Tag: MacMillian Publishers

Book Review | “Design for Dying” (Book No.1 of the Lillian Frost & Edith Head novels) by Renee Patrick A wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series set during Hollywood’s Golden Years!

Posted Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from a publicist at Tor/Forge in regards to this lovely new Historical Mysteries series I had not had the pleasure of finding out about previously! I was quite excited about what the scope of the series might entertain as I have a fond appreciation for Old Hollywood and the treasure trove of movies one can experience through the channel Turner Classic Movies (or TCM for short). Being one of the lead characters was Edith Head (a woman of interest of my own from Hollywood’s past) it felt like a wicked good fit for me to accept this series for review. Especially as I love watching old films as a stepping stone towards ‘discovering’ new actors and actresses I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing before and in effect become my ‘new favourites’ even decades after their careers ended. There is a pulse inside those films and I love watching the fashions change as much as the settings and story-lines!

I received a complimentary copy of “Design for Dying” direct from the publisher Forge (an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates) 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 interested in this new Mystery series:

First of all, I have a deep appreciation for Old Hollywood and Classic Movies of yesteryear – I grew up with this passion for black and white movies – going back to a quintessential holiday favourite of mine: ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ followed by ‘White Christmas’. I grew up on James Stewart films especially, as he was such a wicked good actor who could move between family films, drama and suspense (ie. Hitchcock!). By the time I discovered TCM (Turner Classic Movies) in my late teens / early twenties, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion Classic Movies would become a fixture of my viewing pleasure; yet it wasn’t until my mid to late twenties and early thirties that I started to *devour!* the offerings of TCM!

I even stumbled across the collective works of Cari Beauchamp (a wicked sweet Hollywood biographer!) prior to being a book blogger whilst fully engaged in the context of her book: Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s. Ever since I came across her writings, I’ve longed to attend the TCM: Classic Film Festival and mingle with others who love Classic Hollywood! I still itch to read through her collective works and seek out other titles by writers who are encompassing the same zest of love for this wicked time in film history!

One of my pet projects prior to being a book blogger was compiling a list of titles about Old Hollywood – most of the books were hard to fetch via ILL (inter-library loan) due to the heaviness of their volumes, which is why my ILL List soon became a Wish List of Purchases! lol On that list are biographies about Edith Head, as I had come to find her styles being represented through the films I was watching on TCM. The beauty of TCM is being able to find #newtomeactors of a begone age where women had the luxury of having a healthy body image & a definitive style where the fashions of Hollywood not only pushed new boundaries of fabric & craft but gave an eloquence to film-making at the same time! I love drinking in the styles of the 1920s – 1940s especially as they are such a cardinal imprint of class, sophistication and individuality.

When the publicist at Tor/Forge reached out to me about the mysteries involving Edith Head, I didn’t even have to think hard about accepting them! I did request receiving ‘Design for Dying’ alongside ‘Dangerous to Know’ as I felt the best way to entreat into an established series is to read the very first entry, wherein I could get a solid footing for the background of the characters and feel the continuity between installments!

As I will be blogging my ruminations back to back – if you return on Friday, you’ll get a special delight in reading my conversation with the authors behind this delishly vintage series, too! I loved how I even have a small tidbit about the ‘length and scope of time’ we all have coming towards us as the series expands and continues to grow! I am ever so excited for these two showcases as one thing I love about Old Hollywood is how quirky and comedic the ‘back-stories’ can be surrounding what is readily known but also, how delightfully quirky their lives were because they were defining the rules as they lived! There wasn’t a structure to everything back then – you could carve out a life between the lines and craft together a living on sheer determined will, pure wit and the daring conviction to pull it all off! And, that is what I loved about this series – as it embodies the fierce grit of daring possibilities to carve out your own path and live it with confidence!

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Notation on Cover Art Design: For a girl who once considered studying Costume Design at Ole Miss, I must confess I love the whole vintage texture and vibe of this cover art! I even love how there is this allure of ‘who could that be entering through the theshold’ whilst focusing on the dress of the woman in front of the mirror! Part of my allure of following the legacy of Edith Head is my passion for vintage fashion and costume design. A bit of this was revealled recently on my review of ‘How to be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World’ – but more to the point, I love how the typography, the setting and the art direction of this cover pull you forward into a plausible entry point to re-trace the footsteps of Edith Head.

Book Review | “Design for Dying” (Book No.1 of the Lillian Frost & Edith Head novels) by Renee Patrick A wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series set during Hollywood’s Golden Years!Design for Dying
Subtitle: A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Novel
by Renee Patrick
Source: Direct from Publisher

The salon and the case files are open...

Meet Lillian Frost. A transplanted New Yorker with a boundless love of the movies and a single lousy screen test to her credit.

Meet Edith Head. The costume designer who, over the course of a career spanning seven decades, would be nominated for more Academy Awards than any other woman. Who dressed the most glamorous stars in history. Who worked closely with directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.

Meet the sleuthing duo about to become Hollywood’s greatest detectives.

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl ... until she discovers she’s a suspect in the murder of her former roommate Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she’s barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian’s name and save Edith’s career, the two women join forces. Unraveling the mystery pits them against a Hungarian princess on the lam, a hotshot director on the make, and a private investigator who’s not on the level.

All they have going for them are dogged determination, assists from the likes of Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck, and a killer sense of style. In show business, that just may be enough…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780765381859

Also by this author: Dangerous to Know

Also in this series: Dangerous to Know


Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Fashion Industry, Film History | Classic Hollywood, Noir Crime Drama


Published by Forge

on 7th March, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Forge (@torbooks) | Read their incredible BLOG

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Hardcover + Ebook

About Renee Patrick

Married writing team of Rosemarie & Vince Keenan, known as Renee Patrick. Photo Credit: David Hiller, 2015

Renee Patrick is the pseudonym for married authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan. Rosemarie is a research administrator and a poet. Vince is a screenwriter and a journalist. Both native New Yorkers, they currently live in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: David Hiller, 2015

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Barbara Stanwyck, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), California, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, Edith Head, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Inspired by Stories, Lady Detective Fiction, Noir Crime Drama, Old Hollywood, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Thirties, Vintage Clothes & Boutiques, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “The Memory Painter” by Gwendolyn Womack

Posted Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

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 “The Memory Painter” direct from the publisher Picador 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 was wicked enthused to read ‘The Memory Painter’:

I still remember when I first learnt of The Time Travellers Wife – as I was still invested in being an active member of the Science Fiction Book Club (until the day arose where the quality of the hardback editions fell below everyone’s standards; early 2000s) when I happily collected my copy of the book amongst a few wicked awesome time travel, time shift or time slip stories which were being featured together! I have had a penchant for these theories of how to bend time to the will of a writer’s pen for most of my life – as I dearly love how you can subject a reader to the plausible realities of where time bends out of it’s continuum to a separate plane of thought, conscious and experience.

I never had the pleasure of reading the forementioned story before it became a bonefide feature film, which was of course, one of the few times I opted for the film over the book! My soul was crushed afterwards – I literally had trouble walking out of the theater as my emotional state was such to effectively render me wobbly on my feet! I love emotional stories, but this time round – I felt it was taken too far and evocatively affected me too deeply to even speak afterwards! I’ve been hesitatively curious about reading stories that might entertain a similar vein of emotional heartache yet at the same time, my imagination hungers for these stories where time is not as conclusive to it’s era nor of it’s living reality for those who lived within it’s scope.

Time is temporal and with that realisation comes the prospects of never quite understanding the full fabric of how time and our timescapes can be affected by the shifting parallels of how time is explored. This is truly why I wanted to read this particular story – to curl up inside another author’s vision of how time can be manipulated on one hand and how time is altered by those lives who walk outside of a traditional trajectory of a well-lived life. I also have been open to stories which deal with reincarnation ever since I first caught sight of The Reincarnation Library (which was a mail-order book club for hardback re-issues of classic stories that explored the theories behind it; as noted on a review by Nicole Evelina). Literature has the beautiful depth of scope to take us to new horizons and frontiers just past our peripheral understanding of life and how time runs concurrent to our own living histories.

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I’ve explored thought-provoking stories on Jorie Loves A Story under this vein of interest previously on my ruminative thoughts attached to the following stories:

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (see Review); The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (see Review); A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (see Review); The Last Gatekeeper by Katy Haye (see Review); Intangible (see Review) & Invincible (see Review) by C.A. Gray; To Live Forever: an Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins (see Review); Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri (see Review); Antiphony by Chris Katsaropoulos (see Review); Moonflower by EDC Johnson (see Review); The Untied Kingdom by Kate Johnson (see Review); The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay (see Review); Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter (see Review); A Stitch in Time by Amanda James (see Review); Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale by E. Chris Garrison (see Review); The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley by Susan Örnbratt (see Review); Wishful Thinking by Kami Wicoff (see Review); The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman (see Review) and the partial review of The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead!

I included a reading list for Magical Realism on my review of The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker – which also proves the point how I continuously remain open to finding the story-tellers who are creating fiction that goes above and beyond the traditional threading of how a story can be told whilst visually capturing our imagination to jettison into a theory of how everything can be altered by perception!

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Notation on Cover Art: I was sent the trade paperback edition by Picador, where I must say, I was more impressed than the predominately ‘yellow’ jacket of the other edition!? The reason I am thankful for this version in my hands is because the colours are muted which elude to ‘yesteryear’ and the nod towards the clock with symbols etched into the background appearing as a watermark whilst cross-overlaid with the shadows of Bryan and Linz simply make sense to me! It has a weathered appearance you would expect of a time travel romance but also, the illusion of a greater mystery that lends the suspenseful nature of how the story is told through Womack’s narrative.

Blog Book Tour | “The Memory Painter” by Gwendolyn WomackThe Memory Painter
Subtitle: A novel of Love & Reincarnation
by Gwendolyn Womack
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Two lovers who have travelled across time.

A team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research.

A miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery.

At once a sweeping love story and a time-travelling adventure, Gwendolyn Womack’s luminous debut novel, The Memory Painter, is perfect for readers of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Life After Life and Winter’s Tale.

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist, whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to Bryan’s success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. Bryan believes these dreams are really recollections―possibly even flashback from another life―and he has always hoped that his art will lead him to an answer. And when he meets Linz Jacobs, a neurogenticist who recognizes a recurring childhood nightmare in one Bryan’s paintings, he is convinced she holds the key.

Their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet―visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago. As his visions intensify, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

The Memory Painter is at once a taut thriller and a deeply original love story that transcends time and space, spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9780425277720

Genres: Genre-bender, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Historical-Fantasy, Magical Realism, Reincarnation Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Thriller, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Time Travel Fiction


Published by Picador

on 5th July, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Finalist for the 2016 RWA Prism Awards for Best First Book & Best Time Travel/ Steampunk category.

Published By: Picador (@PicadorUSA) via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel.

Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Alzheimer's Disease, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Boston, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Egypt, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Magical Realism, Modern Day, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Passionate Researcher, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Reincarnation, Romantic Suspense, Science Fantasy, Star-Crossed Lovers, Time Travel, Time Travel Romance, Unrequited Eternal Love, Vulgarity in Literature, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “Death Sits Down to Dinner” the 2nd novel of the Lady Montfort mysteries by Tessa Arlen

Posted Friday, 15 April, 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 “Death Sits Down to Dinner” direct from the publisher Minotaur (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Edwardian delight and a note about ‘series in progress’:

Quite a well known fact, I’m mindful of dipping inside a series ‘in-progress’, as I much prefer at the very least read the ‘first story’ in sequence rather than miss the entrance of a lead character outright; however, as fate would have it – this time, my dear local library had a few too many eager readers who were all quite itching to read Death of a Dishonourable Gentleman at the *very same!* hour I was seeking it myself! Remember that ill-fated migraine of mine, from March? Oy. Yes, wells, a bit less than a fortnight before I succumbed to it, I double-checked to see if this title was available and/or if I would need to ILL (inter-library loan) a copy; finding there were no active holds on the title, I smiled and knew I had plenty of time to fetch it.

Never ever second guess when a good time to place a hold on a book – I learnt this lesson – as guess what happened after I recovered from said migraine?! A smidge shy of a dozen readers were all scrambling to read the book, and although I went down to placeholder No.1 it was already too late for me as I was 48 hours away from posting my review! *le sigh* Lesson being? If you find a wicked sweet copy of a book you know you will potentially need to read within the score of a month’s time, throw your name on it! Don’t wait! And, if case your curious – I cast my queue hold to the next in line!

Ergo, similar to how I’ve entered series previously either accidentally or without a time window to fetch the previous books by my library’s services, I shall entertain myself with the ‘second Lady Montfort mystery’ as if I were fashionably late and entering into her parlour with a smashing tale about missing my train and injuring my heel in a vain attempt to catch it before it left the station!

As far as the Edwardian era is concerned, I’ve become properly smitten by it, as you might have curiously peeked a glimpse over whilst reading my thoughts on behalf of Margaret Kaine’s Dangerous Decisions or noticed my outcry of displeasure at the turning of plots on behalf of Downton Abbey via my feeds on Twitter. I was so distraught by Matthew’s death and Anna’s violent attack (sorry if this spoilts it for you, but seriously, how else to explain?) I had to take a long sabbatical from viewing the latter two serials which conclude the saga. I’ve wandered inside the Edwardian years on a few occasions, finding my heart is aflutter for more of this unique era set at the start of the new century, where technology and society were each vying for independence and equal attention.

Technically, one of the Cosy Historical Mystery series I aim to snuggle back inside before year’s end (as I’m planning a bit of a wicked slice of cosy devourment this Summer) is the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander which happily resides on the verge of this era, as it’s set during the last bits of the 19th Century! (see this intriguing interview!) How this series has swelled to include novellas and eleven! novels, I know naught! A handful of years ago when I first set my eyes upon it, only four were published! And, the Lady Darby series I fancy quite equally to Lady Emily are set further ahead of the Edwardian era – which proves I’ve been dancing around the era for quite a long while! Further joy is realising there are going to be five Lady Darby mysteries awaiting my heart soon!

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Notation about Cover Art Design: The moxie it takes to self-assert such a title as ‘death sits down to dinner’ is what drew me into the hive of excitement to read this offering – in combination with the plot, as remember, titles & cover art aside if the plot holds not a wither of a curiosity it’s all art and words at that point! I love the how the designer used the typography to direct your attention the ‘action of the hour’ whilst giving you a fevering glimpse of the locale! This novel begs to be read!

Blog Book Tour | “Death Sits Down to Dinner” the 2nd novel of the Lady Montfort mysteries by Tessa ArlenDeath Sits Down to Dinner
by Tessa Arlen
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781250052506

Series: Lady Montfort mysteries


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by A Thomas Donne Book

on 29th March, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 320

Published By: Minotaur Books (@MinotaurBooks), (a Thomas Donne book)
imprints of
St. Martin’s Publishing Group, which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

The first Lady Montfort Mystery | Death of a Dishonourable Gentleman (Synopsis)

Converse via: #DeathSitsDownToDinner, #HistoricalMystery & #LadyMontfortMysteries

About Tessa Arlen

Tessa Arlen

TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen.

She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job.

DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 15 April, 2016 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, Canadian Literature, Coming-Of Age, Equality In Literature, Family Life, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inheritance & Identity, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Passionate Researcher, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, the Roaring Twenties, War Drama, Writing Style & Voice

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