Category: Creative Arts

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | The final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy “Mean Spirit” by E. Chris Garrison

Posted Saturday, 29 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have remained in contact with the author through the years as I truly love reading her stories and hearing about her current projects. This particular story has a long journey towards publication and in truth, I haven’t read an installment of this series in five years (since 2016). I have waited on pins and needles to await the fate of Skye and all the characters I came to know in the series – when Ms Chris approached me about the final chapter of the trilogy was being published last year (2020) I was overjoyed as it felt like such a good time to read it. However, I hadn’t foreseen how difficult May & September would be for my chronic migraines – whilst I also found myself pulling out of reading more than I felt attached to it throughout 2020 as a whole.

I decided to push forward my review for this final novel until Wyrd And Wonder, May 2021 as I wanted to share my thoughts with the wider community of #WyrdAndWonder especially for those who might not have seen my previous reviews of her stories or participated in @SatBookChat’s conversation with her as well during #SciFiMonth, 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of “Mean Spirit” direct from the author E. Chris Garrison in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I knew I wanted to finish my readings for #WyrdAndWonder with a few select reads which would occupy my final joys of the event this Year 4. Hence why I held off reading “Mean Spirit”, “Esme’s Gift” & “Trans Witch” as I wanted my final #weekendreads for Wyrd and Wonder to be consumed by stories I knew I wouldn’t be able to put down. I had no idea at the time when I purchased “Trans Witch” it was within the Skye-Blue-universe – somehow that felt fittingly brilliant to me. And, in regards to “Esme’s Gift” – you might want to visit my review for “Esme’s Wish” to see why I am enraptured with that series as much as I am with this one.

I had to ‘let go’ of some of the stories I had planned to read this month – as I simply ran out of the hours whilst I was able to dodge a few migraines which thankfully didn’t fully take root to derail my efforts, I still took ill for a few days this last week of May to where only rest & copious amounts of herbal tea was able to reset me. Those other stories will be coming to Jorie Loves A Story during different events from June-November – however, as this is the final weekend for Wyrd And Wonder – I simply want to say how wicked happy I am to have been blessed to read the stories I could and to spend time with writers who are elevating our joys as we adventure through the wonderment & enchanting niches of genre throughout Fantasy. It is a credit to each of them for giving us a chance to see their own visions for their worlds & to entreat into the footsteps of their characters,… wherein our heart continues to expand with the experiences we can never forget taking with them.

Today, I embarked on saying ‘goodbye’ to a series I’ve felt has been a part of my journey as a book blogger only to remind myself that its never quite a final ‘goodbye’ when it comes to stories,… they are simply awaiting the next moment we re-open the door and walk through their worlds. Here’s to each of us adventuring & discovering & celebrating everything we’ve found this fourth year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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On my connection to Ms Chris (aka E. Chris Garrison):

My path first crossed with Ms Chris through a podcast sponsored by an Indie Speculative Fiction publisher which led me to hosting blog tours which celebrated her stories. 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 Ms Chris 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 reading the Tipsy Fairy Tales:

One of the best bits of all though were the classic ways in which the Zombies were a key part of the story and how un-Zombie-like they were as it wasn’t so much of a story of the undead but rather a story of manipulation, altered states of awareness and the transitional pursuits of someone whose bent on power and control but hasn’t the proper sense to realise how ill-fated that would make his destiny. Of all the stories I could have read involving Zombies, I am so wicked thankful it was one by Ms Chris!

The tipsy side of Skye’s life soon became a double-edged sword we all knew could turn on her as soon as she let her guard down to notice the implications of leading a life that was quite out of control by most people’s standards. There were consequences she was not prepared for even if she presumed they were possible, yet through it all, she kept moving forward, kept fighting and willing herself to see the endgame was worth the heartaches along the way. This story is paramount to her evolving story-line where she has to make better choices for her future whilst realising that sometimes the hasty choices made on the fly might not be the best advantage in the long-term especially if you burn more bridges than you can handle all at once. Relationships are built on trust and this is one cardinal flaw on Skye’s behalf – she never realised how much trust she had with those she needed most until the day arrived where her restless urgency to ‘do something’ good with her paratalents took away the one thing that anchoured her most in life. To see where she goes from here is going to be interesting as in many regards, she has to rebuild the way in which she manages her impulses whilst becoming the better half of whom she is meant to be.

There were quiet moments of repose to reflect on Skye’s history and on Phil’s where other characters that cross between Ms Chris and Mr Sullivan’s story arcs come into centre play and knowledge. They have a unique working relationship where they ‘borrow’ characters and each have their own unique spin on how those characters are presented. I spoke about this on my review for Blue Spirit in case you’d like a refresher. Ms Chris is one of those authors who has such a clarity about her writerly voice, she can insert ‘background’ on her characters and previous stories (or Mr Sullivan’s) without it sounding like the ‘insert previous information here’ variety of narrative. I applaud that, as sometimes I notice authors overwork the obvious or take you out of the current story to opt to fill in those who read series out of order.

I consider this series pro-positive for both LGBTQIA+ and Allies alike, as everything pertinent to this side of Skye’s life is told organically and shifts between being humourous and serious, depending on the nature of the exchange or the situation at hand. This is positive I think as it has a very realistic vibe attached to it. Skye is not afraid to speak her mind or to live her authentic truth, even if others are not as prepared to accept her on her terms, she still lives her life owning the truth she has within her and that’s something to applaud. She has her faults (who doesn’t?) but her strengths are her willingness to take-on challenges head-on and remain faithful to those she cares about whilst sorting out mysteries of the unexplained.

This is definitely an author to bookmark if your seeking #diverselit and stories of Equality where all characters are realistically written and openly honest about expressing their thoughts, views and feelings.

-quoted from my review of Restless Spirit

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | The final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy “Mean Spirit” by E. Chris GarrisonMean Spirit
Subtitle: A Tipsy Fairy Tale
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of Silly Hat Books
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Direct from Author

All her fault. How did it go so wrong?

What was supposed to be a fun, exciting convention weekend has turned terribly tragic. All Skye MacLeod had to do was look pretty in a fantasy costume and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Instead, she got cocky and took matters into her own hands. Death and destruction followed. Now Skye's burying another friend, she's broken trusts, and she isn't sure how to make things right again.

Skye's trying her best. She's quit drinking (giving up her powers in the process) and she's trying to make up for her reckless behavior and stay out of trouble, but something big is happening among the fairy Lords and Ladies of the Circle City. All the major players warn Skye to stay away. So why does she find herself swept up in the middle of things anyway? How will she regain her honor and the trust of the people around her when every choice before her seems wrong?

The exciting conclusion to the Tipsy Fairy Tales Trilogy.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Stories of the FAE, Urban Fantasy, Genre-bender



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1953763228

Series: Tipsy Fairy Tale


Published by Silly Hat Books

on 4th August, 2020

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 234

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The Tipsy Fairy Tale Trilogy:

Blue Spirit by E. Chris GarrisonRestless Spirit by E. Chris GarrisonMean Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

Blue Spirit (book one) | see also Review

Restless Spirit (book two) | see also Review

Mean Spirit (book three)

(*) previously these were published elsewhere but all titles
by this author in all formats are published by Silly Hat Books

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Converse on Twitter: #TipsyFairyTaleSeries & #SillyHatBooks

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 29 May, 2021 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Silly Hat Books, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Time Shift, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Zombies

#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)

Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I’ve been blessed by meeting authors via #bookishTwitter for five years now. I love the #writingcommunity in the twitterverse as the writers who are publishing and/or of whom like me are still on their publishing journey are approachable, relatable and keenly conversational which is wicked brill. When my path crossed with this lovely author what truly humbled my heart and gave me such a lift of joy is the fact she was able to send me an ARC of her novel in printed form. She understood why I couldn’t read an ecopy of the novel and I am the proud owner of a spiral bound ARC!

I received a complimentary spiral bound ARC copy of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” direct from the author Estella Mirai in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly excited about reading this re-telling of ‘Phantom of the Opera’:

You might remember, last year I read “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb which was her self-published re-telling of the same story. She was also who chose to self-publish her novel in lieu of seeking (or being able to seek) traditional publication for her story. It is rather unique I think, a year later I am celebrating the discovery of a second novel based on this Classical story which had to take an Indie route to reach reader’s hands!

I’ve truly have had a love affair with the music of ‘Phantom’ ever since I was a young girl – I grew up with an appreciation of the arts at a very young age. My parents encouraged me to seek out theatre, symphonies and listen to orchestrations via vinyl records at home. I also was actively engaged with programming on PBS as much as I loved the local arts community in my metropolis – not just limited to musical routes of enjoyment but also fine art and other exhibits or old world arts & crafts fairs/festivals. In essence, I was surrounded by the arts across mediums of influence whilst I was musically introduced to such a hearty variety of sounds & soundscapes, it turnt me into a lifelong appreciator of musical compositions.

I loved Classical compositions as much as Contemporary – however, I had a special place in my heart for sound for motion picture and the Broadway Musical scores and soundtracks. There was something rather intimate about Original Cast Recordings when it comes to a Musical – you can feel the intensity of the performance and you can paint the scenes alive in your mind as soon as you hear the music begin. Which is what I was trying to capture last year when I mentioned this ahead of sharing my review of “The Phantom’s Apprentice”:

The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.

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I also went on to mention how long I’ve been connected to ‘Phantom’:

I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.

I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.

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In effect, this is a story which is simply a ‘part of me’ and it was an honour to have the chance to see this story & its characters re-imagined into an m/m romantic arc set in Tokyo, Japan. For those who read and visit my blog regularly, you already know of my admiration on behalf of Susan Spann’s Hiro Hattori novels – though set in 16th Century Japan, the point here is the fact I love visiting the country in fiction. In the past, I had several friends who lived in different parts of Japan inasmuch of the fact one of my favourite Winter Olympics were the Nagano Games. My grandparents helped encourage my fascination & love of Japan as they themselves loves the country, through their art (sculpture) and musicians especially.

In essence, it feels like ‘coming home’ whenever I consider reading a story set in Japan – it is a beautifully lovely country full of Mystic roots, humbling traditions and a wonderful cultural heritage.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)The Stars May Rise and Fall
by Estella Mirai
Source: Direct from Author

Teru came to Tokyo with dreams of making it big in the glam-metal visual kei scene, but three years later, all he has to show for it is a head of hot pink hair and some skill with an eyeliner pencil. He may look the part, but he doesn’t sound it, and constant bickering among his bandmates has him worried about his future. When he finds a mysterious business card in his bag, he’s willing to take any help he can get.

Help comes in the form of Rei, a crippled, disfigured composer whose own career was ended by an accident before it had really begun. With Teru’s voice and looks, and Rei’s money and songwriting skills, both of their dreams seem about to come true – but a forbidden kiss and a late-night confession threaten to tear it all apart. Now Teru, who has spent most of his life denying his attraction to men, and Rei, who vowed long ago never to love again, must reconcile their feelings with their careers – and with their carefully constructed ideas of themselves.

THE STARS MAY RISE AND FALL is an M/M retelling of Phantom of the Opera, set in Tokyo at the turn of the millennium. It comes with a healthy dose of angst and a dollop of nostalgia, as well as an age-difference romance, a physically disabled love interest, and memorable characters who will stay with you long after the pages are closed.

Genres: After Canons, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Japanese Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Romance Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781684547715

Setting: Toyko, Japan


Published by Self Published

on 11th December, 2018

Format: Spiral Bound ARC

Pages: 309

Self Published Author

This is a Digital First Release – other formats will be forthcoming such as print

Converse via: #PhantomOfTheOpera retell, #LGBTQ, #Contemporary Romance

About Estella Mirai

Estella Mirai lives just outside of Tokyo with her human family and a very spoiled lap cat. When she isn’t reading or writing, she works in editing and translation—which means that 99% percent of her day is usually words. In her minimal free time, she enjoys watching musicals, cooking (badly), and slaughtering power ballads at karaoke.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Composer, Creative Arts, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Horror-Lite, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Japan, Jorie Loves A Story Features, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Ecstasy” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel about Alma Mahler:

This particular author has a special connection to Jorie Loves A Story – especially in regards to milestones and memories! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger, I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

From that foundation, I started to seek out traditional biographies and memoirs, under the new vein of interest called ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ where the stories are threaded through an emotional contextual core of narrative. For you see, if I hadn’t first read Illuminations all the lovelies I’ve been discovering since might not have alighted in my hands to read. Mary Sharratt truly opened my mind and eyes to how a story could be told whilst peering back into the historical past through a living history of a person who once lived. Her style of the craft is quite acutely realistic for the time periods she’s exploring; she has a conviction of setting with a lifeblood of drawing characters out of the wells of history to give us a resounding portrait of ‘who once lived’ can live once again in our own imaginations.

Whilst during my 3rd Year as a Book Blogger, I had the joy of discovering her prose within The Dark Lady’s Mask (see also Review) and now, as a newly minted 5th Year Book Blogger – I am embarking into my third reading of her collective works with Ecstasy! There is something quite special about the way in which Ms Sharratt approaches her subjects and characters – as I had this to say whilst encountering my last stay inside one of her stories:

I knew I would find the narrative an eloquent historical tome of insight on behalf of what I know of Sharratt’s writings; she fuses so much in such a short expanse of the story, you fully live within their pages. Her narrative has a way of not just transporting you back into the 16th Century but allowing you a bit of grace to flex your mind around what living in the 16th Century would be like from a sensory perception of insight. She taunts what you presume to be true with what is known about the century, giving you much more of a grounded respite than a flowery historical. This felt authentic to the era but also, to how the world would have been viewed during the different stages of Aemilia’s life.

I was caught up in the current of how fluid Ms Sharratt composed this novel and how she worked the story-line through the mind of a poetess. She truly championed the will of a poet and of a creative seeking to find their own way to express their creativity whilst proving that finding one’s way in life isn’t as easily to understand. Ms Sharratt will remain a favourite of mine to read, if only to see how her own mind fashions itself around thought, theory, inspiration and the fragility of where history and time become entwined as one. I will definitely savour the time I spend within The Dark Lady’s Mask the second time I read it, as it is not one you wish to put down in haste!

Only within the chapters of Illuminations did I find myself most akin to reading a different lifestyle than one I could personally relate too. As the elements of The Dark Lady’s Mask had such wonderful overtures of recognition from my favourite Bard, I felt there were portions of the narrative I had a pre-cursory understanding of – as I stepped inside Ecstasy, it was an easier transition by half, as any creative economist who picks up this novel will self-identity with Alma’s strong desire and need to fulfill not only her creative muses but to strike out on her own to develop her creative identity.

As such, this is one text where I found myself attempting to find the right words to articulate my reactions as I found the context of the story to be illuminatingly stimulating in it’s own right to parlay a multitude of thoughts about it’s inner theme, the heart of it’s message and the purpose we all seek as self-directed artists seeking our true selves and the rightful path we must walk in order to embrace the artistry within us which has not yet been revealled. These are the kinds of ruminative thoughts I am appreciative of being challenged to convey – as the writers who write these kinds of stories are digging into something dimensionally deeper than what might first be seen on the surface of their characters’ lives.

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Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.Esctasy
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780544800892

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, The Dark Lady's Mask

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 10th April, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 387

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #EcstasyBlogTour, #AlmaMahler + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes: strong women who break all the rules.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Alma Mahler, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, Classical Music | Composers, Composer, Creative Arts, Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction