#SpooktasticReads | Year V : A 13-day celebration of the spookier side of Fantasy!

Posted Wednesday, 19 October, 2022 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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Welcome, Welcome to #SpooktasticReads Year V

Happily visit my lovely co-hosts:

Lisa @ Dear Geek Place

+ Imyril @ There’s Always Room for One More

+ Annemieke @ A Dance With Books

+ Ariana @ The Book Nook

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A bit of back-history on SPOOKTASTIC READS:

In Autumn [2017], I conceived of this idea to re-start my readings into the spooktacular worlds of chilling Thrillers, Suspense, Mysteries and the Paranormal (with just a dash of love for Cosy Horror!) – wherein I conceived of spending a fortnight reading such lovelies and enjoying a personal readathon leading into Halloween! I fell a bit short of my goals in [2017], even though I took it as a success – as not only did I read some rather spookified tales but I found myself wholly intrigued by the stories I was selecting to read!

By [2018] whilst helping develop and co-host @WyrdAndWonder, I put forth the idea to name our first mini-event for #WyrdAndWonder – wherein I was hoping to let this small idea I had in [2017] take flight, reach a bigger audience and find readers who might find their own definition of #SpooktasticReads befitting their own readerly life! Which of course meant – re-defining it to include what it celebrates now as a mainstay: Cosy Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Witchy Reads, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy and even Gothic Romance or other such tales. I still have the tendency to read Cosy Crime, Suspense and Thrillers throughout Autumn and into Winter as well.

Some of the stories of course play the theme up quite a bit for the spookier side of the genres, some of which may or may not directly (or indirectly) relate to Fantasy per se but this is one of those readathons which is open to both interpretation and the joy of having free reign to enjoy the readathon in a way each reader wants to approach it. The truer beauty of Wyrd And Wonder and SpooktasticReads is the ability for each participant to find their own readerly path and find what gives them JOY to celebrate the events we’re hosting through social and the book blogosphere.

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As I recently announced via #TheSundayPost, my family and I have been adjusting to the passing of our beloved cat and the after effect that has had on our Tuxedo who is missing him greatly herself. I received a lot of support in the twitterverse over the last few days and I am thankful for those messages of comfort, sympathy and encouragement. That particular blog post was very difficult to compose and to share — just knowing someone read it and understood what I was trying to convey on this side of that kind of loss was a blessing. It is also why I decided to scale back and alter my plans for #SpooktasticReads this year – notwithstanding the fact that similar to last year (2021) I learnt a hard lesson in balancing two full-time jobs (one by day, one by night) that sometimes what you seek out to accomplish has to befit the hours you have to give the goals.

Our Instagram challenge is back for #SpooktasticReads and today we kicked it off with a group participation post featuring our TBRs. I had the delightful joy in being able to connect with two authors to ask them if I could share their beautiful audiobook covers on my graphic for the TBR prompt and hopefully perhaps seeing them on my graphic might inspire a new reader or listener to gravitate towards their stories. Both authors are writing the kind of Paranormal Fantasy & Witchy Reads I’ve come to LOVE and of which I have been blogging my journey within their respective series here on Jorie Loves A Story.

I’m approaching this #SpooktasticReads a bit differently than I have in the past – I curated a list on both my Scribd and Audible accounts – to where all the spookified stories are under a special list for our lovely event. It makes it a heap easier to locate them (why I think of these things five years on is a wonderment!) and as some of them are shorter listens, you might see some of those pepper into my planned reads for the event. I had a lot of plans shifting past #WyrdAndWonder into #SpooktasticReads but my heart isn’t exactly into pursuing all of them now. I still feel I can get overwhelmed a bit too quickly right now and therefore, to curb that anxiety which I have enough to last me for a long while, I felt it best to plan a few reads which I felt would suit my readerly interests right now and not overly commit to reading more than I feel is realistic for where I am right now as a reader.

Some of the stories were darker reads, too. I’m not sure if I can handle them now and might push those forward into Year 6 of Wyrd And Wonder instead. I’ve had my fill of emotion lately and I’d rather focus on stories and narrators right now who give me a light of joy to listen too. Some stories are in print but mostly this Spooktastic Reads I’m spinning into queue audiobooks — allowing the grace of a narrator to take me into uncharted territories of Fantasy which have a spookier feel and a definitively paranormal and elemental vibe to them!

Now, let’s get to it, shall we?!

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What Jorie is currently reading:

Dead as a Dodo by Jeannie WycherleyStar of Sage and Scream by Leanne LeedsSilver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood

→ My first #SpooktasticReads selection:
Dead as a Dodo (Wonderland Detective Agency, Book One)
by Jeannie Wycherley (*audiobook)
*the author behind my beloved Wonky Inn series : (see also Reviews)

→ My second #SpooktasticReads selection:
Star of Sage & Scream (Owl Star Witch series, Book One) by Leanne Leeds (*audiobook)
(*by the author of Magical Midway series) : (see also Reviews)

→ Re-reading “Silver Holllow” by Jennifer Silverwood

I first started listening to Dead as a Dodo during #SelfPubFanMonth which was in September – an event I was stoked to join and one I never fully understood this year as the girl behind the helm of it was missing from hosting duties. I always hoped things were okay with her but I never learnt what became of the event and sadly, I went my own way with it in the end. After two migraines and a heap of stress at the end of the month, I had to curb my readerly interests until October. I knew this particular story was a bit darker in places than my beloved Wonky Inn stories as the author forewarned me about this being that it delves into the background of Wonderland but that just encouraged me more because I have come to trust her instincts for how she sets the stage for both her characters and her stories.

As soon as I dipped my toes into listening to Dead as a Dodo I was properly hooked! This is a different narrator (Joanna Lee) from Bretton’s Alf in Wonky Inn and Lee suits this series as much as Bretton suits Wonky! The voice behind the curtain of the story is evocatively inviting and I LOVE how she’s presenting this world to us. This is also why I dearly find myself attached to listening to audiobooks – the transformation of the voice in my ears into a living moving portrait of a story which you can step inside as readily as the imagery of the story settles into your imagination. It is a different experience from reading a book in print and it is a huge bit of JOY for me as a reader to take that kind journey.

I’ve only listened to a few bits of Star of Sage and Scream as I was intending to listen to Dead as a Dodo first and then shift into this Owl Star Witch series. This was a complete surprise from the author and it has a different environment than the one I was familiar with as I read the Magical Midway series. All her series interconnect in some capacity and are an extension of Magical Midway, however, the narrator does this character and series justice in how she gives you a new interest in finding out more about this universe and world Leeds is creating for us to explore. I can’t wait to continue my journey inside this series which is now four audiobook adaptations strong!

When it comes to Silver Hollow, I feel as if I’ve failed as a reader as I was trying to re-read this lovely during Wyrd And Wonder and then, as those hours in May faded into June, I re-attempted to align myself into that world and setting throughout Summer until I realised all was futile to continue pursuing it at that time. I just couldn’t get myself to connect and feel anchoured into it again. Which is dearly hard on me as I want to read the sequel Blackbriar Cove. I decided to read it concurrently these next 13 days alongside my other reads and to take the slower route back into its folds. I want to drink in the beauty of what I found inside it originally and to see it anew as I continue forward into the series with Blackbriar Cove.

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What Jorie recently read &/or finished reading:

Viking Quest by Edale LaneThe Living Waters by Dan Fitzgerald

The Secret at Sunset Hill by K.T. McGivensThe Myrtle Wand by Margaret Porter

→ My first & only #SelfPubFanMonth selection:
Viking Quest by Edale Lane
(*by an author I love reading) : (see also Reviews)

→ My first #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday selection:
The Living Waters by Dan Fitzgerald (*re-read & continuation) : (see also Post)

→ My latest #CrimeFicFridays selection:
The Secret at Sunset Hill by K.T. McGivens

→ My #25PagePreview of The Myrtle Wand by Margaret Porter

I saw September going much differently in regards to my reading life — however, this is a reflection of what I was able to hold onto and what I was able to accomplish despite facing migraines and adverse life moments. I was THANKFUL to read two works of Fantasy – one Historical Fantasy by a beloved author (ie. Edale Lane) and one immersive Portal Fantasy by Fitzgerald. At the same time, I was able to shift into a Cosy Mystery which I’ve been dearly aching to read for more than a year and it was just high time to settle into it!

Viking Quest was the first time I was able to find footing inside a novel about women who live and die by their sword whilst fighting for the freedom to live within the power structures of their world. There is so much to unpack about this novel – Lane truly gave a well-rounded and grounded enveloping of what was happening politically in this Historical Fantasy world but also, she tucked us close to the emotional heart of her lead character wherein we felt as if we were living those hours alongside her with the same goals in mind. To etch out the truth and find a way to champion against those who wished to afflict both harm and malice against you, your family and your constituents.

At the same, she gave us a fantastical pause in the middle of it all – where trolls were introduced in such a charmingly cosy way and I was smitten by their scene and sequencing. It was a nice respite given the weight of the rest of the novel. It was also a good glimpse into the lore and myth of Vikings against a backdrop which showcased both sides of the Vikings themselves. The ones we are infamously aware of and the ones who might not have become as ironed out by History and took a quieter presence in the background. Overall, it was a very compellingly brilliant read and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a story which pricks your heart with emotional punch and gives you a wicked good story to pursue.

Whereas when it came to soaking into The Living Waters, I wasn’t sure what I would find inside the story as I had originally spotlighted a #25PagePreview of it late last year. I had some hurdles to overcome reading the story this time round – as there were a few instances within the context of the story which weren’t entirely my cuppa and as you read through my review of The Living Waters you’ll be able to see which elements of the story were enjoyable for me and which ones might not have been my favourite as well. I will say this on behalf of Fitzgerald’s world-building – he took his time to develop the world behind his characters’ lives to the extent that this felt fully realised and charted. You could stretch your eyes into his vision and see what he ink out of this world. There were a lot of hidden layers to uncover as well – from the differences in classes and the different effects of the politics of this world too. Similar to Lane, Fitzgerald focuses on presenting a very well-envisioned hierarchy of politico interest into the backbone of his story.

Cosy Mysteries are just pure LOVE for me. You know going into them you’re going to have a gentle read ahead of you (for the most part, sometimes Cosy Historical Mysteries I read push that envelope a bit towards hard-boiled) and an encouraging voice of presence in the lead character. McGivens didn’t disappoint me — her series looks into the life of a young reporter who is trying to etch out her own path in journalism which we all know was fully dominated by men for generations. She has inherently strong moxie and a fortitude of self and spirit to carry her through her journey which I found refreshingly brilliant, too.

If you grew up on novels featuring heroines like Nancy Drew or Miss Marple, you’d might surprise yourself to find yourself turning towards McGiven’s series for a gently told new Cosy series which will entertain you and touch your heart in equal measure. She has an emotional centre core for her lead character which touches on the aftereffects of war and handles that beautifully alongside the central arc of the mystery itself.

September for a lot of reasons became a bit of a wash-out when it came to planned reviews and/or blog tours – as I had to push those reviews and features forward. However, I was able to hold onto featuring The Myrtle Wand by writing a #25PagePreview for the blog tour. Porter is writing about such an insular and isolated world inside a cloistered convent wherein the sisters teach their students about life, education and of course, the Catholic faith even if that pursuit isn’t of import to all of the girls’ as much as they hope it would be. It is set in a time and generation where reputation and etiquette is paramount to a young girls’ life and as soon as I started reading it I was feeling some origins of Jane Eyre vibes. Mostly because of how the girls’ themselves nearly have to self-grow themselves through adolescence or childhood whilst being monitored by the nuns. They have a lot of hours left unto themselves and given their setting of education, they turn to each other for strength and guidance, too.

This is an adaptative re-telling of the Classical ballet of Giselle and that is what interested me most about it as I love reading adaptations of Classical Literature and/or other stories which can become re-told through a new lens of expansion. I didn’t know anything about the original story (and still don’t) which I think is partially helpful for exploring this novel because I’m going into it as a new reader of the ballet itself and finding my own way within Porter’s vision.

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What Jorie is reading next:

Catching A Witch by Heidi EljarboThe Ink of Elspet by J.D. PeabodyAin't Nothing but a Pound Dog by Jeannie Wycherley

→ My third #SpooktasticReads selection:
Catching A Witch by Heidi Eljarbo (which I started during #WyrdAndWonder)

→ My fourth #SpooktasticReads selection:
The Ink of Elspet (The Inkwell Chronicles, Book One)
by J.D. Peabody

→ My fifth #SpooktasticReads selection:
Ain’t Nothing but a Pound Dog (Spellbound Hound Magic & Mystery, Book One)
by Jeannie Wycherley (*audiobook)

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I started reading Catching A Witch during Wyrd And Wonder this past May but I wasn’t able to finish reading it sadly. It is a very convicting Historical novel which touches on the concepts of witchcraft and people’s impressions of what witchcraft involves – I personally feel it is also a treaty of interest about how naturopathic and homeopathic medicines or the artful pursuit of apothecary disciplines were misconstrued by ignorant minds and allowed people to consider those persons to be witches when in reality they were curating natural medicine and tinctures. It is an emotional read but a compelling on as well. I look forward to re-stepping back into this narrative and seeing if I can get further along with my readings therein this Spooktastic Reads.

I unexpectedly had the chance to receive a copy of The Ink of Elspet for review consideration and I knew the plot within this one about magical ink would suit me well! As previously I disclosed my joys of reading Dalya and the Magic Ink Bottle. I have a special focus of JOY when it comes to reading Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy – a keen interest I share with one of my fellow co-hosts Annemieke. If you love these kinds of stories, look through both our blog archives as we each are chasing after these reads on the regular!

As I’m focusing more on audioreads this Spooktastic Reads, I wanted a few stories in print to read as well and The Ink of Elspet felt like it arrived in my life at just the right time. I was considering reading it ahead of our event in September as a preview of stories I’d read for the event but as life unfolded as it did it turnt out I was meant to read it now rather than last month. I don’t know too much about it either as I wanted to be dearly surprised as soon as I opened the book. I’d be keen to know if anyone else is picking up this lovely and what their thoughts are about it, too.

Ain’t Nothing but a Pound Dog has lingered too long on my audiobook backlogue shelf! I have been keenly curious about this story and the series it is attached too and yet, each year, I find myself further away from listening to it! Wells, no more! This Spooktastic Reads is the year I am drinking in the story and seeing what I find therein! The author has recently released another installment of this series and yes, it is by the same author of both Wonky Inn and the Wonderland Detective Agency! Isn’t that grand!? She’s bookending my reads this #SpooktasticReads and I couldn’t be happier!

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Which stories do you like to reside inside during those hours of the year when you want something with a bit of bite to it in your Fiction? Do you find yourself moving into Mysteries, Suspenseful Thrillers or Paranormal & Gothic stylised stories when the weather turns a bit cooler outside and Summer melts closer into Winter? What do you love most about chilling reads and atmospherically appeasing tales which give you a bit of edgy unease? When it comes to #DarkFantasy – which authors excite you!?

Of the list of stories I’m progressing through myself – what interests you?

Meanwhile, if you’re a book bloggers or reader and would like to join us, please link to your blog, Twitter, LibraryThing List or other ‘space’ online where you are updating about what your reading – such as Instagram or Vlog (YouTube) or Booktok (TikTok) in the Comments section below!

Use the tag: #SpooktasticReads & link back to this post – as I will happily be sharing what you’re doing for this lovely #WyrdAndWonder mini-event! Plus, I love hearing what others are reading in case something they discover would be a good fit for me as well!

I am mostly looking forward to 13 days of distracting myself from recent sorrow and grief and picking up the pieces of my readerly life. My Tuxedo is still healing herself and still has bouts of anxiety, panic attacks and depression to work through and listening to audiobooks will be a nice reprieve for me all round. I will be monitoring the feeds for @WyrdAndWonder on both Insta and Twitter for those who are joining us this year on those platforms. Be sure to tag us directly or I will be seeking out posts on our tags for the event to find and share with others as well. You can also tag me directly on Twitter if you’d prefer or if you feel I might have missed your first tweet, too.

Happy #SpooktasticReads everyone and I can’t wait to see who is joining us

and what your plans are for the next 13 days as we chase after Halloween together!

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This announcement for #SpooktasticReads is part of my continuing series of posts for #WWWWednesdays wherein I am attempting to remain accountable for the stories I am reading and the stories I have read – with a few mishaps over the past weeks since I returnt to blogging these kinds of posts in August, I feel I am able to continue with them moving forward until the end of the year. I appreciate joining the meme community as I found this particular one as well as #TheSundayPost have become two of the mainstays I’ve enjoyed joining over the years.

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#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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{SOURCES: Cover art for “Dead as a Dodo”, “Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn” and “Ain’t Nothing but a Pound Dog” were provided by the author Jeannie Wycherley and are used with permission. Cover art for “Star of Sage and Scream” was provided by the author Leanne Leeds and is used with permission. Cover art for “Silver Hollow” was provided by the author Jennifer Silverwood and is used with permission. Cover art for “Viking Quest” was provided by the author Edale Lane and is used with permission. Cover art for “The Living Waters” was provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission. Cover art for “The Secret at Sunset Hill” was provided by the author K.T. McGivens and is used with permission. Cover art for “The Mytle Wand” and “Catching A Witch” was provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and is used with permission. Cover art for “The Ink of Elspet” was provided by FaithWords on behalf of WorthyKids (imprints of Hachette Books) and is used with permission. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SpooktasticReads 2022 banner, #SpooktasticReads badge, #WWWWednesdays badge and the Comment Box Banner.}

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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, 19 October, 2022 by jorielov in Bookish Discussions, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Parapsychological Gifts, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense

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