Category: BlogTalkRadio

#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!

Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Twelfth Night Readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Ahead of Christmas 2015, I received a beautifully lovely gift: a specially released anthology celebrating Speculative Fiction authors and the gift of charity. Indy Reads Books is an independent bookstore in Indianapolis, Indiana giving back to authors, readers and members of their community on a yearly basis whereas the other half of “Indy Reads” is a non-profit literacy organisation. This is a bookstore I have come to know through the authors who are behind this anthology: Mr (RJ) Sullivan, Mr (John F.) Allen and Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of whom I have had the joy of interacting with both on blog tours or outside of them for Tomorrow Comes Media and/or Seventh Star Press.

This particular book was offered to me knowing how much I love holiday stories and the beauty of having such a strong presence of Speculative stories contained in one singular anthology with the heart of the holidays a central theme running through them! I personally love reading anthologies within the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres, which in of itself felt like a good fit to read this collection. I was unexpectedly taken ill during December 2015 (my infamous thirty day flu!) and this past December, whilst I had re-scheduled this to be a part of my #ChristmasReads and #WYChristmasReadathon series of posts, I was otherwise distracted by the recovery process after my Dad’s stroke. You can read about the first twenty-four hours after his stroke (per this post) and a bit of a background on my inability to read during December (per this anchour section of a recent review). Thus, my idea of recapturing the Christmas Spirit during Twelfth Night weekend was bourne!

I received a complimentary copy of “Gifts of the Magi” direct from the author R.J. Sullivan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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#TwelfthNightReadathon & what sparked the idea:

I personally love reading holiday stories around Christmastime, however, this year, proved to be quite a unique year all the way round; starting Thanksgiving weekend. I dearly wanted to dig inside these lovely stories which are winking at me to read but with a heavy heart and a mind weighed down by anxieties attached to stroke patient’s recoveries, you could say the timing was definitively ‘off’ this year for posting anything remotely lit with the Christmas Spirit in December. I had to fight my way back into reading just to secure a passageway back into the hours I love spending inside stories and the journey of characters; as let’s face it, I had a lot on my heart and soul this year.

The blessing is being able to find my bookish joy emerged through a succession of Rom Novellas through a blog series I entitled: #MidnightChocLit (see the thread). This enabled me not only to retrieve my bookish heart but my bookish joy – the curiosity about stories and the lives of characters started to renew inside my imagination and it started me off again on solid ground. Spending this past week tucked inside an INSPY #HistRom also provided me with the hours I needed to heal my nerves and resume enjoying the hours I could spend inside a fictional world (see also Review).

Despite my progress back to my blog and back into an active reading life, there were ebbs of guilt murmuring inside my heart because more than anything I had wanted this to be a December where I could fully embrace reading stories of the season. This is when a lightbulb flashed in my mind – wait! The Christmas season isn’t fully extinguished until Twelfth Night and Twelfth Night is a celebration of the three kings! I knew I should start by reading and live tweeting my responses to Gifts of the Magi on this particular Friday, as it marks Twelfth Night officially! Ergo, all the lovely stories of Christmas Spirit across genre and literary selections could now be happily read during my own personal #TwelfthNightReadathon!

Except to say, Mother Nature had other plans in store for me – we had an epic storm arriving in the afternoon hours of Twelfth Night itself and it continued into Saturday; therefore, my tweets were quite a bit delayed – thus kicking off this readathon as a ‘weekend’ celebration; perhaps it was meant to be all along, as this is what I had put on the badge I created to celebrate the series of reviews! My readings of this anthology truly were encased during #TwelfthNight weekend, however, my reviews I wanted to feature over the weekend are running this week instead. The best part for me – is to be able to recapture stories of a season I cherish so dearly during a year where my heart was full of anxiety and now just a stone’s throw in the New Year, I can reattach the joys of soaking into stories of Yule & Christmastide!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This of course, would have remained true if my dear Maine Coon / tabby hadn’t been struck quite ill whilst I was trying to kick-off this readathon. Turns out, as a senior cat of nearly 13 years he’s developed horrid food allergies and was quite miserable; his sister-in-arms is one year his junior (my little Tux!) of whom now has ‘food intolerance’s’. Despite being earnestly hopeful to find something that would work for them (as in their kittenhood and early years of growth, they had (as did their two siblings) multiple health issues which is why Mum and I were consistently ‘on the road’ to new places to purchase high quality pet foods whilst the Vets and my fam were growing more discouraged by the hour when even the best quality you can find isn’t working for your four cats. Hence why we were advised to go with what worked for our darlings and not worry about what is working for everyone else. This worked out quite well – until now.

Turns out!? The *best!* cat food our cats need was developed by Rachael Ray! Her Nutrish line for cats (esp the Chicken and Potato dry food!) is what turnt this crazy insanity around in *one!* feeding! ONE! Our Coon / Tabby who was *always!* Alpha is now a Beta cat whose so relaxed and happy, his Tux of a sister is still trying to get used to him being less playful around her and just go with the flow. All his issues are gone as are hers, to such a degree it’s a true miracle. They used to eat only wet food, but this dry food has done so many marvels for their health (i.e. vision, fur, digestion, etc) I cannot see them returning to wet food! Their so happy right now, it’s a beautiful thing to see – ergo, I am continuing this readathon in the spirit of Twelfth Night – as a closing of the holiday season and the stories of Yule.

This is why you’ll see my tweets stopped for a short break – as everything prior to Unraveled was written by the 9th before I was able to resume and conclude my ruminations.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!Gifts of the Magi
Subtitle: A Speculative Holiday Collection
by A.D Roland, Chantal Noordeloos, Debra Holland, Herika R. Raymer, John F. Allen, Katina French, Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison), R.J. Sullivan
Source: Direct from Author

Stories for Christmas-- authors for the New Year!

Find within this magical tome 14 NEW original holiday-themed stories of fantasy, horror and science fiction by a talented group of authors--plus one holiday essay. The tales from our Magi vary from the light and satirical to the dark and serious, and we've shuffled the deck to keep you guessing.

· A time guardian may have to choose between preserving reality or destroying the man she loves.
· A snowman comes to life, but he's not a happy soul.
· Santa makes a terrible bargain in order to save Christmas.
· On Christmas Eve, a furious fairy princess attacks a double-decker bus.
· Two secret agents attend an exclusive Christmas party with an unusual price of admission.
· Soldiers in the midst of the zombie apocalypse try to find the Christmas spirit.
· A boy and his father confront an alien creature on the Longest Night.
· A mercenary packing magical pistols battles a monster while Christmas shopping for her werewolf boyfriend.
· Steampunk detectives find themselves fending off Christmas "elves."
· Humans exiled to an alternate world blend alien and human holiday traditions.
· A banished prince with a magic chicken finds a nearly drowned soldier--so says the storyteller.
· A bounty hunter searches for a rogue elf.
· A traumatized punk girl confronts the spirits from the worst night of her life.
· In a dystopian future, Christmas is outlawed.
· ...And Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Nicole Cushing reveals the holiday specials that she feels deserve "lumps of coal."

100% of all proceeds from this book benefit Indy Reads.

Indy Reads is a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteers to provide basic literacy tutoring to illiterate and semi-literate adults. Indy Reads operates a bookstore in downtown Indianapolis. Learn more at www.indyreads.org.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1502902528

Also by this author: Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Blue Spirit, Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Virtual Blue, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, Author Interview (Red Lotus, Vol.1), Commanding the Red Lotus

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction


Published by Speculative Fiction Guild

on Halloween, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 196

Published By: Speculative Fiction Guild | Facebook | @sfg2013

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SpecFict + #anthology (or #SpeculativeFiction)

About John F. Allen

John F Allen

John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of The Indiana Writers Center, began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued most forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John's debut novel, The God Killers was published in the Summer of 2013 by Seventh Star Press. He also has published short stories in several anthologies including: Thunder on the Battlefield, Vol I, also by Seventh Star Press and In The Bloodstream, by Mocha Memoirs Press.

John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, both of these series are published through Silly Hat Books. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017.

Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and it's companion series the Tipsy Fairy Tales are published by Seventh Star Press. These Urban Fantasy novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

*Biography updated: March, 2018

About R.J. Sullivan

R.J. Sullivan with his characters

R.J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second part of Fiona’s tale. The short stories in this collection have been featured in such acclaimed anthologies as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His next book due out very soon will be Commanding the Red Lotus, which collects the series of science fiction novelettes in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry.

R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #TwelfthNightReadathon
  • #WYChristmasReadathon
  • Sci Fi Experience 2017
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Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Futuristic Fantasy, Guest Author on the Chamber, Indie Author, Parapsychological Suspense, Podcast, Supernatural Fiction, Telepaths & Telepathy, The Star Chamber Show, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Blue Spirit: A Tipsy #fairytale” by E. Chris Garrison The author I happily chatted with on #blogtalkradio and cheer for on #JLASblog!

Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Blue Spirit” genre-bending fairy-tale fantasy release tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media, however, the author and I have continued our friendship since we first interacted via The Star Chamber Show (which I’ll expand on in a moment). Ms Chris asked if I would be keen on being involved in her blog tour for “Blue Spirit” after I had happily read about Skye & Minnie’s adventure in the anthology release “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court” wherein I positively expressed my joy in reading “Seelie Goose”. I was happy to be notified in time to participate as I love her quirky style of comedic fantasy!

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

On my connection to E. Chris Garrison:

I first discovered Garrison’s style of story-telling when we both appeared on the Star Chamber Show, which is a weekly podcast on BlogTalkRadio sponsored by the publisher Seventh Star Press. Since our first encounter with each other, we’ve developed a friendship I am blessed to have and I appreciate getting to know a bit more about an author whose not only developing a unique style in the world of Fantasy but is receptive to the thoughts readers have as they gain impression by reading the stories themselves.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Garrison through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. For more information, I disclosed a bit more on my first 10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts (read No.7!).

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Why I love Skye MacLeod | whilst finding her writ two different ways:

I am familiar with Garrison’s character Skye from my previous reading of Virtual Blue, however, at that particular point in time I had not realised the full scope of Skye’s character! You see, Skye was ‘lent on loan’ to Sullivan in order to create the Urban Fantasy story in which I reviewed on a previous blog tour! I remember reading about the ‘Seelie Goose’, as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story will recognise that I also hosted a Cover Reveal for Garrison and around that point in time or thereabouts I became familiar with the short story I now have happily read! For one thing, the comic brilliance of the anarchy of the fairy-tale world spun into reckless flight of an attempt to stop a wedding was most keen indeed! – quoted from my review of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Going into reading Seelie Goose was a bit unique because I had this strong impression about Skye from Virtual Blue and coincidentally, it’s that original impression that led to my further curiosity in wanting to read Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy wherein the connections continue! (especially in regards to Rebecca Burton!) You could say, two authors have bewitched me with one character whose attributes and mannerisms switch-up a bit per each writerly voice whose narrating her individual stories! It’s quite the journey for me as a reader and a happy challenge as a book blogger – as each time Skye appears in a story, she’s not quite as she was from one installment to the next! Two sides of a coin and individualistically unique!

Let’s recap the particulars, shall we? Skye was a supporting character in Virtual Blue whereas she takes the lead in Garrison’s stories; on the other hand, Garrison is borrowing Phil and Rebecca Burton for the sequel to Blue Spirit! (further tidbit: the Transit King (he’s with Skye on the bus!) was spotlighted as a cameo in Haunting Obsession!) Meanwhile, I get the pleasure of reading more of Burton myself when I pick up Whimsy! Except it doesn’t stop there – no! Skye was originally introduced in Sinking Down where Garrison found a way to merge her between the Road Ghosts + Tipsy Fairy Tale series by offering to cross-over the characters/story-lines. *whew!*

A short note from Ms Chris:

TK also appears in 3 stories in a self published Christmas anthology of speculative fiction that RJ, John F. Allen, and I put together last year called Gifts of the Magi. He’s in my own Christmas Special, RJ’s Blue Christmas, and John’s An Ivory Christmas. I guess the little fairy godfather just lends himself to stories about giving gifts! :)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Note on Cover Art Design:

This is my first cover attached to a SSP release by the works of Ms Rosario, and I must say, what I loved the most about it is the EPIC way in which the neon bits remind me of black light art designs! I love how the whole of this piece truly *pops!* on a blog post, and how in person, it translates differently altogether! I love cover art that leaves an impression inasmuch as represents characters and stories. This one brings a bit of the forest and the fairy to the center of who Skye is and why Minnie is important to her whilst giving you a bit of a whimsy touch of ‘ah so that’s why it’s tipsy’!
Biography of the Illustrator:
Anne is a self-taught Filipino visual artist specializing in both digital and traditional mediums. Her style is a unique mix of the naturalistic and the whimsical, combining the elegance of fine art with the edgy grit of contemporary Manga. She has worked as a 2D artist in the game development industry since 2006, and has recently branched into creating illustrations and exhibiting her traditional artworks in group exhibits.
The little creature hugged by the E in BLUE and SP in SPIRIT held my eye!
It’s like he’s trying to tell you something!

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Blog Book Tour | “Blue Spirit: A Tipsy #fairytale” by E. Chris Garrison The author I happily chatted with on #blogtalkradio and cheer for on #JLASblog!Blue Spirit
Subtitle: A Tipsy Fairy Tale
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she's tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships.

With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen's plot?

Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!

+ For a preview of Skye and Minnie,
be sure to scope out Jorie's review for A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781941706824

Also by this author: Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Gifts of the Magi, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition

Series: Tipsy Fairy Tale


Also in this series: Restless Spirit


Genres: Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th May 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 238

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

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

(Illustrator) Anne Rosario | Facebook | Portfolio | Tumblr | Instagram

Converse on Twitter: #TipsyFairyTaleSeries & #7thStar

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, both of these series are published through Silly Hat Books. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017.

Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and it's companion series the Tipsy Fairy Tales are published by Seventh Star Press. These Urban Fantasy novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

*Biography updated: March, 2018

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Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Dating & Humour Therein, Doctor Who, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Murdoch Mysteriers, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Singletons & Commitment, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, The Star Chamber Show, Time Shift, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vampires, Virtual Reality, Vulgarity in Literature, Werewolves

+Blog Book Tour+ The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar *Release Day!* #literary fiction

Posted Tuesday, 19 August, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins), 19 August, 2014

Available Formats:Hardback, Ebook
Page Count:336

Official Author WebsitesSite@ThrityUmrigar  | Facebook

Converse via: #ThirtyUmrigar

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Acquried Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Story Hour” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Book Synopsis:

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Uscomes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, love, and second chances.

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshmi’s plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions in Maggie’s home office, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close. Even though they seemingly have nothing in common, both women are haunted by loss and truths that they are afraid to reveal.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi’s relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.

With Thrity Umrigar’s remarkable sensitivity and singular gift for an absorbing narrative,The Story Hour explores the bonds of friendship and the margins of forgiveness.

Author Biography:Thrity Umrigar

Thrity Umrigar is the author of five other novels—The World We Found, The Weight of Heaven, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time—and the memoir First Darling of the Morning. An award-winning journalist, she has been a contributor to the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Huffington Post, among other publications. She is the winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard, the 2009 Cleveland Arts Prize, and the Seth Rosenberg Prize. A professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

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My Review of The Story Hour:

The voice of whom greets you as Chapter One opens is a woman whose English is not second nature, as she struggles a bit to fuse words to match her thoughts and emotions. Yet even in the manner of which she voices her innermost concerns, her voice has depth of awareness; of sensing her place as it is in the world and of where she is in her life. We are greeting Lakshmi at the very moment she is attempting to take her own life. Everything is planned and laid out within the opening page, except for getting to the root of what has caused her such a deeply felt psychological anguish as to effectively want to exit her life. The details of ‘why’ she is choosing what she is doing will surely come forward lateron, but in this heightened moment we are witnessing her actions without a way to decrease the tension of the moment. As she starts to move towards completing her task to remove herself from this world, her mind flickers back through memories of how unfair and unjust her situation has become whilst living in America.

We start to see how she has a torrent of psychological abuse stemming from her husband and how even the kind favour of a gift of gratitude will be interpreted with disfavour by others. She is struggling to make sense of her self-worth and her position in life now that she is no longer with her family back in India, where she even kept an elephant as a pet. Whilst her voice draws quieter through her ordeal, the next person to step into focus is her soon-to-be psychologist Maggie who is an African-American married to an Indian; her marriage is the leaverage her boss is hoping will open a door of dialogue with Lakshmi. I could understand Maggie’s instinctive reaction of disgust realising that the merits of her work ethic and capabilities as a psychologist were only second to being a woman of colour and living in a multicultural home. She tabled her own restless thoughts as she knew they were stemming out of anger ‘in the moment’ rather than out of experience with being around her boss. In this one scene, very early-on in the novel, Umrigar humbles her psychologist by allowing the reader to visually see her own flaws, misgivings, and humanistic reactions.

I felt myself distracted a bit by the pacing inside the novel, and the shifting points of time — as it was not always easily known if we were reading the present circumstances or withdrawing back into a flashback sequence of memories. What I did enjoy was seeing how the psychologist was starting to spiral a bit from the pressure of everything she had to endure internally as she listened to other people’s stories. It is rare when it is mentioned that psychologists have a weight placed on them that nearly expects them to be inhuman. To be more than they are, as they are not able to be shielded nor numb to what they listen to during their sessions. They still have to internalise the words, the horrific stories, and find some semblance of hope to share with their patients. This is a story that honours the psychologists who for whichever reason, have reached a point in their careers where carrying on as usual is not as easy as it once were.

Although Lakshmi’s voice is a strong undercurrent of the story, I nearly felt as though it was her personal plight in life and cross to bear that gave the freedom for Maggie to heal herself. Maggie was just as much in need as counsel and consolation as Lakshmi. Their paths crossed at a critical point in both of their lives, to where the sessions Lakshmi needed to talk out her life’s experiences and the emotional vaccum that had encased her past the point of wellness; gave Maggie a chance to re-examine her own difficult past. Both women share turbulance and domestic abuse to a certain extent, and both women never could be open and honest about who they each faced inside the mirror.

Yet the danger of allowing yourself to erase the distance needed to be a psychologist and effectively help your patient grow through healing is that the side effect could be devasting to your own affairs. The closer Lakshmi came to growing wings to fly on her own accord and stand on her own two feet, the closer Maggie came to watching her life spiral competely down the drain. The threads which connected them were a double-edge sword, as where on one hand a doctor is meant to heal and do no harm; the opposite is making yourself vulnerable to where the lines are too blurred to see who the patient is. The Story Hour is a domestic drama about two women from different walks of life whose path brings them into the forefront of each other’s awakening hour.

Fly in the Ointment: 

Although the randomness of the stronger words used in the novel are idly placed and randomly inclusive to the story, they are the little nettles of disappointment for me. I did not feel the words enhanced the storyline, nor the continuance of the character’s thoughts, if anything they felt like a simple way to express their emotions. I also felt a bit disconjointed from the dialogue and narrative passages, as one moment we are in the present and a second later we are in the middle of a flashback. I believe the effect was to be a continuing stream of conscienceness, but for some aspects of it, I felt muddled. As I wasn’t sure if I was still in the present, learning about the recent past, or ‘somewhere’ neither here nor there completely. There is a fair bit of crudeness as well, not as much as in crude humour but simply in crude ways of expressing certain things that the characters are attempting to reflect about themselves.

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This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

The Story Hour
by Thrity Umrigar
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by HarperCollins Publishers

on 19th August, 2015

Pages: 336

click-through to follow the blogosphere tour.TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

Earlier today, I hosted an Author Interview with Thrity Umrigar.

Previously I enjoyed the story Losing Touch by Sandra Hunter.

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See what I am hosting next:

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Comments make me smile! Let’s start a conversation! I appreciate your visit & look forward to your return! I do moderate the comment threads; do not worry if the comment is delayed in being seen! Drop back soon!

Reader Interactive Question:

What are your own thoughts about the connection between the books we read, the authors who pen them, and the unique bridge of connective thoughts which unite all of us together!?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Story Hour”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Tuesday, 19 August, 2014 by jorielov in Adulterous Affair, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Bookish Discussions, Bout of Books, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Family Drama, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hindi Words & Phrases, Library Find, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Literature of India, Medicated Against Will, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Psychiatric Facilities, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Social Services, TLC Book Tours, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Vulgarity in Literature