on others. They didn’t back down easily and they knew when to fight for something important. The joy of reading the series, of course, is watching how all these entangled issues start to unravel and how the family itself learns to ‘heal’.

This installment felt a bit more seamless in transition as it echoed more of the original groundwork in the series. Each of the writers has their own unique style, voice and spin on the Blackwell Brothers – however, of the three I’ve read before this one, this one felt closer to the first narrative voice where we first learnt who the Blackwell Brothers are and why this series is centred round their second chance at brotherhood.

Vastine also nails how to bridge all the characters back into the narrative – where she gives ample time to each of the characters we’ve come to appreciate in the series to a level of rotation I was clapping in joy to read. I really felt she understood how to re-centre the series – by creating this bridge between the first three installments and the fourth, whilst giving us a proper refresher on everyone’s quirks before we moved into the fifth and final installment. I truly applaud how she managed to do this as it was fastly become my favourite novel in the series outside of the first!

The setting is dearly appealling as the ranch the Blackwell Brothers own is in Montana – nestled with a backdrop of the Rockies, the brothers surely have a lovely sky to look out over everyday. Outside of the continuity she maintained, she put her own spin on the brothers and she enlarged our view of the large ensemble cast this series has become to include. I love larger casts in novels but sometimes, you find some of the characters get forsaken for others or sometimes, the ones you want to come back into sight yield to the current ones being focused upon. I give Ms Vastine full credit for giving us a chance to catch-up with everyone we’ve met thus far along but also, allowing us to feel as if we’ve maintained a connection to them from start to finish.

-quoted from my review of The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée

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Return of the #BlackwellBrothers:

The Rancher’s Twins by Carol Ross → August 1st
The Rancher’s Rescue by Cari Lynn Webb → September 1st
The Rancher’s Redemption by Melinda Curtis → October 1st
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée by Amy Vastine → November 1st
The Rancher’s Homecoming by Anna J. Stewart → December 1st

The Rancher's Homecoming
Subtitle: Return of the Blackwell Brothers
by Anna J. Stewart
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335633897

Also in this series: Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers, The Rancher's Twins, The Rancher's Rescue, The Rancher's Redemption, The Rancher's Fake Fiancee


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Heartland Fiction, Ranches & Cowboys, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 4th December, 2018

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin

& #ReturnOfTheBlackwellBrothers

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About Anna J. Stewart

Be sure to visit the author online and find out what is she is releasing next!

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Posted Thursday, 31 January, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance

#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)

Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I’ve been blessed by meeting authors via #bookishTwitter for five years now. I love the #writingcommunity in the twitterverse as the writers who are publishing and/or of whom like me are still on their publishing journey are approachable, relatable and keenly conversational which is wicked brill. When my path crossed with this lovely author what truly humbled my heart and gave me such a lift of joy is the fact she was able to send me an ARC of her novel in printed form. She understood why I couldn’t read an ecopy of the novel and I am the proud owner of a spiral bound ARC!

I received a complimentary spiral bound ARC copy of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” direct from the author Estella Mirai in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly excited about reading this re-telling of ‘Phantom of the Opera’:

You might remember, last year I read “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb which was her self-published re-telling of the same story. She was also who chose to self-publish her novel in lieu of seeking (or being able to seek) traditional publication for her story. It is rather unique I think, a year later I am celebrating the discovery of a second novel based on this Classical story which had to take an Indie route to reach reader’s hands!

I’ve truly have had a love affair with the music of ‘Phantom’ ever since I was a young girl – I grew up with an appreciation of the arts at a very young age. My parents encouraged me to seek out theatre, symphonies and listen to orchestrations via vinyl records at home. I also was actively engaged with programming on PBS as much as I loved the local arts community in my metropolis – not just limited to musical routes of enjoyment but also fine art and other exhibits or old world arts & crafts fairs/festivals. In essence, I was surrounded by the arts across mediums of influence whilst I was musically introduced to such a hearty variety of sounds & soundscapes, it turnt me into a lifelong appreciator of musical compositions.

I loved Classical compositions as much as Contemporary – however, I had a special place in my heart for sound for motion picture and the Broadway Musical scores and soundtracks. There was something rather intimate about Original Cast Recordings when it comes to a Musical – you can feel the intensity of the performance and you can paint the scenes alive in your mind as soon as you hear the music begin. Which is what I was trying to capture last year when I mentioned this ahead of sharing my review of “The Phantom’s Apprentice”:

The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.

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I also went on to mention how long I’ve been connected to ‘Phantom’:

I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.

I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.

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In effect, this is a story which is simply a ‘part of me’ and it was an honour to have the chance to see this story & its characters re-imagined into an m/m romantic arc set in Tokyo, Japan. For those who read and visit my blog regularly, you already know of my admiration on behalf of Susan Spann’s Hiro Hattori novels – though set in 16th Century Japan, the point here is the fact I love visiting the country in fiction. In the past, I had several friends who lived in different parts of Japan inasmuch of the fact one of my favourite Winter Olympics were the Nagano Games. My grandparents helped encourage my fascination & love of Japan as they themselves loves the country, through their art (sculpture) and musicians especially.

In essence, it feels like ‘coming home’ whenever I consider reading a story set in Japan – it is a beautifully lovely country full of Mystic roots, humbling traditions and a wonderful cultural heritage.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)The Stars May Rise and Fall
by Estella Mirai
Source: Direct from Author

Teru came to Tokyo with dreams of making it big in the glam-metal visual kei scene, but three years later, all he has to show for it is a head of hot pink hair and some skill with an eyeliner pencil. He may look the part, but he doesn’t sound it, and constant bickering among his bandmates has him worried about his future. When he finds a mysterious business card in his bag, he’s willing to take any help he can get.

Help comes in the form of Rei, a crippled, disfigured composer whose own career was ended by an accident before it had really begun. With Teru’s voice and looks, and Rei’s money and songwriting skills, both of their dreams seem about to come true – but a forbidden kiss and a late-night confession threaten to tear it all apart. Now Teru, who has spent most of his life denying his attraction to men, and Rei, who vowed long ago never to love again, must reconcile their feelings with their careers – and with their carefully constructed ideas of themselves.

THE STARS MAY RISE AND FALL is an M/M retelling of Phantom of the Opera, set in Tokyo at the turn of the millennium. It comes with a healthy dose of angst and a dollop of nostalgia, as well as an age-difference romance, a physically disabled love interest, and memorable characters who will stay with you long after the pages are closed.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781684547715

Genres: After Canons, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Japanese Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Romance Fiction


Setting: Toyko, Japan


Published by Self Published Author

on 11th December, 2018

Format: Spiral Bound ARC

Pages: 309

Self Published Author

This is a Digital First Release – other formats will be forthcoming such as print

Converse via: #PhantomOfTheOpera retell, #LGBTQ, #Contemporary Romance

About Estella Mirai

Estella Mirai lives just outside of Tokyo with her human family and a very spoiled lap cat. When she isn’t reading or writing, she works in editing and translation—which means that 99% percent of her day is usually words. In her minimal free time, she enjoys watching musicals, cooking (badly), and slaughtering power ballads at karaoke.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Composer, Creative Arts, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Horror-Lite, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Japan, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction