#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Frozen Fairy Tales” (anthology) edited by Kate Wolford (by World Weaver Press)

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book by: Did you ever grow curious about a new publisher who produces science fiction, fantasy, and horror genre selections in both novel length and short stories? Did you ever decide to enquire with the publisher you’ve found to see if they were open to book blogger requests to read and review their selections!? This is the situation I found myself in as I was quite mystified by the offerings of World Weaver Press! Such a delightful discovery on my behalf [in 2015] with a website full of inspiring reads across SFF!

Since I started reviewing with World Weaver Press [three years ago in August, 2015] there has been a changing of the guard behind-the-scenes where there is a new owner & publicity team. I am wicked happy to see the legacy and tradition of WWP has been carried forward by this lovely new team! I am honoured to work with them continuing to showcase World Weaver Press through reviewing their titles and hosting future guest features by their authors!

I received a complimentary copy of “Frozen Fairy Tales” direct from the publisher World Weaver Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I have been excited to re-focus my readings on titles by this publisher for #WyrdAndWonder:

Immediately after receiving my first anthology from *World Weaver Press*, I knew I had found a SpecLit publisher I could happily tuck inside for ‘life’ without feeling as if I needed to seek elsewhere for the kind of fictionally fantastical stories I was hoping to find peppering through anthologies! The ways in which the editors of this publisher curate their stories within their selected anthologies are bang-on brilliant, as they not only thread together to such a degree of clarity but they honestly speak to the elemental reasons why we *love!* reading Speculative Literature!

The past few years, were especially harder hitting on my family to where my reading life suffered greatly – I had trouble re-aligning within SpecFic for the most part, as despite being one of my favourite genres of interest, I couldn’t get my head and heart to re-align within the worlds being created. Slowly but surely, I’ve re-entered these stories – finding my footing during #RRSciFiMonth within the novella Murder in the Generative Kitchen whilst finding during #WyrdAndWonder, I want to re-shift into their Fantasy releases such as this lovely anthology by an editor I haven’t yet had the pleasure of becoming introduced: Kate Wolford!

There is something appealing about the ‘frozen’ aspect of this anthological thematic – of when the world is bent inside Winter and everything has this altered state of being – Winter itself is daunting and hauntingly ripe for fantastical stories due to the nature of the Season but also, how quirkily this Season attracts Fantasy plots and creatures! It is oft the setting for stories within the genre and happily, I have found a lot of writers have a deep well of creative spirit to get us to reside within their visions!

I keep a ready eye on the anthology releases by this lovely publisher, as the previous serial anthology releases by Rhonda Parrish (mentioned below) are my *absolute favourites* by far, but they have new frontiers of interest which are equally percolating my eye of notice, such as their incredible undertaking of translating the anthology Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastical Stories in a Sustainable World by writers hailing from Brazil and Portugal. Solarpunk itself is a sub-genre interest of my own – I have a healthy appetite for SpecLit which focuses on environmental concerns with a prime focus of renewing energy, green lifestyle practices and a way ‘forward’ rather than ‘backwards’ where we do less harm to our biosphere than we have in the past.

This is what is said on behalf of this anthology:

Imagine a sustainable world, run on clean and renewable energies that are less aggressive to the environment. Now imagine humanity under the impact of these changes. This is the premise Brazilian editor Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro proposed, and these authors took the challenge to envision hopeful futures and alternate histories. The stories in this anthology explore terrorism against green corporations, large space ships propelled by the pressure of solar radiation, the advent of photosynthetic humans, and how different society might be if we had switched to renewable energies much earlier in history. Originally published in Brazil and translated for the first time from the Portuguese by Fábio Fernandes, this anthology of optimistic science fiction features nine authors from Brazil and Portugal including Carlos Orsi, Telmo Marçal, Romeu Martins, Antonio Luiz M. Costa, Gabriel Cantareira, Daniel I. Dutra, André S. Silva, Roberta Spindler, and Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro.

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Likewise, World Weaver Press has also put together their own release: Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers which has me equally excited!

If you feel equally tempted by a pro-positive approach to the ‘future’ here is what is being expressed on behalf of this riveting new anthology which could serve as a lovely companion to the Solarpunk in-translation which released prior to this title:

The seventeen stories in this volume are not boring utopias—they grapple with real issues such as the future and ethics of our food sources, the connection or disconnection between technology and nature, and the interpersonal conflicts that arise no matter how peaceful the world is. In these pages you’ll find a guerilla art installation in Milan, a murder mystery set in a weather manipulation facility, and a world where you are judged by the glow of your solar nanite implants. From an opal mine in Australia to the seed vault at Svalbard, from a wheat farm in Kansas to a crocodile ranch in Malaysia, these are stories of adaptation, ingenuity, and optimism for the future of our world and others. For readers who are tired of dystopias and apocalypses, these visions of a brighter future will be a breath of fresh air.

In a nutshell – the stories being curated by World Weaver Press literally do leave me feeling more appreciative for the positive undertones they are seeking to etch into their anthologies – as even across the board within the Rhonda Parrish anthologies, I am finding the same to be true of her curated stories! This is why during #WyrdAndWonder, I wanted to take a proper moment to highlight their efforts for continuing to seek out and publish the fantastical stories we all adore discovering whilst giving us a heady read to contemplate harder thematics and the underscored realities of our contemporary world!

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#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Frozen Fairy Tales” (anthology) edited by Kate Wolford (by World Weaver Press)Frozen Fairy Tales

Winter is not coming. Winter is here. As unique and beautifully formed as a snowflake, each of these fifteen stories spins a brand new tale or offers a fresh take on an old favorite like Jack Frost, The Snow Queen, or The Frog King. From a drafty castle to a blustery Japanese village, from a snow-packed road to the cozy hearth of a farmhouse, from an empty coffee house in Buffalo, New York, to a cold night outside a university library, these stories fully explore the perils and possibilities of the snow, wind, ice, and bone-chilling cold that traditional fairy tale characters seldom encounter.

In the bleak midwinter, heed the irresistible call of fairy tales. Just open these pages, snuggle down, and wait for an icy blast of fantasy to carry you away. With all new stories of love, adventure, sorrow, and triumph by Tina Anton, Amanda Bergloff, Gavin Bradley, L.A. Christensen, Steven Grimm, Christina Ruth Johnson, Rowan Lindstrom, Alison McBain, Aimee Ogden, J. Patrick Pazdziora, Lissa Marie Redmond, Anna Salonen, Lissa Sloan, Charity Tahmaseb, and David Turnbull to help you dream through the cold days and nights of this most dreaded season.

Published by World Weaver Press in association with Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-0692576076

on 10th November, 2015

Pages: 243

Published By: World Weaver Press (@WorldWeaver_wwp)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

Genre(s): Speculative | Fantasy | Folklore

Fairy Tale | Mythology | Cosy and not so Cosy Horror

Anthologies I’ve happily read by World Weaver Press:

FAE edited by Rhonda ParrishCORVIDAE anthology edited by Rhonda ParrishScarecrow Anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish

FAE (see also Review)

CORVIDAE (see also Review)

SCARECROW (see also Review)

→ (forthcoming review) Far Orbit: Apogee | Synopsis

→ Rhonda Parrish anthologies I am itching to read next: SIRENS (Synopsis) + EQUUS (Synopsis)

→ For audiobook lovers who appreciate the art of colouring as they are listening to their audiobooks, I was happily surprised to learn there is a companion *colouring!* book for this series!

About Kate Wolford

Kate Wolford is a university lecturer and anthologist living in the Midwest. Fairy tales are her specialty. Previous books include Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales to Fall in Love With and Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, both published by World Weaver Press. She maintains a blogazine, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, at fairytalemagazine.com.

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my review of frozen fairy tales:

Frozen Fairy Tales anthology (page layout) by World Weaver Press

As per my usual disclosure – when it comes to anthologies – I never know which of the shorts or novellas are going to whisk out a fanciful attachment on my behalf, which is why I may or may not mention each story inclusive to the anthology but rather focus on the stories which moved me most or which gave me something to chew on even if it wasn’t one of my favourites.

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On behalf of the Introduction:

Wolford is aptly insightful speaking about how Winter plays such a strong role in delighting our sensory perceptions for tales where the cold and harsh environs play well into the foundations set within the craft and lore of ‘fairy tale’ fiction! Oft times, I think part of the role of a fairy tale is to subject ourselves to an altered living environment wherein living truths and life affirming lessons can populate the background of a tale but with the scope of a fully realised fantastical world which unlike our own, has dangers which will require a hearty imagination in order to embrace!

She goes on to empathises this isn’t the first rounding of Wintry escapades within the fairy tale bracket of interest – recollecting how Hans Christian Anderson perfected the genre by placing us in a dramatic tale of his own – one which I have oft heard of but haven’t yet read personally. I can attest one of the blessings of Classical Lit are the re-tellings and adaptations – as I do find myself gravitating towards those selections myself, perhaps not relating to the ones directly listed by Ms Wolford but there are a wide variety of Classical stories I enjoy seeing retold and reinvented (such as Little Women).

In recent years, I have also taken note of the fact a lot of the original renditions of fairy tales and mythological stories were writ with a much harder edging to them than I had previously realised they contained. In part, I think this is why I have such a strong preference for re-told tales – all of which have started to populate themselves at regular intervals throughout Jorie Loves A Story – without being limited to strictly SFF stories either, as I have found entries inside other branches of literature I regularly read including Contemporary Romance!

Prior to digging inside this anthology, Ms Wolford rounds out a proper note of enticement about why each of the stories she selected touched her heart, her imagination and the spirit of why the anthology was assembled through her curation. It seeks to explain why these stories interest us and why they shall never fade from reader’s attention – not just for the recent popular incantations Wintry stories have undergone in popular tales stemming out of the film industry but why the dramatic eye for telling narratives with an emotional depth of narrative is what keeps these stories fervently sought out as each new generation renews their interest in their discovery!

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the stories i felt embraced

the heart & spirit of this anthology

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| The Stolen Heart by Christina Ruth Johnson |

Christina Ruth Johnson has her master’s degree in art history and is currently working as a teacher and freelance writer. She has aspirations of becoming a novelist, or maybe an archaeologist, or maybe she will write and dig and teach all at once. Her work has previously appeared in Scheherezade’s Bequest.

Vintage Fairy Tale Sleuth (blog posts) | GoodReads | Blogger Profile

Being told you have to do something is not the easiest path to forge for yourself – as it is as if your own free will has been clipped out of your soul. Such is the prospect we find ourselves involved in overseeing, as the Summer wind is urgent in his request his daughter ought to travel through the portal of ‘Winter’ to restore his heart – stolen and taken by force whilst placing all of them in the gravest of dangers. This is a world whose foundational strength lies in the subtle nuances you are observing in the opening sequences – including how the species of this world are wholly unique unto their own.

Fiercely independent and with a stubbornness not befitting her innate nature, we find Summer’s princess entreating inside Winter’s realm with a determined air about herself. She did not heed advice well nor did she broker any thoughts against her directed course – she was dedicated to carrying out the decree of purpose set before her by her father, but the only measure of defeat she allowed herself was the doubtfulness of how she would adapt to Winter’s environs. She was used to the warmth of Summer, the gentleness of the wind and the kindness of how the sun encouraged new growth. Winter was an altogether new world where icicles evaded the fire and cut short the period of growth.

The time she spent in company with a girl of her age and ability, her composite self in Winter (if you look at it that way) had a lot in common with her even if they lived in opposite Seasons. Both of them found themselves adaptive to their respective climes, where portions of who they were came on display when the environmental sensors of their climates affected their physical appearances. For the girl in Winter, she was transformed by ice, whereas the girl of Summer was affected by the renewal of new growth and greenery which attached itself to her as readily as any Summer garden.

IF I hadn’t been a ready fan of Pirates of the Caribbean films, I might have struggled with the key concept within this tale – of how the heart of the story was quite literal – there is a struggle of will and the horror of the situation surrounding the missing organs was not as grim as it first sounded, as if you remember the films, it was similar to how something was ‘owed’ in exchange for the ‘heart’ – in regards to how Will Turner’s fate turnt out quite different than I think all of us fair girls’ felt it might have originally.

One of the layers of philosophic insight threading through the tale is the concept of reactive emotions and how our emotional baggage can become our downfall. It is one thing to grieve, it is another to become embittered.

Oh! It surely can’t end there – I was so readily enthralled with this story – the pacing was lovingly thought out and the surprising passages of thoughtfulness, redemptive foreshadowing and the allure of the unknown tuck you closer to the two characters who alight in our lives on the verge of better understanding their own paths. This is a tale of love and loss, of how we can alter our state of aliveness through how we greet the tomorrow of uncertainty – for each loss sparks a chance of losing sight of what is truly most important to hold onto whilst we still have a chance to breathe in a new day of possibilities.

I would love to see this lovely short expanded – especially if it had become a full novel or the prequel short towards a series – this world bears re-exploring and further expansion! The depth of its world is realised in such a way to give the illusion this is only a preview and not a conclusion!

NOTE: For readers who are familiar with CORVIDAE, you will happily find references to corvids throughout this tale!

Fantastical elements:

→ Elemental Magic – herein, if you reside in ‘Summer’, you have attributes which compliment the Season – everything from how you use ‘ice’ from ‘Winter’ but would not consider ‘residing in Winter’ completely to experience its dimensional world. The Seasons play a strong part in understanding how the world is functioning and how the magic therein is dispersed. The elements of each Season also have a way of ‘charming’ clothes and wearable articles – as the truer nature of the residents of each Season have ways of protecting themselves in each of the realms. It was wicked illuminating watching how they adapted and were able to take a piece of themselves outside their home realm.

→ Charmed Weavers – there is a weaver who uses ‘sunlight’ as it ‘glows through her fingers’.

→ Winter tornadoes – as a vessel of transportation, spun out of ice and the chill of Winter winds

→ Magical Species – Zephyrs are the main race of ‘Summer’ whereas ‘Winter’ is populated with ?. I presumed the Zephyrs were descendants of Zephyrus (see also Wikipedia) as this story in-part has to do with ‘wind’ and how elementally the winds in the story have an affect on each other and their world(s). They could also be elemental faeries who are ruled by the wind(s).

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| Buffalo Wings by Lissa Marie Redmond |

Lissa Marie Redmond lives in Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two daughters.

Site | @Lissa_M_Redmond | Facebook

I have an affinity of love for coffeehouses and teahouses – especially the Indie variety – they have a loveliness inside them where the bookish, the chatty, the curious and the socially engaging can find themselves in like-minded company. Where tech can oft-times take a backseat to analog pursuits and where hearty conversation is more viable than social media updates! Their the kind of places you just feel the warmth touch you as you walk over the threshold – wondering dearly, what piece of savoury or ambrosial offering is going to tempt your senses whilst you sort out what you want in your cuppa!

Thus, as I started reading this lovely short, I immediately had a proper sense of where I was being taken by way of setting – the quirkiness of alighting inside a coffeehouse whose chairs and cream are disappearing with regularity whereas the modest barista whose not a barista in charge of opening and closing the place falters at finding a plausible excuse for why such curious behaviour is happening in his haus of java delights – is a bit puzzling, what is further compelling is the atmosphere surrounding the events! The coldness of Winter settling over the city with such a fierce arrival, it bites everyone it touches – without remorse nor apology!

By the time Cerena came into the coffeehouse, I knew things were going to get progressively more interesting – it’s a little known fact (or one others might not like to acknowledge) but whenever you re-use, re-purpose and otherwise find wares for your house or business from early-attic type shoppes, estate auctions or antique emporiums – you run the risk of taking more than the object you desire to have in your environment – sometimes the things you buy have their own hidden peculiarities! This is why, as the topic of conversation turnt round the table which was per-cured from the rubbish being tossed out and retrofitted out of a reclaimed ‘door’ – something in me sat up a bit straighter!

When Cerena was starting to talk about dimensional shifts, the portals invisible to humans and how we’re not the sole inhabitants of this particular ‘space’ even if it we might be curiously out of grasp with how the rest of the universe co-lives amongst us – I must say, I was seriously engaged in the plot at this point! I love when you get to pull back the folds of the time continuum – seeing reality from different points of entrance such as how different everything would look if you were living in a different dimensional plane from our own?

The middle bits weren’t my favourite – as there were some decidedly left turns in the plot – where I felt the strength still resided is when we find out the truth about James’s girlfriend Debbie and everything leading into the ending was quite well done as well – especially from the point where James starts to embrace the fact he understands more than most mortals of his kind! The best part too is where the writer truly makes you contemplate the fullness of what is being said in this short – of how for each season there is a Cerena who lives near us and for each new year, we are all one step closer to ‘seeing’ each other as we actually are rather than remaining blind to what is no longer impossible to imagine.

NOTE: One thing about being an advanced planner and research for not just the plots of your future stories (*smirks*) but for sorting out where you wish to travel – you could say I have the benefit of being well-researched! As Buffalo was one of those cities which stood out to me – for a variety of reasons, lest the fact it’s quite a clever way to enter into Ontario! Ergo, you could say the locale ‘had me at ‘Hallo’ and I enjoyed taking this foray into the city through the writer’s eyes! A bit surprised though to find she’s a Crime Thriller writer when she’s not writing #SpecLit – the irony for me is how much I love reading Crime Dramas *and!* Speculative Lit – I could definitely imagine the fun she has having a writerly heart spilt between the two genres!

Fantastical elements:

→ Re-arranged furniture – you know your reading something rather interesting if even the furniture can’t stay in the same place as the day before without intervention by a force or forces unseen by your eyes overnight

→ A shortage of cream – a rather curious plot point and one with a satisfying answer!

→ Cautionary warnings – only the best cautionary tales of Speculative Fiction come with the most doomingly dire warnings attached to them!

→ A Black Winter – seriously who would want to be the person responsible for such a condition as to find the world unhinged by a maddening Winter which has no end?

→ Winter elves – definitely have a cheekiness about them with a smidge of snark round the edges! I wouldn’t say they were easy to warm to as their in need of anger management!

→ Ice sprites – dearly curious creatures – who are ruled by the constant timekeepers of their world and ours: the sun, moon and the stars. Which leads you to wonder – what else is fantastically in-line with our own realities?

→ Dimensional shifts – for the girl who loves Quantum Physics, this was a seriously awesome inclusion!

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| Death in Winter by Lissa Sloan |

Lissa Sloan spent a year as book reviewer for Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine. Her poems and short stories are published or forthcoming inEnchanted Conversation, Niteblade Magazine, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, and Specter Spectacular II: 13 Deathly Tales. Lissa also writes and illustrates for younger readers.


This tale has an emotional conviction threading through it as you are tucked close to the soul of a mother who doesn’t have the strength inside her to ‘let go’ of her daughter so soon after she lost her husband. She takes up the accord to make a bargain with Death – as he has come twice to her door and this second time round, she will not allow him to leave without at least pleading to his empathy; if he has any to be found. Within their short exchange, they develop a plan – one which will be arduous for her to complete (to journey to his home) as much as the anxiousness of realising Death has come to her home twice without her able to intervene to stop the losses she had endured.

You get wrapped up inside this dance of death – of the yearnings of a woman who has a mission, to save her daughter and what befalls her on her quest towards that end is not as important as securing the fate of her young child. There is even a mysterious Samaritan who crosses her path at just the right moment where an intervention is well-timed to save this mother a fate surely worse than the one she was about to collide inside!

There were small touches of kindness flickering throughout this short, too! Such as the concept of what cannot be taken but must be given of ‘free will’. This takes on different meanings as you move through the story – including, at a point where I nearly forgot the one passage of a scene was quite full of a horror no mother would want to endure but being maternal, it was the only solution to the problem! I had to re-read it and then realised, she was willing to sacrifice even a piece of her own flesh if it meant she could draw a second audience with Death; of being able to make her case once more and if ever hopeful, make headway towards her goal.

What truly grabs your heart though is how all the pieces of this rather Gothic laced short come together – it is well thought out and brilliantly executed! I even adored how the ‘walnuts’ played a role in the mother’s quest! Your emotionally overwhelmed start to finish and the ending is the sweet reward for what you most feel in order to reach it.

NOTE: There were elements of Horror inside this short – but to me, they felt more ‘Gothic’ in their delivery, as despite the ‘horror’ aspects of what was happening, I didn’t feel as if it were over the top or outside of what you would expect if a person encountered Death.

Fantastical elements:

→ The personification of ‘Death – not since I watched the short-lived BBC drama ‘Mulberry’ have I seen the personification of ‘Death’ as vividly come to life as I have inside this short story! Outside of course, the Angel of Death on ‘Touched by an Angel’ but that was not quite the same thing at all.

→ Magic – the gentle kind, the mysterious kind and the kind which can only be given and not ‘taken’.

→ Shapeshifters – specifically from going from looking human to being a ‘raven’.

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| The Light of the Moon, the Strength of the Storm, the Warmth of the Sun by Aimee Ogden |

Aimee Ogden lives in Wisconsin with her husband, her twin toddlers, and her very patient dog. Her poetry has appeared in Star* Line and Asimov’s, including her Rhysling-Award nominated poem “Morning Sickness.” “The Light of the Moon, the Strength of the Storm, the Warmth of the Sun” is her first published short story.

Site | @Aimee_Ogden

The depths of how far a great grand-daughter would go to save a beloved tree planted by her great grand-mother is only understood by those who are either a) a great grand-daughter themselves or are b) a great grand-mother! Being one of these myself, I understood the potency of the quest before it was undertaken. There are things above and beyond ourselves, of things which ought to be looked after at all cost and things which are inherited which seek our protection.

As this short began, there was an innocence about it – of a farmer’s daughter merely going about her business as she so oft has done before – only this time, there is a slight fractional difference in what she observes to be true of her environment. This prompts her search for the witch and of whom she most agree to terms if she has any hope of saving a tree which effectively could have the most impact on her life and the witch’s if she were to fail. Like most ‘quests’ hers is not an easy one to speculate about on how to fulfill; the witch was clever that way, to ask the impossible and hope for the probable!

I loved the turns of phrase in this short which evoked an emotional connection to knitting and to the truism of our actions connecting us to our footpath as a spiritual person walking through the experiences of Earth. The transformative way in which you can tell this is not merely a story about  a farmer’s daughter but of something more.

The interesting bit to this story is how you can go off in search of one answer and be rewarded with a response you weren’t seeking to find but all the same, it was the answer you needed to find! It speaks to the truth of our hours, the ways in which we need to remember to be cognisant of what our journey means and of the places we traverse – of the greater meaning behind everything we experience and the uniqueness of how interconnected our lives truly are meant to become. This short felt deeper than it’s word count – the wisdom in this short is enduringly brilliant.

Fantastical elements:

→ A magically seeded apple tree – of whose fruit is not entirely what they seem to be.

→ A witch – who barters a quest in exchange for saving an inheritance of a magical apple tree

→ A quest – both for an internal sense of self and the externalism of finding your way back home.

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| Happily Ever After by Amanda Bergloff |

Amanda Bergloff is a fantasy, science fiction, and children’s book author and illustrator. She is a lover of all things pop culture and is the editor of the website, “House of Mystery: Comics and More.”

Enchanted Conversation: Magazine | @AmandaBergloff

Every so often, I am taken by surprise to find a story which altogether is a lovely read due to how humourous it was written! This is quite the case with Happily Ever After, as it is writ in a vein of thought to re-consider what you might feel is ‘over the top’ and blissfully obscure – for how this story is told is through a series of rather keenly unfortunate happenings – or are they?

This is the kind of story which makes you question the main thread of its heart – of seeing where all the connections are leading you and of which of the secondary characters is most important to keep track of – as most of them come and go so very quickly from each of the scenes and sequences, you must keep a hearty eye for the ‘one’ who ties everything together!

I even appreciated the lightness of the drama unfolding – of how even if you feel your cast straight into a high blizzard, your fates are not entirely ruined! No, sometimes it’s the long way home and the long way round an obstacle your facing which leads you back to rights! Honestly – this short is a very quick read, but what endears the message is how it held within it a uniqueness of both pacing, delivery and the thoughtfulness of how this world is being opened to you in the little scenes which act as ‘chapter breaks’ if you will – moving you forward and giving you something to chew on at the same time!

Very uniquely told and one which leaves you in a fit of smiles and giggles!

Fantastical elements:

→ A mysterious horse – I won’t spoilt the surprise, as this particular horse is hiding something from the world whilst his coat is covered in dust!

→ A Snow Girl – Although her presence in the story was rather on the shorter side of the ledger, she made quite the impression! I especially liked seeing how she was both ‘here’ but not readily ‘seen’ – it is an interesting quirk of how sometimes those who live amongst others are not necessarily observed but all true to their own natures by how they move about in our environs.

→ There is a Witch – although this one in particular is quite funny to be heard, as her role is both necessary and unnecessary depending on how you look at it!

→ A good rule of thumb – I’d just readily assume most of the persons in this story are not entirely as they originally appear and thereby, are more magically inclined than you think possible!

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The Heart of Yuki-Onna by Alison McBain |

Alison McBain lives in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. She has over thirty publications in magazines and anthologies, including stories and poems in Flash Fiction Online, Abyss & Apex, and Abbreviated Epics.


There is a delicate balance within this beautifully told short story – of how one family approached handling their poverty and the sickening realisations of how they did not have enough food to feed a family of five children and two parents. This story gently warms your own soul for how lyrically it’s told and how passionately compassionate it is by the ending paragraphs. What grabs at your heart straight-off is the tragedy of Yuki-Onna’s short lived life. What renews your Hope in the world in which she lives is the transformation she undergoes and the ways in which sometimes you can play an active role in your destined fate – so much so – you evolve towards an altered state of existence past what you can first conceive.

This short envelopes you inside a dearly brutal Winter – where not just food is scarce but so too, is the Hope for the future. This family doesn’t have a lot to hold onto which will give them a boost of resolve to face the storms but what they do have is the knowledge that one selfless act is slowly changing their lives. For Yuki-Onna had a greater purpose than they originally thought she might.

Very emotionally told, you want to brace yourself for how your going to feel as you read this story – by the time it concluded, I felt fully satisfied. The writer digs into the heart-pulse of despairing circumstances, the anguish of a mother’s guilt and loss whilst attempting to show more than what appears on the surface of this story within the events themselves. You have a frozen landscape and elements of how the ‘frost’ covering the land can affect other elements of the story but truly, what stays with you more is who Yuki-Onna becomes through her transformation. For this is what is uplifting about her tale: her life held purpose even if her father first felt it did not.

Fantastical elements:

→ Disappearing children – You don’t fully understand what is happening until the story ends and even then, there is a disparity about it.

→ Food deliveries – Although not fully explained nor explored, you can surmise why the food keeps reappearing when it is needed and warranted to be given.

→ Light & Dark – there are undertones within this short story highlighting the thematics of ‘light vs dark’ and how this can be symbolised in a story. Therefore, there are different ways this is brought forward – most striking is what becomes of Yuki-Onna and how she changed the lives of others at a time in her own life where she transcended past her Earthly destiny.

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| What She Saw by Lantern Light by L.A. Christensen |

L.A. Christensen is the fiction-writing nom de plume for literary translator Laura Christensen. She specializes in French folktales and fairy tales.

Site | @titetraductrice

Long arduous journeys in heavy snowfall and the swirling distractions of a world cast into snow and ice are not the best companions! Yet, here we find Maria attempting to do her parents bidding of walking for six hours in order to reach the city for a chance to sell at market. The grueling aspect of making such a walk solo was enough to make me chill with the gravity of the request! Even if you were willing and able – it’s a long, long way to go by yourself – in conditions not befit any living creature with the snow falling so dearly heavy as if to put pressure on your skin in a way which was less than comfortable!

As Maria walked, she occupied her boredom with songs until of course, the lantern of the title takes centre stage in illuminating someone unexpected. The girl who took a solo journey is now joined by another – even if the other girl speaks not and leaves Maria uncertain as to how to figure out where the other girl has come from or even, how to return her back from whence she came!?

Everyone knows when you grow lost in a forest, it is best to ‘stay still’ and keep where you are til morning – however, Maria took the more daring approach and tried to find her own way out! I was charmed by how her travelling companion (the girl) and the events which led into her finding the ‘coach’ were all with the purpose of aiding her on her journey. To have found such a magical mode of transportation is something I doubt she nor I would have soon forgotten! There is just the right kind of mystery attached to this short, to where not everything is readily explained or known – there is still the issue, how did the girl know to trust Maria? And, how pray tell did the coach know where to collect her or that she would be trusting enough of it’s service? If anything, I’d like to retreat back into this short and see the world expanded into more stories!

Fantastical elements:

→ Children bourne on Sundays – see the fey and other creatures of the woodlands, as children bourne on this day are able to see the fantastical and magical.

→ A flying coach – quite literally one of my favourite new vehicles of transportation!

→ A ghost or a sprite or ? – I love how the apparition in the story is left to the reader’s imagination – of whom the girl truly is or was whilst giving us something to chew on as we think back over the story!

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How Jack Frost Stole Winter by Gavin Bradley |

Gavin Bradley is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has been working in Edmonton, Canada, for the past two years. In that time he has published poetry and short stories in The Glass Buffalo, an award winning literary magazine run out of Edmonton.

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I’ve had a healthy curiosity about Jack Frost for awhile now – it was helped by seeing contemporary films tackle the topic of ‘Jack Frost’ though my favourite thus far along was the third Santa Clause film, as it was such a crafty cheeky way of taking Santa by a shocked surprise! Those films are treasured by me, as I love how they approached each of the installments – just pure joy to watch and to fall in-step with the lore inside them! However, back to Jack Frost himself – I oft wondered if I should see how oft Spec Lit writers are using him as a main character – I would imagine he would have a lot to say and share! Thus, I was wicked happy he was included in this anthology!

As I was reading this short, I loved the depth of its scope – how it felt so much larger than it’s short expanse of story! Here is the kind of story I had longed to find of Jack Frost – where his slightly manipulative side shines but his vanity of pride is what unravels him most! On the level, it’s one thing to be the ‘best’ of something or to even find a way to prove the point to another – but once the challenge is over, what do you have left? What is then, left to discover or to enjoy if you have erased all challenges out of your life?

The most humbling character by far is the Sun, a bit of a life lesson wrapped up in what befalls this great source of energy in the sky! And, for Jack Frost himself? I wonder… would he really learn his lesson of interference for personal gain or would something else strike his fancy lateron, even after he bargains for a ‘change’ in Seasons as he has now… you just have to question, what truly motivates him and why his patterns of behaviour are set the way in which they are to put others at a deficient if he can be seen as a ‘winner’.

Fantastical elements:

→ Jack Frost – seriously who could resist a story about him?

→ the Sun & the Moon – not merely set to the sky to admire and appreciate for the gifts they give the Earth but they are sentient beings in their own right.

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museful thoughts & recollections:

Straight out of the gate, as soon as I tucked my mind inside the tale of Summer and Winter (via The Stolen Heart) I felt like I had come ‘home’ to where my personal attachments to these kinds of fantastical stories reside! Elemental magic is one of my favourites to uncover, as sometimes it is not meant to be glaringly visual, there is a subtle art to Fantasy, of how you can endear your audience with the smaller blessings of what magic can yield rather than simply relying on the larger impressions of what power can produce.

As I was reading the first short in sequence, I was delighted by the visuals Ms Johnson was creating for me – of the small touches of humanistic intentions, the emotional divides of two opposite and opposing enemies countered against a world which had its own set of perimeters of what was proper and just. You appreciate drinking in these stories slowly, of allowing them to fully realise themselves in your heart and imagination – as once you find yourself eclipsed within them, it is a sweet joy to see all the details the writers are leaving behind for us to feel so wonderfully removed from our own setting, we feel as if we’ve resided in their worlds longer than the pages have been turnt!

I appreciate learning more about the fey and other creatures who are like them but are different – such as the Winter elves and the Ice sprites inside ‘Buffalo Wings’ – which is a cleverly cheeky play on titles – instead of referencing the fact this city loves its chicken, it is a turn towards acknowledging some of its more fantastical visitors are ‘winged’. Each time I get caught into the currents of a story like this one, I remind myself how thin the line is between good and evil – of how sometimes creatures in Fantasy can’t be easily defined as one or the other and how sometimes the complexities therein give us the most fodder to contemplate our understanding of everything else!

Although I didn’t write a fuller rumination about ‘Cold Bites’ by Tina Anton – I did appreciate she tackled the ‘Tooth Fairy’ from a unique perspective of entrance! I was trying to ascertain who Gelda might have been the whole time I was observing her walking beside Timmy. His thoughts were blackened by the need of his ill father, whereas it was Gelda who was sorting out if he was truly a boy whose heart was turnt black against all kindness or if in the desperation of wanting to help his family, his thoughts turnt darker out of dire circumstances. The biggest impact this short had on me was the impressive way in which a blizzard can turn deadly and how quickly you can become ‘buried’ without a trace!

‘Simon the Cold’ was entertaining – I can’t deny that, especially in a superhero kind of way – where the unsuspecting heroine finds her truer nature and has to rescue someone she never felt she’d meet who had the ability to change her perception of the world around her – yet, somewhere inside this short, I found myself falling short of loving it. I loved aspects of it instead – of how you can’t judge people by their appearances or the way in which they talk – nothing so superficial as that! Never! No, you have to see how a person acts and it’s through their actions where you can judge them – by what they do or don’t do, which is more important anyway!

One of the beauties of reading a frozen collection of fairy tales is how cleverly ingenious the writers herein are tackling the theme of ‘cold, Winter’ – most thread the environment of a cold Winter into the background of their stories, but others, have thought harder about how the theme could be applied – by personality, by attribute and by a distinction of what sets their individual worlds or characters apart from ‘others’. Whether they are writing a world similar to our own, a world uniquely nothing like ours or somewhere in-between the two ideals – these stories have a way of warming your imagination!

There are a lot of stories evoking the idea of family: how their parents and children are trying to make the best of difficult situations or how the children themselves are being cast into a quest to either effect the family’s circumstances  or endeavour to be the rite of passage the children need to undertake. In some instances, the parents are the ones who have the most to learn and seek out the growth they would readily gain through a quest. The interesting bit is how family, hearth and home are stitched within a lot of the stories from Frozen Fairy Tales – as this generally isn’t always the case to have a primary focus on ‘family’ in fiction. I appreciate finding it (always) but it sometimes is harder and more rarer to find where there are pro-positive instances of where family not just bands together in adversity but they are shown to having different kinds of experiences all the way round.

The short which nearly left me shattered emotionally was The Heart of Yuki-Onna whilst a close second would be Death in Winter. Both of these shorts deal with ‘death’ in a transformative way – of how the lives of the children are affecting the souls of their parents, casting the parents into a situation where they may or may not survive the quest they are undertaking. The spiritual under-threads within these two shorts was also comforting but not overly done. The stories are seeking to gather your imagination to reconsider how it views life and death and the purpose of our lives. Whilst giving a full nod of strength towards the fact, there are moments in our lives which seek to define how we elect to #fightback when an injustice is done against us or where we feel #wronged by circumstances outside of our control.

There were three stories I couldn’t get invested in reading, one surprised me Faithful Henry as I thought it was beginning rather well, only I couldn’t keep myself interested to see how it would unfold. The second one, is A Heart of Winter – where the descriptive narrative took a stark turn for the Horror side of Fantasy – wherein, I honestly couldn’t stomach reading the story anymore! For those readers who don’t mind some grisly graphic scenes intermixed with elements of Horror within a well built world of Fantasy, this might be better suited for you! When it came time for me to read The Shard of Glass – I think the main reason I felt pulled out of the story, is it felt a bit like Narnia in the beginning; since Narnia isn’t entirely a series I love (only two of the film adaptations!), I decided to wait to re-attempt to read this one at another time.

You might have noticed – I mentioned two of these shorts could be expanded or re-explored into further stories within their worlds! This happens quite regularly when I am reading short stories and novellas – I find myself aching to ‘go back’ and to find more about the worlds in which I happily found a respite to reside! This is one reason I love anthologies full of shorts and novellas – you get to gather glimpses of a writer’s style, of what they love to imagine and of how they alight us inside their imagined worlds! For Speculative Fiction readers, I find anthologies wicked impressive for giving us what we’re expecting out of the world-building side of things with the hearty glow of characters and creatures we never soon forget – but it’s the spell-binding story crafters who keep us rooted to the pages! I am so very thankful I had the chance to soak inside Frozen Fairy Tales!

The stories within ‘Frozen Fairy Tales’ are highly inventive and I daresay, my favourite bits

(of course, they are!) are the intricate symbolism’s and the metaphors!

Once again, this is a publisher who makes my heart happy for their Speculative anthologies!

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This book review is courtesy of: World Weaver Press

World Weaver Press Logo provided by World Weaver Press and used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Showcases of World Weaver Press Titles:

FAE (see Review)

Disclosing my keen interest in CORVIDAE + Scarecrow (#BookishNotBookish No.6)

CORVIDAE (see Review)

SURPRISE! I awarded World Weaver Press the honour of two of my Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards as disclosed on my *End of the Year Survey, 2015*.

The Falling of the Moon by A. E. Decker (see Review)

SCARECROW which contains a sequel short story from Corvidae! (see Review)

During #RRSciFiMonth | Sci Fi November 2017:

Murder in the Generative Kitchen by Meg Pontecorvo (see Review)

Forthcoming Next:

Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs

Heir to the Lamp (the first of the Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Solomon’s Bell (the second of the Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Followed my review of:

Far Orbit Apogee banner provided by World Weaver Press

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Reader Interactive Question:

When it comes time for you to soak inside fantastical short stories & novellas, which authors have you discovered through the collective works found within anthologies? Which publishers do you recommend I seek out to find the writers you’ve become enchanted with reading and which anthologies did you feel gave you the kind of fantastical reading experience you were craving? Which creatures did they focus on and which elements of Fantasy did they endeavour to build within their worlds?

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This post is part of Jorie’s participation within the blogosphere event:

Wyrd and Wonder banner created by Imyril and used with permission.

Follow her fantastical adventures via this main hub of the 2018 event!

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{SOURCES: Cover Art for “Frozen Fairy Tales”, “FAE”, “CORVIDAE”, “SCARECROW”, “Heir to the Lamp”, “Solomon’s Bell”, anthology synopsis, editor biography, author biographies, Far Orbit: Apogee & Frozen Fairy Tales badges/banners as well as the WWP logo badge were provided by World Weaver Press and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cosy Horror, Earthen Magic, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Greek Mythology, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Re-Told Tales, Speculative Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, World Weaver Press

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