Blog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael Williams

Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Dominic’s Ghosts” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and enjoy getting to read a wide range of Speculative Fiction across Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres of interest. Sometimes the stories are genre-benders and/or they’re embracing the beauty of #SpecLit to such a degree they are their own unique niche in the larger expanse of the genre itself.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dominic’s Ghosts” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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How I came to learn of this novel:

I wasn’t aware of this particular series until Stephen Zimmer mentioned it to me – as he’s the founder of Seventh Star Press and the publicist behind Tomorrow Comes Media – he’s known my readerly habits since our paths first crossed in [2013} when I first started hosting his authors and reading the releases through his publishing company. Over the years, what has truly fascinated me as a reader is how attached I’ve become to *Urban Fantasy* and the genre-benders which fuse themselves into a quasi-Urban Fantasy world.

This has been proven by my love of E. Chris Garrison’s Tipsy Fairy Tales and Jennifer Silverwood’s Borderlands Saga whilst there are others I’ve read and ruminated about which are equally beloved for how their authors created their worlds; however, when I think about Urban Fantasy, these two authors come to mind first and foremost due to how their stories affected me as I read them. I was dearly attached within their worlds soon after I began reading them which you’ll happily notice if you visit the archives I’ve linked for you to peruse.

When I learnt this is Mystic Urban Fantasy series – separated into four distinctly unique installments – where you can walk in and out of the sequencing, I was quite keen to read “Dominic’s Ghosts” as I wanted to see for myself how this series was being constructed. Generally speaking – when it comes to serial fiction, I am a strong advocator for reading series *in order of sequence* to their world(s) not necessarily by order of publication – however, I’ve also been known to read series out of sequence if there is a time issue or there is a gathering issue of the past installments. I’ve enjoyed an introduction to those particular series all the same as if I had read them in order and I was looking forward to knowing what my takeaways would be with the City Quartet.

And, why I’m thankful for Scribd:

I’ve renewed my subscription to Scribd this past month, as I noticed how much listening to audiobooks is aiding me with curbing my chronic migraines – a two year quest to turn my reading life around & to find comfort in knowing by listening to more audiobooks, I am steps away from not experiencing as many migraines (as being a book blogger for six years come March & August, 2019 I’ve read a higher volume of stories in print than I have in the rest of my years) whilst appreciating my journey into the lives of narrators by how they internalise, execute and produce a listening environment that enriches the stories I’m’ enjoying through my headphones. I predominately use Scribd as an *audiobook subscription* whilst I do look at their ebooks as ‘chapter samplers’ to gauge certain books not available in audiobook if I would enjoy reading them in print via my local library.

Imagine my surprise finding a copy of “Vine” available to sample and to become introduced to the style of this series – which in of itself, is a uniquely assembled series!

Thereby, I acquired the ebook for “Vine” as a subscriber to Scribd – wherein I am sharing a few notations from reading as sampler of the context of the book for my own edification whilst proceeding to read “Dominic’s Ghosts” for this blog tour. I was not obligated to post a review nor was I compensated for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

 Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBlog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael WilliamsVine
Subtitle: An Urban Legend
Source: Scribd | Subscription

Amateur theatre director Stephen Thorne plots a sensational production of a Greek tragedy in order to ruffle feathers in the small city where he lives. Accompanied by an eccentric and fly-by-night cast and crew, he prepares for opening night, unaware that as he unleashes the play, he has drawn the attention of ancient and powerful forces.

Michael Williams' VINE: AN URBAN LEGEND weds Greek Tragedy and urban legend with dangerous intoxication, as the drama rushes to its dark and inevitable conclusion.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07H45PVQB

on 28th September, 2018

Format: eBook

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I believe I’ve found my ‘connecting link’ to the City Quartet and that is the theatre itself – it is the linchpin uniting all four stories as the key draw to reading Vine would be revealled within the final chapter. As I can only read a sampling of the ebook, I chose to read a portion of the Prologue and then, immediately went to the very end to the Exodus – as I knew I wouldn’t understand the point to Vine without spoiling the journey. This is the first time in a long time I was able to ‘sample’ chapters from an ebook – which is marked progress for me, as I used to read them quite frequently as it helps me decide which stories I might enjoy reading in fuller length.

I had a theory the connective thread of interest in the City Quartet was the theatre – as if you notice the cover art for the two editions by Seventh Star Press there is something rather theatrical about their synchronicity! Not to mention the fact, Vine is writ in the vein of a living play – as you move through it (according to the layout of the chapters, which are not traditionally incurred) your taking this lyrical journey into the world itself; pulling back the layers in a way a play would reveal itself on stage and thereby, your not reading a traditional story by the end of it.

From what I did read – especially in the conclusionary final chapter, is this series is not shy from broaching current events and political rhetoric from what you might gleam from the news. I was a bit surprised the switch in direction at the end but then, I wasn’t privy to the full journey and thereby can’t speak on behalf of what wasn’t yet read. I was just surprised by what the topic was in regards to how it was being inter-related to the City Quartet time-line of events.

Outside of a few thoughts relating to the overall series itself, I must admit I was more confused than I was enlightened and immediately began reading Dominic’s Ghosts to see if I could sort out what was what and where we were to go from here. Or rather, where did we originate in order to have Vine follow suit after Dominic’s Ghosts as the novel I was sent for the blog tour was published a full month ahead of Vine; even if in theory, this series has an earlier publication history.

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Blog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael WilliamsDominic's Ghosts
Subtitle: City Quartet
by Michael Williams
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Atmospheric and thought-provoking, Dominic’s Ghosts will take you on a unique kind of journey that involves a conspiracy, legends, and insights from a film festival!

Dominic’s Ghosts is a mythic novel set in the contemporary Midwest. Returning to the home town of his missing father on a search for his own origins, Dominic Rackett is swept up in a murky conspiracy involving a suspicious scholar, a Himalayan legend, and subliminal clues from a silent film festival. As those around him fall prey to rising fear and shrill fanaticism, he follows the branching trails of cinema monsters and figures from a very real past, as phantoms invade the streets of his once-familiar city and one of them, glimpsed in distorted shadows of alleys and urban parks, begins to look uncannily familiar.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1948042581

Genres: Alternative Reality | History, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Urban Fantasy


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 6th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 396

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

The City Quartet Editions via Seventh Star Press

Vine by Michael WilliamsDominic's Ghosts by Michael Williams

The City Quartet Series (in order of original publication):

Trajan’s Arch (2010) | Vine (2018)

Dominic’s Ghost (2018) | Tattered Men (*forthcoming)

Seventh Star Press Logo badge provided by Seventh Star Press.

*It should be noted, I believe the Seventh Star Press edition of “Dominic’s Ghost” reset the series – where this edition is the “first” book in the series. Followed closely by “Vine” being the second book and then, the final two would be “Trajan’s Arch” and “Tattered Men”. I am unsure the proper reading order if you wanted to read this as a quartet and look forward to sorting out the final order once it is known.

Converse on Twitter: #CityQuartet, #DominicsGhosts & #7thStar

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About Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Over the past 25 years, Michael Williams has written a number of strange novels, from the early Weasel’s Luck and Galen Beknighted in the best-selling DRAGONLANCE series to the more recent lyrical and experimental Arcady, singled out for praise by Locus and Asimov’s magazines.

In Trajan’s Arch, his eleventh novel, stories fold into stories and a boy grows up with ghostly mentors, and the recently published Vine mingles Greek tragedy and urban legend, as a local dramatic production in a small city goes humorously, then horrifically, awry.

Trajan’s Arch and Vine are two of the books in Williams’s highly anticipated City Quartet, to be joined in 2018 by Dominic’s Ghosts and Tattered Men.

Williams was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent much of his childhood in the south central part of the state, the red-dirt Gothic home of Appalachian foothills and stories of Confederate guerrillas. Through good luck and a roundabout journey he made his way through through New England, New York, Wisconsin, Britain and Ireland, and has ended up less than thirty miles from where he began. He has a Ph.D. in Humanities, and teaches at the University of Louisville, where he focuses on the Modern Fantastic in fiction and film. He is married, and has two grown sons.

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Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Content Note, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “Silver Hollow” (Borderlands Saga, Book One) by Jennifer Silverwood This is a prime example of how you can nearly have dreamt a world into formation and then, by a lovely unexpected surprise get to transition directly into the world you’ve talked about for a year!

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I’ve only been hosting for Xpresso Book Tours for a short period of time – mostly as a book spotlighter and/or author interviewer as most of the stories Xpresso Books takes on a blog tour are either Digital First releases or the review copies are strictly available in ebooks without print or audiobook availability. This doesn’t bother me as I already submitted one purchase request to my library (ie. “Jaclyn and the Beanstalk”) which was accepted and added to the library’s catalogue whilst other stories are either being sourced through my local library or being put on a gathering list of #mustreads once I’m able to purchase copies of those stories myself.

For this particular blog tour, I was encouraged to join the review tour by the author herself, as we’ve forged a friendship whilst I’ve been hosting her blog tours (ie. for Prism Book Tours) which I’ll disclose in a moment before my review. I was overjoyed I could host my first Xpresso Book Tours for a review stop as I keep hoping one of the forthcoming blog tours I find I love to either spotlight or host a guest feature will be available in audiobook which I can source through my subscription to Scribd. Til then, quite happily – this blog tour holds special meaning to me as I feel as if I’ve been caught up inside the journey of “Silver Hollow”‘s new release campaign and can finally read the story to see for myself what is inside!

I received a complimentary copy of “Silver Hollow” by the author Jennifer Silverwood 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 wanted to read “Silver Hollow”:

When I first discovered Silver Hollow, it was the genre-bending styling of the author which implored me the most to read the story. At the time, Silver Hollow was being re-released and the only version currently available back then in print was the older version. Sadly, despite my efforts to secure that copy by inter-library loan had failed. It had remained a story I dearly wanted to read and through this particular blog tour the novel has alighted in my hands – to be experienced and to be read.

This bridge between the fantastical and the mythological is what made me keenly curious about Silverwood’s writing style. I wanted to see how she used the bridge itself, as generally speaking I do have a penchant for Urban Fantasy nowadays but each writer I read within that branch of literature has their own unique spin on how to make ‘modern’ settings warmly conducive to Fantasy realms. Finding myself dearly enchanted by how she brokered a story out of the roots of Greek Mythos is only the tip of the iceberg I feel I shall be finding within her collective works!

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However, a short glimpse into a convo we exchanged during #WyrdAndWonder 2018 shows more pointedly what was encouraging me into “Silver Hollow”:

Silver Hollow was originally released in 2012 and was meant to be turnt into a series. The original book is still available in public libraries whilst the newest release has been expanded both in length and as the first of a series installment. How did you initially choose to re-visit this story and to expound upon your idea you had to develop it into a fuller series past where it was originally published? What are the key differences between the 2012 novel readers might be familiar with already or might seek out ahead of the newest one being released through their libraries?

Silverwood responds: Despite its flaws, Silver Hollow has always been one of my favorite books and worlds to explore. I always knew I wanted to return. However, when I decided to finally began the sequel, I realized my writing voice had changed. And the more I read of the original, the more I wished to do things with the narrative I didn’t have the writing chops to pull off before. I began revisions by updating and smoothing out dialogue between characters. I also took out many confusing plot bunnies which never go anywhere (while leaving a few for future books ). One night I brainstormed what the revised Silver Hollow could look like and quickly outlined two more books. I had so many fresh ideas I wanted to explore and that was the deciding point. No matter how intense the expanding and revision process has been, I haven’t looked back.

As for noticeable changes, I actually have a long list of minute and major tweaks. A few major ones are changing “Eddie” to “Freddie” to better fit his true, secret name. I also brought back both twins at the end of this new novel, because I have big plans for them and their perspectives in the future. A few other changes are the shift from Xcalibure to Caerleon, to better fit known Arthurian myths. I also brought a heavier emphasis on Amie’s Pendraig heritage and gave many nods to Arthur’s Welsh origins. While many things have changed, the core bones and heart of this novel have not. I hope everyone enjoys the increased action and romance elements as well. It was so much fun to write.

This is partially what interested me in your story – how it arches back into Arthurian myth and lore – whilst finding it’s own roots within a fantastical world being built out of what you envisioned for your characters! I can definitely understand the growth you experienced as a writer re-visiting her original novel – as a fellow writer who went through Nanowrimo in 2008, the journey I took within the challenge was a journey back to ‘self’ wherein I re-discovered or rather, I re-claimed my own writerly soul! Sometimes, the best thing we can do as a writer is to take a firm step back and then, re-emerge into our fictional worlds years later and finding both the story and our imaginations renewed!

There are a few different genre designations attached to Silver Hollow – from ‘Magical Realism’ (a personal favourite) to Urban Fantasy (another lovely genre to explore) to Fantasy Romance – for readers like myself and others who move in and out of these genres, what can we expect to find which hones in on these three particular ones the most? In essence, how did you bring elements of Magical Realism into an Urban Fantasy experience with overtures of Fantasy Rom?

Silverwood responds: That’s a very good question! I didn’t originally set out to encompass all those things, but as this new edition grew, so did the themes. For example, the book begins very snugly in the Magical Realism genre. Amie is a normal woman with a normal life, living quietly in a sleepy town in East Texas. The magic appears in little hints until the defining moment that prompts her to action. This is also the point we begin to shift into Urban Fantasy, as Amie is fleeing the people out to kill her. The oddities around her increase as she is rescued by Emrys and led into Silver Hollow. The romance is much stronger in this edition, which I felt appropriate due to Amie’s age and her forgotten past. Perhaps the most fun aspect of Amie’s journey is how she begins in perfectly ordinary circumstances and ends in a fantasy stranger than fiction.

I truly did feel you were genre-bending this tale – of giving it true flight to become it’s own incantation on thematics, purpose and the dimensional shifts of how it would purport itself through it’s own thread of narrative guided by the characters who are on a quest of their own!

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And, of course, I was happy to hear about the sequels – the first of which is *forthcoming!* lateron in Autumn 2019!

As we start to watch you develop the Borderlands Saga – how many novels can we expect to see develop the series and are you planning on inserting novellas or shorts which work concurrently with the novels? Whose story is next in sequence and what can you share about the second release? As there is a hinting about a companion story involving the Blackbriar twins?

Silverwood responds: Like I mentioned before, I already have two sequels outlined and planned, but the scope of these characters and potential to explore other gates, even the other side of the veil are limitless. I would love to be writing this series ten years from now. I would love to include several short stories to tie into the main series. While I originally planned a companion novel about the Blackbriar twins, I’ve planned to give them a much bigger part to play in the sequel. It will be titled Blackbriar Cove and explore the Unseelie side of the story, featuring the twins’ perspectives alongside Amie as they’re drawn into the next stage of the Seelie vs. Unseelie conflict. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to write the twins’, especially Faye. She’s such a fun, direct character.

If I hadn’t read an anthology about the Seelie Court a few years back, I might not have realised exactly what you were referencing here – as previous to my reading of the anthology, I hadn’t known there was such a dichotomy of differences within fey culture, tradition, personality and the worlds in which they lived! They can be readily seen as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ but both classifications do not do them true justice in revealling their true natures either! Hence the differences in which Court they belong!

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During December, I happily shared keen insight into Silver Hollow from a linguistics and language viewpoint, which proved how much Silverwood and I have in common in regards to the stories we’re attracted to read and to write. This journey I’ve taken to understand “Silver Hollow” from the outside before becoming a reader of the story has been a beautiful one – when the #bookmail arrived with my copy of Silver Hollow, I was overjoyed and touched truly that the day had finally arrived to where I could soak my imagination inside this novel I had all but dreamt alive of the past year!

This is why I love seeking out stories of Fantasy – they take us on this otherworld journey – we get to purport ourselves out of our ordinary lives and enter into the fantastical – where anything and everything can happen. It is through reading Fantasy I find myself lit alive with a keener sense of wonderment and a lovely breath of curiosity for the unexpected. Fantasy has a way of deepening our understanding of modern reality as much as it eludes to the overtures of literature itself – where its the stories whose characters teach us the most about how to live.

The only thing I wished I could have done was taken a pause to allow the first part to soak through me a bit more and then return after a proper rest. Because of my recent blight with a supernova (ie. four day beastly migraine) as disclosed when I reviewed the latest Rocky Mountain Cowboys novel – I wasn’t able to linger within the story. I didn’t get to begin reading Silver Hollow until night fell on Tuesday and morning started to ink its way towards dawn on Wednesday morning. The joy for me though was having a head clear enough to read and a novel imaginatively intriguing which re-drew me out of the fog I felt I had lived in during the migraine! Both of these novels were well-timed from that point-of-perspective because they gave me an anchour back into STORIES.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect once I finally picked up Silver Hollow – as the reality of it was this was a story I had discussed the components and elements of to such a degree of familiarity, I simply wanted to pull back the curtain a bit – settle into the context of the novel and attempt to forget what I had learnt previously and re-enter this world with a hopeful expectation of the wondrous. Reading is a lovely journey and for me, I couldn’t wait to cross into the Borderlands!

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On my connection to Jennifer Silverwood:

When our paths first crossed, Ms Silverwood and I shared a mutual interest and connection; however, our friendship did not form for awhile afterwards. It was truly after the interview went live and after I noticed I was reading her blog as much as she was reading mine – where I realised we shared a lot of commonalities in our reading lives as well as our writely lives! We decided to stay in touch and it is an honour to find someone who understands the bridge between reader, blogger and writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Silverwood through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I hosted her Silver Hollow blog tour and privately as well. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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Blog Book Tour | “Silver Hollow” (Borderlands Saga, Book One) by Jennifer Silverwood This is a prime example of how you can nearly have dreamt a world into formation and then, by a lovely unexpected surprise get to transition directly into the world you’ve talked about for a year!Silver Hollow
Subtitle: Madness begets madness...
by Jennifer Silverwood
Source: Direct from Author

“I shouldn’t have to tell you this isn’t a fairy story…”

After her parents’ car crash ten years before, Amie Wentworth trusts books more than people. She may be a writer, but she believes in reality over fiction. She ignores the unexplained mysteries surrounding her, never mind the dreams of a past life, or the fact she can fry technology with a touch. Not even a timely invitation from her long-lost uncle in England gives Amie incentive for anything other than ire.

Until she is stabbed in an alley and brought back to life by a handsome stranger. Soon Amie is dragged into the very sort of tale she is used to selling. To make matters worse, the man who saved her life keeps turning up and her would-be-murderer is still at large.

After crossing the Atlantic to her father’s homeland, she discovers a world beyond imagining. Silver Hollow is a place of ancient traditions and supernatural dangers, where everything is the opposite of what it seems and few escape sane. Faced with an impossible choice, Amie is forced to confront a deadly family legacy while remembering a life she soon wishes to forget.

**Previously published in 2012.
This NEW EDITION has been FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED.
The original novel is now no longer available.**

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781513636887

Also by this author: Author Interview: Jennifer Silverwood (Silver Hollow), Stay, Book Spotlight: Borderlands Saga

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by Silverwood Sketches

on 22nd May, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 436

Published By: Silverwood Sketches

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SilverHollow &/or #BorderlandsSaga
+ #DarkFantasy, #FairyTale and #UrbanFantasy

About Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of two series—Heaven's Edge and Wylder Tales—and the stand-alone titles Stay and Silver Hollow.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dark Fantasy, Earthen Magic, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Near-Death Experience, Texas, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature, Xpresso Book Tours

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana Aikin

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 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 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 ARC copy of “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” direct from the publisher Kensington 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 this novel appealled to me:

A good portion of the story is hinged on ancestral sleuthing and of keeping the living histories of our families alive for each new generation who has the chance to hear them told. Being one half of the Ancestry Sleuth team in my own family, I can attest to how the preservation and the exploration of one’s family line can become quite a wicked adventure! Especially if you only have subtle clues towards researching past your maternal and paternal great-grandparents or know the names of at least a few of your great-greats going back from there – genealogy is a pursuit of joy for both my Mum and I.

I keep missing the #HistFicChat’s on Thursdays as my hours during the chat are unfortunately taken elsewhere now to where I can’t chat with fellow enthused readers and the writers of Historical Fiction as I had been free to do the previous year. It was only this Friday where I realised this past Thursday the featured guest was Ms Aikin and as I read a part of the feeds for the chat, I soon unearthed that part of this story was inspired by her own ancestral lineage! In fact, she had an actress in her family (see this tweet) whilst she also was heavily read in pre-revolutionary Russian Lit which also inspired the story itself (see also this tweet).

I’m hopeful I can start to return to the chat – as Rachel Brimble is returning to speak about a sequel to her Pennington novel – of which I enjoyed discussing when it first published and Soraya Lane is going to be featured the following week for her latest release The Spitfire Girls which I enjoyed talking to her a bit about on Twitter previously during the last year. I purchased one of Soraya Lane’s past novels on audiobook via Audible and I placed a request for The Mistress of Pennington’s which was accepted by my local library. The paperback is on hand to be read and the audiobook is one I have slated to be listened to this Spring whilst I endeavour to read, listen and focus on Historical Fiction selections during my #HistoricalMondays showcases.

I decided to feature this during my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature as to me it spoke to me as being a Historical Women’s Fiction narrative – whereby, the main threads of the author’s muse were interconnected to her grandaunt and the legacy of the life she had lived. It is a particular lens into how one woman dared to live a different life – go to different places in the world and to curate her own path from her era’s conventions. To me that is at the heart of why Women’s Fiction is relevant today as it doesn’t matter if the stories are Contemporary or Historical in nature if they are focused on telling a woman’s journey – towards her own destiny on terms she determined herself or how she overcame adversity or tragedy and still found a way to move forward in the aftermath. These kinds of stories always interest me and are part of the inspiration behind both the feature and the the redirection of my chat @SatBookChat.

Thereby, you can see – I predominately focus on reading the historic past and attempt to find new voices in Historical Fiction every year, such as Ms Aikin!

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Notation on Cover Art: I could honestly envision Lily is on the cover – letter-writing was dearly important to her as it was a method of keeping in touch with her brother and sister. Her letters are a featured pause in the narrative arc and I, personally, loved how they were included in the chapters. Therefore, whomever designed this cover truly tapped into the heart of Lily and gave her a cover where you could almost see her coming in from a hectic day where she simply wanted to ink out her thoughts and draft a new letter to post! Even the outfit here reminds me of Lily from Ms Aikin’s pen!

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana AikinWe Shall See The Sky Sparkling
by Susana Aikin
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.

Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St. Petersburg with an acting troupe–leaving her first love behind.

Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.

With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496717658

ASIN: B07MQ3FCHR

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 29th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

Length: 14 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Susana Aikin

Susana Aikin

Born in Spain of an English father and a Spanish mother, Susana Aikin is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. She was educated in both England and Spain; studied law at the University of Madrid, and later Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

In 1986 she started her own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, producing and directing documentary films that won her multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. She started writing fiction full time in 2010. She has two sons and now lives between Brooklyn and the mountains north of Madrid.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Mental Health, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery

#BlackHistoryMonth Non-Fiction Book Review | “Standing Up Against Hate” (How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII) by Mary Cronk Farrel

Posted Friday, 15 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: In November [2018] I received a request about the newest Ms Farrell release – for those of you who’ve been visiting with me for awhile, you might have recalled I previously read her “Fannie Never Flinched” release in [2016] which was equally important for what it highlighted for young readers. I love reading empowering works of Non-Fiction which are highlighting hidden stories from History – this one felt as riveting as how I felt when I discovered the story within the film “Hidden Figures”. In many ways, I wish whilst I was in school they focused more on compelling stories like all of these and gave us a better living representation of History from multiple perspectives, cultural heritages and endeavour to make History lit more alive by the stories of the people who lived them. This is one reason I read a lot of Historical Fiction and why I look for Narrative Non-Fiction.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of Standing Up Against Hate from the publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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what i enjoyed about reading fannie never flinched:

We arrive in 1897 (so close to when my great-grandparents were alive themselves!) where the sad reality of girls working in sewing factories is brought to light. Those machines could be deadly or at the very least injurious to young girls whose fingers might not realise the strength of the mechanism they were working on. I flashed back to all the stories – in fiction and in film, where factories were exposed for their bad working habits and traditions. It was not hard to imagine this sequence of Fannie’s life – but for readers just becoming exposed to those harder truths of the historical past, the text and the photograph of all the ladies lined up in tight rows working past deprivation of sleep and hunger proves the point along.

Hers was a hard upbringing but an honest one, too. She was put to work as soon as she could earn her keep; such was the tradition of the era. It was nothing to be gone all day (hours past what a child should be expected to do) and without proper treatment or provisions for the labour given. By the time news was arriving about the insurrection in the industry to rise above the issues and draw attention to the rights women needed most, Fannie rose in a new confidence to seek out how to join the fight.

The historical photographs become the living testimony to strengthen the context – showing real women and real events along the passageway of Fannie’s life. Fannie’s life was one that began and continued in poverty; she simply never was given a chance to get a leg up on anything but was expected to do what was called upon her to get done. This is the era where women had little say, no respect and even had a risk taken against them to speak out against what was unfair. The moxie it must have taken for her to start to put together organisation towards bringing in change!

She became a natural bourne activist – travelling and speaking to as many people as she could who would listen to what she had to say. It did not surprise me she took heed of the plight of miners and their families – as their plight was similar to her own and those amongst her peers. They were given less rather than more, asked to work hard and were provided so little in return. Their families lived in squalor and could barely get by, hence why I think Fannie took a breath of strength to realise that her cause had multiple cross-applications! Working conditions were inhumane in more than one industry!

All whilst she tallied and worked tirelessly towards change, time was against her; as her family moved forward without her presence most of the time. Even in regards to the change she was seeking, it felt distant and unattainable due to the backlash she was getting from those who opposed her efforts. Her death was unnecessary and brutal – spoken with earnest disclosure in the end of the book. This biography is not for the sensitive reader – so if a child isn’t yet emotionally ready to read or listen to the story in full, I’d find a way to gloss over the harder chapters until they reach the point where they can handle all the details. Sometimes children can surprise us and handle more information than we think they can process but other times, too much information can lead to nightmares. Although all the facts are presented quite humbly, I might draw concern that they are a bit too pointed for more sensitive readers who might not want to know those exact details.

What shocked me the most is how she died and how her legacy was tucked underneath a rug so to speak. She never saw justice – not in life nor in death, except that the fight she participated in did yield eventually to better rights in labour laws but the price was so high, you feel sorry for Fannie in the end. How she believed so rightly in standing together and standing strong yet she had a faction of people who were blinded by hate and prejudice who took her out without so much as a passing regret or ounce of remorse. This is the saddest part of uncovering historical artifacts of humanity’s past – sometimes you find that such horrid things can happen in the midst of someone trying to right a wrong.

I commend the author for her tenacity and her dedication to tell Fannie’s story! She truly found the spirit of Fannie in her research and her pursuit of how to voice her living history! She should truly be honoured by what she was able to leave behind and to help safeguard the memory of Fannie forevermore!

-quoted from my review of Fannie Never Flinched

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Standing Up Against Hate
Subtitle: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII
by Mary Cronk Farrell
Source: Direct from Publisher

STANDING UP AGAINST HATE is the story of black women in the World War II Women’s Army Corps. They did not have civil rights nor the full protection of the law in America. Still, thousands signed up to serve their country and help fight the fascist regimes threatening democracy around the world.

As black WACs took up posts around the country they realized they would fight the enemy at home, long before they’d get a crack at the enemy abroad. At Fort Devens, Massachusetts, black WACs protested their unfair assignments to menial jobs that were never given to white WACs. Refusing to clean kitchens and scrub floors, they risked court martial and prison. Black women assigned to posts in the south feared for their lives traveling on buses and trains. Even their army uniforms did not protect them from assault and battery due to their skin color.

This book offers a much-need perspective on the lives of women of color in WWII America, some of the bravest and most adventurous women of their time. They interrupted careers, left home and loved ones, succeeded in jobs women had never done and stood up against racism and prejudice with dignity. African American WACs served with excellence, breaking barriers to make way for black women today who serve at the highest levels of the U.S. military.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781419731600

Also by this author: Fannie Never Flinched

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers

on 8th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 208

Published By: Abrams Books for Young Readers (@abramskids)
an imprint of Abrams Books

Available Formats: Hardcover Edition

Converse via: #KidsLit, #BlackHistoryMonth + #NonFiction, #WomensRights

Read about what inspired this release on the author’s blog!

About Mary Cronk Farrell

Mary Cronk Farrell

Mary Cronk Farrell is an award-winning author of five books for young people and former television journalist with a passion for stories about women facing great adversity with courage. She researches little known stories from history and relates them with engaging and powerful language in her books, multi-media presentations and workshops. Farrell has appeared on TV and radio across the nation. She speaks to women’s groups, civic groups, and at museums, schools and libraries.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 15 February, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, African-American Literature, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Children's Literature, The World Wars, Women's Rights