#WWWednesday No. XIV | Celebrating #SpooktasticReads 2021

Posted Wednesday, 20 October, 2021 by jorielov 0 Comments

#WWWednesdays graphic created by Jorie in Canva.

I ♥ the premise of this meme {WWW Wednesdays} due to the dexterity it gives the reader! Smiles. Clearly subject to change on a weekly rotation, which may or may not lead to your ‘next’ read providing a bit of a paradoxical mystery to your readers!! Smiles. ♥ the brilliance of it’s concept!

This weekly meme was originally hosted by Should Be Reading who became A Daily Rhythm. Lovingly restored and continued by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Each week you participate, your keen to answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading!?
  • What did you recently finish reading!?
  • What do you think you’ll read next!?

After which, your meant to click over to THIS WEEK’s WWWWednesday to share your post’s link so that the rest of the bloggers who are participating can check out your lovely answers! Score! Perhaps even, find other bloggers who dig the same books as you do! I thought it would serve as a great self-check to know where I am and the progress I am hoping to have over the next week!

Join the Convo via: #WWWWednesday

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October has dawned,

and the witchingly spooky fortnight has finally arrived;

which means your #WyrdAndWonder team is happily hosting:

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#SpooktasticReads 2021 banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Wyrd & Wonder is a celebration of the fantastic, but it’s a long time from one May to the next to wait for an adventure and not all fantasy reads are best enjoyed with birdsong and spring sunshine. Spooktastic Reads is Wyrd and Wonder’s autumnal ghost, 13 days to share the thrills of dark fantasy, paranormal romance, ghost stories, urban legends, all things Gothic and even a side of horror for those who dare. Lisa, Jorie and I will be curling up under blankets by candlelight with hot chocolate and the spookiest things on our fantasy TBRs (and watchlists!) as we celebrate the creepier end of the fantasy genre.

-as brilliantly described by Imyril

Whereas I made a bit of an attempt to explain it myself in 2019

  • follow the official social feeds via @WyrdAndWonder
  • tag us socially via #SpooktasticReads
  • visit Imyril & lisa to see what they are doing!

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For those of you who are NEW to #SpooktasticReads, this is the secondary annual event Imyril, Lisa and I co-host every year. We knew we needed a jolt of fantastical love between #WyrdAndWonder every year and it just happens we each fell in love with the concept for #SpooktasticReads – wherein we get to explore the more spookified niches of Fantasy! This is a quite a broad stroke of genres and sub-niches of Fantasy – it is definitely open to interpretation (as all our events are!) and if you’re like me – you might find yourself hankering everything from a wicked good ghost story, to a paranormal suspense novel or a PNR (Paranormal Romance) or perhaps you’d rather dive into the Cosier side of Horror? I know I have the penchant for those kinds of stories myself every blue moon (ie. FAE, Scarecrow, Corvidae to highlight a few). There are more in that collection by World Weaver Press I need to gather for my personal library, too!

Perhaps you might like to dive into #WitchyReads like I do? Or are magical schools your cuppa tea? When it comes to darker stories of Fantasy, I occasionally find myself haunted by those stories and dare to dip my toes into those realms too. I have a trilogy and a first novel of a series leftover from Wyrd And Wonder this year I’m going to begin reading this fortnight and see how far I can progress. The thematics of both series are quite the darker shade of Fantasy but with Light permeating through the storylines – which is why I was hooked and intrigued to read them!

And, then of course, there is the merger of Historical Fiction with Historical Fantasy – sometimes this cross-sects into Cosy Horror depending on the themes explored. This year, I knew I wanted to finish one of my selections I’ve had on my shelf leftover from a @SatBookChat conversation whilst I also wanted to dive into a Historical narrative about witches and the persecution of women who were the natural healers of their communities. They were misunderstood and mistreated by those who afeared the unknowns of their trade and that is a story in of its own.

There are a small handful of audiobooks I’ve been striving towards finishing the past few years as well and I am hopeful I can snatch away enough hours during #SpooktasticReads to finally release long awaited reviews for those stories. Especially as one of them in particular I LOVED listening too but never could re-attach myself into the story in such a way to pay proper homage to the character and the story I had heard with such affectionate joy. This kind happen at times – as there is another such audiobook I am re-exploring this year during #SciFiMonth which is in the same category of this one – wherein, I heard it, I loved it and yet, my review never was able to be completed in the way I had hoped it could be shared.

I might post small snapshots of what I’m reading these next few weeks – rather than focus on longer reviews – as you might have noticed my reviews have taken a bit of a backseat lately as my work life has sort of taken over my blogging hours. I’ve missed the hours I used to be able to spend reading and blogging whilst engaging with the bookish communities I enjoy online – however, I’ve been going through a new season of my life this year – and for whichever reason, I have found 2021 a far harder year than 2020. If you pull down the sidebar menus for both years, you’ll see the keen differences and how much less I’ve been active on my blog in regards to monthly averages for posts. The fact you’ve stuck by me and continue to visit my blog means a lot this year and I am hoping as Autumn and Winter start to take hold –  perhaps, I can carve out a few more hours to read as my schedule starts to find its own rhythm and offer a bit of graceful respite to soak into stories.

Mostly — my goal is to read and listen a bit to the stories each day/night and blog my progresses whilst remaining museful of what awaits me as I progress forward! Maybe I’ll entice you into seeking out one of the stories yourself, too. Wouldn’t that be grand?!

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So, what exactly is on my #SpooktasticReads TBR?

Let’s just say I took the 13x days
AND spun it into a 13x story readathon!

I won’t be revealling ALL 13x titles at once,
but you’ll find them being featured throughout the fortnight!

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#SpooktasticReads : Week One

Some of the Witchy Reads I’m returning to were previously featured

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What Jorie is currently reading:

The Shadow of the Skytree by K.J. Taylor

The Devil’s Bride by Emma S. Jackson

& Catching A Witch by Heidi Eljarbo

Blessedly, I was able to nip a bit of time out of the 19th to read a few pages or paragraphs from The Shadow of the Skytree and Catching A Witch. Of the two of them, the one I felt pulled into the story quite immediately was Catching A Witch – mostly, as I’ve been aching after reading a wickedly layered Historical narrative for most of 2021. I usually *devour!* so much Historical Fiction every year – across timescapes and countries of interest, but this past year, I’ve barely put a dent in the stories coming across my shelves – though, I thankfully found a few creative ways to discuss why those stories were of interest to me and what made me feel drawn into those stories when I first discovered them.

I’ve been wanting to read Eljarbo’s novel since it first arrived – however, as I had previously outlined in this spotlighted post for another one of her novels, the timing was horrid for me as a reader. I just never felt the timing was right to soak into the story – and of course, one main reason for that is because sometimes I find certain stories are meant to be read during certain seasons of the year. You can’t always pull that off though if you’re receiving a book for review consideration or whenever your joining a blog tour – but generally speaking, I’ve found over the years, I personally am attracted to certain genres of interest at certain seasons moreso than others. Which is one keen reason I am thankful we have #SpooktasticReads as I am definitely the kind of reader who loves spookier fiction and Cosy Crime during Autumn! There is something wicked about the crisper weather and the changing of the environs outside which bespeak to enjoying these kinds of story a bit more than if the fierceness of Summer is still in its grip of driving me bonkers! Laughs.

When you first start to read Catching A Witch you become invested inside the Prologue – wherein a very unassuming bloke has dearly injured his foot and only one person comes to nurse him back to health. She’s not the kind of woman who can be chased off by his negative attitude and she has a blessing of knowledge for natural medicine and the ways in which to starve off infection if you get to a wound fast enough. I found her presence and character quite charmingly lovely. I knew immediately I wanted to know more about her and also, to continue to pull back the pages on this novel and see where Eljarbo wants us to go with her vision of it.

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The world within The Shadow of the Skytree is quite decidedly darker than most of the Fantasy series I gravitate towards with the exception of course of the trilogy I read in recent years by Marcus Lee (see also Reviews). It is quite the grim affair – as there was a great reckoning of death and destruction at the very beginning of where this story/series Prologue transitions us to begin our path inside the story whilst it did not have as much of a glimmering of light as Catching A Witch had in the main character I felt attached to on contact. This story felt heavier somehow and of course, the weight of this world – the fate of the world itself felt even more tragic.

I had previously showcased the author K.J. Taylor during last year’s #WyrdAndWonder – you might have recalled my interview which of course gives me a bit of hope I’ll be able to attach myself into her storyline. Sometimes whenever I pick up a darker novel like this one, it takes me a bit longer to adjust inside the world and other times, of course, I find I cannot attach myself as readily as I would have hoped I could. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! 

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When it comes to reading The Devil’s Bride, I am unsure what first took me outside its story? I remember I was on track to reading it ahead of hosting Ms Jackson during @SatBookChat in March, 2020 – however, from that weekend forward? I’m a bit foggier on the details of what distracted me from the plot and the characters; except to say, I do know my parents had several visits to the ER throughout 2020 (none of them related to the pandemic) and I was emotionally and physically fatigued last year due to those visits and of course, the worry which naturally arises whenever there is a health crisis. I also remember I had five migraines in May, 2020 and eight migraines in September, 2020. Those incidents alone had a great impact on my reading life last year and of course, that could be the full of it really. I had hoped to spend 2021 revisiting the stories I had previously begun last year and had left unfinished whilst seeking new stories to appreciate finding this year as well. Somehow those two goals have become a bit muddled but I’m still hopeful I’ll finish more than a few of the stories I first began in 2020 before year’s end.

Towards that end, here is a preview of my reflections on this story from last Spring:

Jackson sets the stage early-on to delve into the paranormal components of her story – where we first observed Jamie Lorde acknowledging there were hidden spirits amongst the trees in the forest outside of Edburton Manor, we start to see how Jamie is set apart from her comrades in arms. You gathered the sense she is the truer thief amongst them – as she has stolen their confidence in her nature and in what motivates her to be amongst highwaymen. She even crafted an identity which suited her purposes but it is how she still acknowledges what they cannot see and of which only her eyes and ears are attuned to knowing all the same. It is here in the opening pages of the novel where you understand there is far more going on in the context of the story than a mere ‘ghost story’ about a rather mysterious abduction of a bride and groom.

I must admit, one of my favourite secondary characters within this story are actually the spirits themselves! They love to interact with Jamie – answering her questions even before she can voice them aloud and they take their turns of entering and exiting different scenes! Some of them seem to be continuing to ‘be’ just as they once had been and others seem to be a bit more flummoxed about their situation. All of them seem to want to impart information though – and what was a bit sombering about their presence is how sad a lot of them sounded to me. Almost as if they were resolved to their fate and had nearly given up on their own humanity or the humanity of the circumstances in which they had been caught.

Clearly I had a good handle on the plot and the direction of the story back then, however, I’ve lost traction within this story these months forward and am returning back to it now with fresh eyes. I intend to restart reading the book and pick up the threads of where I had once left off with it. Thereby seeing if my initial impressions still align with my reactions now or if perhaps, a few of those observations/opinions might have changed whilst expanding my review to reflect both my first readings of the story and my second reading during #SpooktasticReads wherein I’ll be finishing the story properly at long last.

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What Jorie is reading next:

Trans Witch by E. Chris Garrison

The Ghosts of Wonky Inn by Jeanie Wycherley

& Anni Moon: The Elemental Artifact

Trans Witch was a novel I purchased myself for this year’s #WyrdAndWonder whilst the author surprised me with an audiobook copy of it which has kept me mesmerised! I love her instincts for finding the right narrator for her stories as the same was true for Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears. You see, I’ll be re-visiting that novella and its sequel this forthcoming November during #SciFiMonth but right now during #SpooktasticReads, I dearly itch to finish Trans Witch! Mostly as was dearly attached inside the story – I was enjoying where I was venturing alongside her character and even moreso than that, I felt it was a lovely new entrance into the magical witcherly school subniche of Paranormal Fantasy mashed with Urban Fantasy. As Ms Chris already had won me over with her Urban Fantasy series: the Tipsy Fair Tales (see also Reviews). I read the finale of Tipsy Fairy Tales this past May during #WyrdAndWonder. Or you might have remembered I hosted a delightfully engaging vlog interview with her, too!

The interesting bit is that Trans Witch is set within the world of the Tipsy Fairy Tales – so in theory, if you’ve read the previous series, you’ll have a bit of an inside glimpse into this new world she’s building in this new series!! Let me share a few reactions I had from May as I started to undertake my journey into this exciting new series – as I am reading the print copy whilst listening to the audiobook:

I am finding myself loving worlds within worlds – Ms Chris has the knack for creating this effect by the veils in her Skye-Blue-universe because of how Urban her Fantasy is and how it is generally set within and behind well-known cities throughout the Midwest; in particular, Indiana. She crafts her narratives against that urban setting and then, lets the fantastical bits march into her story! It has such a classy and clever effect, because you can honestly start to muse about what it might be like to ‘be there’ because ‘there’ is actually ‘now’ in our everyday world. With just a few slight paranormally inclined ‘extras’ to give you something to shiver over! Laughs.

The first spell and enchantment we were able to see is how Penny was able to communicate with Lily. Without spoiling anything – I liked the thoughtfulness Ms Chris put into that particular exchange and how realistic it was to believe it could happen because of what Penny did to make it happen. It was one of those moments where you wish time could fully suspend itself and where you could hold onto a moment longer than what it was meant to yield. Penny gave Lily a few thoughtful clues towards why she was missing and how Lily could find her but without any specifics which I felt was necessary to ensure their mutual safety. It also gave you something to mull over yourself as Lily continued her quest to find Penny – about what was preventing Penny from returning and what could plausibly be so secretive that required this kind of spell to communicate with one’s spouse?

The library fascinated me the most. It was built to come alive in different sensory explorations for the reader and viewer alike. It was here where Lily met a rather unusual woman in charge until she realised she only wanted what was best for everyone even if getting a read on her was a bit difficult overall. It was here where we see Lily truly enchanted by the depths of the library – how fish are involved in data storage and how there is another way to ‘experience’ History than mere books alone! It was a wondrous sequence and I felt right at home as I always had an affinity for spending time in libraries myself.

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The Ghosts of Wonky Inn is the review I was mentioning earlier which has been withheld for too long. I’ve been trying to tap inside my reactions and reflections as I first had heard it – as I quite literally *devoured!* it when I first heard it – over a year or so ago now – as it arrived in my ears at a time I just needed a lovely escape back into this series and it gave me so many lovely hours of JOY I cannot even express the gratitude I have for the author sending this lovely over to me to listen too. However, since then, at different intervals of time I’ve tried to re-step through that threshold and re-listen to the story in such a way as I could blog my reactions and talk about what I loved about the story in this beautiful sequel to The Wonkiest Witch (see also Review).

The one good thing for me right now is I believe I can walk back into this audiobook with a fresh prospective and regain what I had lost previously when attempting to re-hear the story. I’ve had a lot of ups/downs this year with work as it was a steep learning curve re-adjusting to working full-time whilst I am also currently moonlighting with a second job three nights a week which might increase to four nights. To be honest, its the best time to re-examine a previously read novel as I could use the distraction and I will fully appreciate getting to spend more time with a world and character I have come to love dearly!

As a quick snapshot of what I’ve been enjoying thus far along here is an extract from my forthcoming review:

How do you help a ghost with memory loss? This is the crust of the problem Alf finds herself in the middle of throughout “The Ghosts of Wonky Inn” – for instance, how can a ghost experience loss or pain? It was a curious theory to have played out as what could influence a ghost’s experience past what they were meant to experience haunting a particular person or place? What affects the emotional health of ghosts and how can they be turnt back round to the positive?

Alf has such a kind heart – her spirit is infused with goodwill with a healthy portion of nurturing guardian – this aides her well as she navigates the role as Inn hostess and owner – for Wonky Inn has a lot of curiously needful residents both living and dead!

What was especially clever is how Wycherly chooses to describe her ghostly characters – she etches out certain attributes of their personalities and their deathly state of departure in how they are appearing now in their afterlife – my favourite by half was how she gave Florence a particularly smokey quirk of accessory!

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Anni Moon is one of those stories I thought I could have finished by now and have found myself needing a bit of extra time to progress my way inside it. I believe part of it is because despite being a Middle Grade Fantasy novel it is a bit on the darker side of the ledger when it comes to the fantastical elements threading through the narrative and of course, it is more of a Fantasy Suspense in many respects due to the nature of what is happening in the context of the story.

Let me share a glimpse into what I’ve been enjoying:

Abed draws you into reading her character, Anni Moon with a penchant for detailing the little bits of Anni Moon’s life at the Academy by giving out certain clues that would give the reader’s impression this is not a place you’d willingly want to live but rather were lucky you had a place in residence there instead of the alternative! She knits together little lessons for educational joy for children, such as how she created the name ‘Brat’ (presuming here) as a compound word sliced short for ‘bat rat’ as he is a sub-species of the two! She even found a way to make conversational speech a bit cheeky in places, such as when Brat and Anni Moon first get the chance to converse outside the Academy by the clock tower!

The rest of the story keeps this quick-step pace between action, clever dialogue, expansively descriptive narrative and an adventure lurking around the shadows where Anni Moon has to unravell a mystery!

I look forward to finding my path back inside this story and finally seeing how it turnts out in the end for these characters. It is a smartly told story but life and tides kept distracting me from finishing this and it would be keenly brilliant to finally get to the end and see where the author leaves us within this world. I felt at first this was the first of a series but at different intervals I’ve been checking on the author’s progress and I cannot find a sequel or even a second novel which would have turnt this into a duology. Perhaps there is a pause between installments or this will remain the only entry we will have to read. I’m unsure as I haven’t been seeing any updates by the author in a long time. It is such a shame too – as her artwork, and the depth she went to explaining her characters and world on her website is such a lovely gift to readers – of all ages!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@Imyril) ARTWORK by Olga Yastremska from 123RF.com.
The gorgeous artwork has been licensed for use for this event online.
You are welcome to use the banner on your posts if you are joining us, but please credit the artist!

Before you leave —

If you are participating with us this #SpooktasticReads, kindly leave me a link to your blog and posts – I’d love to see what you’ve planned to do during our lovely event. Whether your reading a specific niche of Fantasy, listening to fantastical music or binge watching films/tv series – I’d love to visit with you and see how your spending your fortnight alongside us!

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{Sources: #SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@Imyril) ARTWORK by Olga Yastremska from 123RF.com. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SpooktasticReads 2021 and the Comment Box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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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)

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


Posted Wednesday, 20 October, 2021 by jorielov in #SpooktasticReads, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, WWW Wednesdays

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