#Sponsored by Center Street (Publisher) | #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “The Magic Cup” by Howard Behar An unexpected fantastical world percolating through a narrative speaking about the ethics of the world of business!

Posted Thursday, 31 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

This book review was sponsored by Hachette Books who provided me with a complimentary copy of the book “The Magic Cup” direct from their imprint Center Street (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: This marks the first post and/or review I am featuring on behalf of Hachette Books which now states this is ‘sponsored’ by the publisher. Kindly refer to my Review Policy where I disclosed the reasons why this new language of disclosure is being added to [jorielovesastory.com].

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Why I felt it necessary to preface this review with a note about current events:

By now, most of my readers (of Jorie Loves A Story) know I am a reader who has an active voice in the twitterverse and on her blog for civil rights and civil liberties, marriage equality, gender equality and social justice issues across the spectrum of what is currently affecting our lives living in the 21st Century. I initially read The Magic Cup in the early days of #wyrdandwonder – within the very first week of May. I had meant to post my reflections on it’s behalf closer to the time I had read it – if I had, this preface would not be warranted as it would have pre-dated what happened.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to make a conscience choice in what to feature and what to post in regards to current events – the sad bit is this story was writ by the ‘former’ President of Starbucks International, not the current President. To my knowledge, Howard Behar is fully retired from his association with the coffeehouse company – however, this doesn’t takeaway from the fact it grieved my heart as it did everyone else what happened with the civil rights of those men were violated. No one should have to endure or experience the kind of social injustice and prejudicial behaviour they did.

The reason I am choosing to release my ruminative thoughts on behalf of The Magic Cup is because it was quite literally one of my favourite stories I read for #wyrdandwonder. Releasing this review (at all) is never going to be the ‘right time’ to share it as the events of what happened will always be on the forefront of our minds and memories. The only way forward in life and in society is holding people accountable for their actions – something we have seen happen quite frequently of late – and I do hope, as a whole, Starbucks as a company will go back to the roots of their company’s foundations – as an openly inclusive meeting place where all members of local communities feel openly accepted to meet-up with friends, family, co-workers and the people they are working with on collaborative projects.

On a personal note – a copy of this book should be given to each employee in an effort to help them remember the legacy of Howard Behar’s tenure – as within The Magic Cup are the principles of both behaviour and the casualties of living against the moral principles each of us must choose to abide by or walk a long path towards personal enlightenment on how best to live with an open heart and mind in both our personal and business lives.

Therefore, I am choosing to share this story as a celebration of why I have happily co-hosted #wyrdandwonder this month of May, 2018 – it is to seek out the stories of the fantastical, sharing what derives a work to be a portal to #EnterTheFantastic and to give all of us an interesting purview of all the different ways in which Fantasy Literature can become explored through a writer’s vision of what ‘Fantasy’ can involve within their own imaginative thoughts threading into the genre itself.

Coincidentally, I did find this tweet s/o referencing an article which discloses his [Howard Behar] response on behalf of what happened recently. Wherein he does talk about how the company has strayed away from its founding principles and how difficult it is to see individual prejudices until a mistake is made thereby illuminating the behaviour which needs to be addressed and changed.

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What drew me into reading this story:

When I first learnt of this lovely book, I hadn’t quite realised it was writ with such a clever spin on the fantastical, as I originally thought it was a short Non-Fiction story rather than a narrative short spun on the principles and ethics you would expect to find in the the world of Business! From that perspective, what truly anchoured me to the story-line as I started reading it were the quiet moments of entry from the Fantasy angels which were superseding themselves into the pacing and tone of the overall journey Steadfast was taking towards becoming a better man.

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On how I Starbucked America

– from the Mid-West to the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast and Southern states

It is mentioned in the Foreword how the reason Starbucks was intentionally grown to become a cafe of community engagement was to curate a meeting space where people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic lifestyles could find a place to share a cuppa with their conversations – which flickered a light of truth in my own mind. This is the key reason I have loved ‘Starbucking across America’ (my mantra whilst road trekking) – you get to meet a lot of lovely people – from the baristas to the people sipping their lattes, to the telecommuters to the University students to the couples tucking in a date night in the middle of the week – you see a multitude of people in Starbucks.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting – the java is addictive (my personal favourite is the ‘cherry’ coffee latte), the sea salt hot chocolate is wicked sinful, the chai is the right level of spice and the green tea latte is as soul lifting as the fresh brewed teas.

I truly have Starbucked my way across America – from the Mid-West to the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast and Southern states – wherever I’ve travelled, the one constant has been the warmth of joy entering a Starbucks and knowing for a respite of time spent off the road, I’d have a lovely cuppa in my hand, a spontaneous conversation about to make me smile and a knowing sense that even if we don’t all agree on a lot of different topics of interest, the one thing which unites us is our love of tea and coffee!

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Reflections prior to reading the text:

There’s magic when a group of people is bound together with common purpose. It’s the chemistry of real people, doing the right things, with the right set of values. The journey to discover that magic – to create it with the people on our team – is what this tale is all about.

– quoted from The Magic Cup with permission of the publisher

I remember when I first spied this lovely little book – this little gem of a text which contains an uplifting jolt of spiritually renewing motivation to succeed not only in business but in life – as I was in the mindset of contemplating my ‘next move’ so to speak back in [2016]. I hail from a family of entrepreneurs – most have to go to University to gain a background in Business & Economics – I grew up in the shadows of business savvy parents and a grandfather who re-set the standard of business forms for his Corporate America company. Forget the MBA, I had real-life education before that became a new buzz word of innovative educational opportunities which seek to place you out in the real world to gain real experiences.

I also had the pleasure of attending a school in the city of my birth which suffered greatly by the budget cuts which corroded most of our favourite educational ‘extras’ (ie. art, shop, theatre, music, classroom pets/animals, field trips, etc) except it received a special invitation to attend a faux working city environment where children in elementary or middle school could ‘pretend’ to go to work for a week and see where they might ‘fit’ once they graduated high school. It was an interesting experience I had the joy of doing twice – once I worked at a pharmacy and the second go-round, I was part of the video team – an interviewer who had to go store to store, with a mic and not a lot of charisma or confidence, seeking a story I was inventing with each conversation I engaged within.

I worked in my father’s company from the age of three until eighteen – not consequentially (laughs) but as a toddler I was the right height to deliver certain things pertaining to my father’s business whilst gaining a unique perspective on the lighter side of his Industry. (Remember, I’ve previously said my father worked in the field opposite of the city morgue.)

From these roots – I knew I was going to enjoy working – except finding my niche out in the world of Business has had a rocky start as I came out of the gate slightly over-qualified for most entry level positions due to the knowledge I had gleamed by observation, real-life applications and having a keen mind for organisational affairs across a wide spectrum of industries not limited to the ones my family was involved.

It took me awhile to sort things out – even now as a 5th Year Book Blogger – the more information I’ve gained about the book world, the more I’ve sorted out where I fit within the world of publishing; startling enough, it isn’t quite where I first felt I would embark into the next chapter of my journey as a writer! In effect, the vision I had five years ago has altered, morphed through experience and taken a new course – one I am very happy to be researching right now.

Meanwhile, whilst I’ve been my father’s caregiver for the past year and a half since he survived his moderate bilateral stroke (see also Post) I’ve had a lot of time to consider what I want to do in regards to launching myself into trade and commerce. I sort of knew I should be my own boss – own my own companies, diversify my portfolio of investments and carve out the path I’m meant to walk rather than follow in other people’s footsteps.

I’ve been a natural bourne leader since I was in pre-school when I befriended a (presumed) mute boy who turnt out to be shy and was quite vocal by year’s end – my friendship opened his heart and gave him a reason to ‘talk’. No one else stepped forward to show him the kindness of friendship – so imagine, my chatty self taking him round the school, engaging him in our activities and never leaving his side. In return, I heard his ‘heart-notes’ of gratitude and felt joyful in spirit I was making a difference in his life as he frowned less and smiled more with each passing day. I continued to stand apart from my peers as I grew in school wherein I also skipped my slated graduation class and opted to exit high school on my own terms ahead of schedule.

The best freedom in life is owning your own truth – sorting out your own path – trusting your instincts and living through your faith. It’s never easy to go the route no one else is taking – to dig deep into yourself, believing your on the right path even if it feels arduously opposite of what everyone else your age is doing – at the end of the day, you have to return back to centre and realise your life is meant to yield different results. Not everyone can follow after each other – we’re all individuals – we all have adventures and experiences to seek out which define who we are but also, how we interpret the reasons why we are here. We all have a purpose – if we hold onto that truth, we can never fail to be living the life we’re supposed to be embracing. Even if we’re non-conventional and alternative to the general populace – there’s a reason why we stand out and seek a different path.

When I saw this book – I felt an re-awakening in my mind and heart – I have been contemplating what to do professionally for a long while – as I put my life on hold for my family when health crises overtook our lives, where immediate family members were facing difficult crossroads and where a grand-daughter was needed to stay close to home. Through it all, I’ve had my eye on a diversity of fields as much as my heart flutters aglow with the joys of philanthropic interests – I always knew part of my life was going to be devouted in equal parts between professional pursuits and my work in charity. In essence, the term ‘socially conscience’ companies was something I was contemplating before they birthed the term to give back to others whilst lifting up your own business – as it goes back to the adage – it takes a village.

As I have talked about why I love Starbucks, I’ll move on by saying I love pro-positive inspirators (my term!) who seek to motivate others to follow in their wake – to lit a fire of hope and inspiration in others who might be wondering if they can accomplish a similar goal in their own lives. For this seed of insight, I felt I would appreciate reading The Magic Cup.

To refer back to the quotation from the book – as it works as a preface of sorts for what your about to read – what we can accomplish together with a singular focus of creating with purpose is definitively magical indeed! Or to put it a different way – for each of our cup of truths, we each serve as both the Light to inspire another forward and the encourager of joy who seeks to celebrate the serendipitous nature of life.

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#Sponsored by Center Street (Publisher) | #WyrdAndWonder Book Review  | “The Magic Cup” by Howard Behar An unexpected fantastical world percolating through a narrative speaking about the ethics of the world of business!The Magic Cup
Subtitle: A Business Parable about A Leader, A Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First
by Howard Behar
Source: Direct from Publisher

We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we’ve often heard that nice guys finish last.

Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the Starbucks organization most definitely proves that nice guys finish first. In THE MAGIC CUP, Behar spins an engaging corporate tale to teach us exactly how we can do the same thing.

The story revolves around Vince Steadfast, the newly named CEO of imaginary manufacturer Verity Glassworks, which has fallen on difficult times. Vince is hired to help the once iconic company return to its glory days, and he brings with him a parting gift from his mentor and former boss: a stunning crystal coffee cup from Verity’s halcyon days. The cup turns out to be magic – truly – and helps him come to understand and reinvigorate the values that Verity has misplaced along the way.

In the tradition of great parable writers throughout history, Behar quickly involves us in an engrossing fantasy, continually challenging us to compare each situation with our own real-life experiences. The story of THE MAGIC CUP helps each of us discover that only by acting on sound moral principles can we fill our own cups with the personal and professional success and satisfaction we seek.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781478947479

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Non-Fiction, Sci-Fantasy, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation, Short Story or Novella, Urban Fantasy


Published by Center Street

on 14th November, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Published by: Center Street (@centerstreet.com)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #INSPYbooks & #NonFiction as well as #wyrdandwonder & #Fantasy #shortstory

About Howard Behar

Howard Behar Photo Credit Lisi Wolf Photography

HOWARD BEHAR is a renowned business leader, author, speaker, and mentor. He served at Starbucks for a combined twenty-one years as both an officer and a board member. He was the president of North America and the founding president of Starbucks International. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Lynn, where he is able to spend time with his children and grandchildren.

Photo Credit: Lisi Wolf Photography

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Reflections and Notations about the Foreword:

Straight from the start, I knew I was going to love learning about Mr Behar – we both grew-up in our father’s companies, little sponges of curious minds seeking knowledge through observation, hard work and a dash of osmosis – giving us a unique foundation in which to find the wings we would need to fly when we were ready to seek our own frontiers.

What is further interesting – he grew up in Seattle whereas I grew up on the East Coast – yet both of us were living in multicultural metropolises where cultural, religious, ethnic and socioeconomic diversities across the communities we were living inside were the norm. We had a heart-pulse of an intersection of America on opposite Coasts wherein we each garnished a keen appreciation for our respective individualistic talents and gifts. I credit where I was raised for the first thirteen years of my life as the foundation of accepting the world – as it was as if I was literally in the crossroads of what the ‘melting pot’ of American culture is representing.

This is also reflective in my open-minded approach as a hybrid reader of INSPY and mainstream literature and why I read across a wide spectrum of stories where the characters and the authors who write the stories are as diverse as the seven seas. I see people, I see souls and I see hearts. I want to see the stories which reflect the world in which I’ve lived and the world in which I love adventuring inside. This is why the stories populating through Jorie Loves A Story celebrate #EqualityInLit (see also Post) whilst taking into account it’s not just about diversity in regards to cultural or religious backgrounds – it evokes a broader expanse of every person you have the joy of meeting out there IRL.

In essence, I was championing the reflective nature of celebrating the heart of why all of us who are immigrants strive to carve out our own path in this ‘new world’ and celebrating the joys of mutually innovative ideas across industries of interest. I also include Native Americans when I am talking about diversity in communities as I had a hearty presence of Native Americans in my city who gave me a strong appreciation for their beliefs, their folk stories and their cultural heritage. They are the true caretakers of North America as they were here long before our ancestors embarked across the Pond.

When it shifts towards talking about personal foundations – where we live on our principles and we act on our personal beliefs – I could re-direct that philosophy to how I approached book blogging. I’m one of the few who never monetised her blog – my blog is a labour of love. I am an advocate for authors, a book cheerleader for stories and I champion wondrously wicked awesome characters. I love seeking the truth of a character’s journey and feeling as if I’ve lived a lifetime within a book of my choosing. I love time travelling through History and I love curating a collection of gratitude notes for the authors I love discovering (ie. the reviews which populate Jorie Loves A Story) as much as I like to challenge myself to write a more critical assessment of a story if it calls for it as I’m reading its context.

I don’t criticise those who monetise their blogs – don’t mistake my words – I understand why they are doing that better than they might believe. I’m simply stating the choices we make in our lives do define us, they say things about us without our words to guide others to understanding the metrics of our ethics and where we either live by our rock of faith or we toy a line between where we keep our beliefs closer to our chests. I used to think I’d cocoon my own beliefs (especially in regards to Religion & Spirituality) outside of this public space but then, I realised the very first time I had the option to read a Non-Fiction work in Christianity, the challenge isn’t to reverse ourselves outside our own zones of comfort or to sacrifice our morals – it is simply we have opportunities to go further than we perhaps felt we could traverse. For me, it was finding a zone of comfortability in owning the fact I’m a hybrid reader and sharing portions of my spiritual life as it parlays into my reading life.

I’ve digressed away from my point – smiles – I simply could relate to what was being vocalised by how sometimes the (outside) environment in which we are raised – of where we spent our formative years garnishing our impressions of the world (itself) is oft-times the foundational years wherein we emerge into our adult outlook on everything we formulate an opinion; especially how we desire to live our lives. (In other words, nature vs nurture from a different point of entrance.)

Everyone in the workplace today, including frontline employees, aspiring leaders, and executive leadership, will benefit from the lessons of Steadfast, his mentor, and his new colleagues. Using the power of story, Behar helps us get away from a relentless desire for fast profit and an accompanying lack of focus on building something of substance that will last. We spend way too much time on short-term, transactional goals and not nearly enough time on people who bring our organisations to life.

– quoted from ‘The Magic Cup’ with permission of the publisher

The quandary over ‘quantity over quality’ – is something I was explained as a young girl – you can either go for profits or you can work for the people. You can listen to your audience and your respective customers (irregardless of which field of industry your involved) or you can become power hungry and focus solely on bottom-line returns like a particular adjacent Industry to Publishing.

There is more to building business than the profits of its trade – it is bridging lives together, it is drawing minds together who have a healthy work ethic and it’s about building a company on an ethically sound framework of projected growth through honest business practices.

My Review of the magic cup:

I couldn’t help myself – I smiled knowingly and with a heart full of gratitude – the quote which places us inside The Magic Cup is a piece of inspiration from a fable from the Cherokee! The truthfulness of this fable is a parable of how to live if there ever was a pocket-sized life lesson to chew on which has a layered depth of insight within its short-sized story to draw your own conclusions about how your currently setting your sails towards your own future. It is sheer brilliance – not just for the insight it casts against the character of man but of the choices we all decide in how we want to reflect and refract the behaviour in which determines our fate.

I should state, I initially read The Magic Cup without taking any notes outside of what came before this sentence – I was delighted to retreat inside a story so authentically original and fantastically mesmerising, I opted not to take notes as I was reading; rather, I have orange flags sticking out haphazardly throughout this little book – moments of joy or portions of the text I enjoyed musing over once found. This book was definitely well loved and enjoyed even if at the concluding chapters, a few things wrinkled my brow.

One of the first things you notice as you enter into this story are the duality of purpose in the choosing of ‘names’. For instance, the lead character is known simply as ‘Steadfast’ – an interesting choice, for a man we come to find is conflicted about both his own strengths and his abilities in business to lead – you would almost believe he was given a name to ‘remind’ himself about his unwavering faith to ‘remain steadfast and sure’ even during times of doubt, unrest, unease or adversity – but as you embark to follow where his feet take you through Verity Glassworks, you’ll find he’s moving through a sequence of self-growth as readily as the company he’s attempting to lead into a new chapter of financial security.

His name isn’t the only precursor of foreshadowing either – there are other characters, such as Hoggit who should give you pause – whilst noting sometimes understanding who your enemies are is not as easy as acknowledging the problems in front of you. As we disappear into this world, we are first greeted by the knowledge Steadfast has a mentor in Nora, as she knows his potential could lead to greater things outside the scope of his work in her own company. Her last name was not lost on me either – as you’ll find a lot of ‘little nudges’ of insight sprinkled throughout the narrative – from names, to observational imagery to little truisms tuck into the context and each of the chapters relates to a ‘quote’ from one of the characters, generally of Steadfast himself – to work as a cross-index of what your meant to be processing and assessing as you read the story. Book indexers would love this addition as it truly does act as a metaphoric cross-index about the ideals and ideas within The Magic Cup.

It is Nora who bestows the gift into Steadfast’s hands – the cup centred and of most importance throughout this tiny tale of fantastical proportions. The cup is first seen on the artwork on the cover but it critically overlooks or downplays perhaps is a better way of explaining it – the cup’s particular ‘gift’. I won’t reveal what the cup does per se, as part of the joy of reading this novella was being keenly are of how the cup itself was a magical conduit and a co-narrator of the story by how it was relating to the larger truths of what Mr Behar himself was trying to impart to his readers who were interested in the ‘Business’ side of the story rather than the fantastical elements. I, personally, entered this from a Business angle and then, abandoned that focus as I was charmed by his style of Fantasy story-telling which is why in the end, he let me down a bit in how he ends the story.

As you draw yourself deeper into the story – you start to see the fantastical proportionally expound within the narrative – as Steadfast is both on a quest and a mission – part of his quest is to better understand the current state of affairs at Verity Glassworks, a company by all appearances has taken to rot right in front of him – from the pink slips dismissing the workers littered in the entry hall to the fact the power is barely outputting enough light to see his way through the building. The board mysteriously sequesters themselves to meeting in secret without his audience and the whole time he’s trying to experience his ‘day one’ at this new company, he’s finding nothing is quite what it appears to be – not on the surface and not on the dimensional layers therein!

Steadfast starts to collect an eclectic team of inquisitive minds along his journey into the heart of Verity Glassworks – along the way he also starts to collect a few nemesis’s who would rather see harm come to him than the truth of the company become revealled. Throughout my reading of this story, what I was struck by first and foremost is the art which is inclusively exquisite throughout the chapters! For anyone who loves art installations which take on a more industrial art approach, you will love the artwork found within different chapters of The Magic Cup. There are passages where you are awed and inspired by what is being described – as these are also the pages where the fantastical starts to spring out of the background, too!

For instance, there are moments of transfiguration – where the characters are not wholly known to you at face-value as they are hiding a contortion of themselves until their truer natures are known. This in-part plays into how they are named as those names act as forbearing clues towards their more sinister natures but it’s how they become visually evolved which makes the fantastical bits most fascinating to be reading! You truly have a sense of the horrific here – as not everything in this world is benign!

Other aspects which illustrated the fantastical are the blown-glass sculptured beings who are evocative in their own rights for being magical creatures who are inserted into an Urban Fantasy world! This novella truly is elemental of an Urban Fantasy, as we are taking ourselves ‘outside’ the contemporary setting of the Verity Glassworks whilst being inserted into this quasi-parallel world of where everything Steadfast and his troupe of believers is experiencing is slightly outside our known existence. The sculptured beings are beautifully described by Behar – in fact, these became some of my favourite passages due to the nature of how Fantasy, nature and the intrinsic descriptive insight into how the natural world views our own humanity can become insightful for the arching overlays between the quest of Steadfast and the future of Verity Glassworks.

There were moments where I felt I was on the very edge of my seat awaiting to see how Steadfast and his eclectic team were going to shift past everything thrown onto their path – there were moments of unexpected aide, of championing adverse situations and the awareness of the fact, not everything in this life can be readily explained or dismissed. There were times where the fantastical and the contemporary definitions of what Steadfast was experiencing were co-merging into a feast of Fantasy delight! You had a villain on one hand, a warrior of purpose on the other and these moments of transfixed awe alighting through the purposeful chapters of where Behar is guiding the reader through his servant oriented guidance of how best to ‘lead’ and be the leader who helps others take their business affairs to a better level of enlightened purpose. A lot of what is addressed is also having a social conscience, an environmental commitment of protective practices and a willingness to admit fault or mistake when it arrives but not to quit in the midst of defeat.

Each leg of Steadfast’s quest is taking him closer to understanding his own humanity and his own pursuit of commerce – where trade and the pursuit of profit is countered against the truer principles of how to ethically run a business without yielding to short-cuts or morally bankrupting your soul. By the time the quest is fulfilled, we feel as transformed as Steadfast by what we’ve learnt, felt and observed as he took an adventure through Verity Glassworks emerging out the other side of this darkened world to reveal the best honesty is the version of yourself you present to the world.

Where I felt the story failed the reader is how it concludes – the ending is a bit staid and rushed for my taste – in regards to where the ending could have taken us instead was to be as awe-inspiring as the scenes leading into the finale. By the time you reach the ending pages, you feel as if you were set-up for this beautifully lovely ending, only to find a predictable ending instead, where everything feels a bit too neat and tidy – where the fantastical bits are nearly side-lined completely and it becomes rather traditionally ‘ended’ on a note which should satisfy but leaves you feeling wanting of ‘more’ rather than what was given.

Still. One parting thought is I shall never quite look at sculptured glass in the same way as I had prior to reading The Magic Cup – because truly, the impossible is only a short furlough away from what can be imagined and plausible! I am truly appreciative for Mr Behar giving me such a fantastical read during a month where I was endeavouring to highlight why Fantasy enriches my imagination and renews my awe with the world!

On the fantastical writing style of howard behar:

One of the most ingenious things about The Magic Cup is how it was crafted together – it is first and foremost a piece about pro-positive business practices and secondary to this intention, it is a quirky Fantasy novella. The secondary track of interest is why I chose to highlight this lovely little story during #WyrdAndWonder – where I am helping to promote, celebrate and champion works of the fantastical through a first-time event I’m co-hosting where all of us who adore Fantasy are coming together this May to ring bells of joy over the stories we’re reading, have read or wish to re-visit.

As you first enter into The Magic Cup, the art of subtlety is embraced – as the ‘magic’ bits do not readily feel ‘known’ or ‘seen’ but they are there – percolating in the background, waiting for you to acknowledge them. The moments of the fantastical come up so readily familiar to you, it is similar to watching a motion picture set during the present time and seemingly has no special effects to offset your focus of the live action; until of course, you pull up the behind-the-scenes featurettes and realise just how much CGI was used to distort the imagery you’ve just witnessed towards something ‘not quite’ of reality. Your eyes and your mind were tricked in a way – to see something you could believe even if it weren’t entirely ‘there’.

As relating back to Fantasy, if you read Urban Fantasy, you know the ‘magic’ is set against a known world background – where our living realities are cross-bent against a world built out of fantastical portions of where dimensionally we’re not ‘in the same place’ but we are being ‘tricked’ to believe we ‘are’. It’s the same experience – whether in film or fiction – there are nuanced ways of seeing something just outside our understanding and dimensional time-line – thus, as you first dig into The Magic Cup your not entirely believing you’ve crossed into a ‘new world’ as it feels and looks wholly authentic to our everyday world.

As an aside, there is a sub-plot within the film: Sweet Home Alabama where Reese Witherspoon’s character’s ex is curator of glass art – specifically, honing in on the phenom surrounding sand and lightning and it’s by-product whilst re-focusing on the lost art of glass making overall. There are moments where even within Contemporary films you gather glimpses of old world arts and crafts being showcased in-line to the drama and the character’s arc. Herein, the reason I point this out – is because one of the reasons I love reading The Magic Cup is because of how it centres on the lost art of glass and how the beauty of what can be blown out of glass is similar to the artistic nature of sugar – if you’ve watched specials on Food Network, you know how delicate spun sugar and sugar art can become – as those tenacious sugar artists can make the whimsical and artistic merge into the beautiful.

I have appreciated glass art and sculpture for a long time – the artistic details within The Magic Cup are truly eye-catching. Concurrent to reading this novella, I also started listening to Clara and Mr Tiffany via my library’s OverDrive audiobooks – the similarities of interest in diverging into literary explorations on glass art and art glass histories was soul-lifting.

Specifically why certain elements of this story would appeal to Fantasy readers:

→ Transfiguration

→ Shapeshifters

→ Magic in its purity of revelation

→ A Quest with passages involving: the Worthy Way, the Perilous Passage and the Arduous Stair

→ Blown-glass sculptured (magical) beings

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This book review is courtesy of:

Center Street

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!

Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Magic Cup”, book synopsis, author photograph of Howard Behar and author biography were all provided by the publisher Hachette Book Group Inc. and are used with permission. Select quotations from the book “The Magic Cup” were selected by Jorie and are used with the permission of the publisher. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Wyrd and Wonder banner created by Imyril and used with permission. 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.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder

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)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Thursday, 31 May, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, CenterStreet, Christianity, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Futuristic Fantasy, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Shapeshifters, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy




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