Category: Folklore and Mythology

+Blog Book Tour+ The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Posted Wednesday, 6 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 8 Comments

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The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
5 August, 2014 (reprint – paperback edition)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Author Websites: Site | @yangszechoo  | Facebook
Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback, Ebook Page Count: 384

Converse via: #TheGhostBride

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Acquired Book By:

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

The reason I wanted to be on the tour:

I am always amazed at the journey we take as readers towards reading a particular book or becoming entranced by the words an author leaves behind for us to find. We (here refers to the collectively diverse readership of the world) all strive towards reading books when that leap of ignited joy and mirth of the discovery catalysts inside our mind and jumps out through our excited speech whilst we’re sharing the bits and bobbles of what we’ve just been blessed to discover with another bookish soul. Those wickedly delightful moments where you stumble across quite an extraordinary story during a more than ordinary hour of your life, and within that moment, you’re on the precipice of taking a journey to a place quite different from where you live and occupy your own murmurings on life; a place that will feel as though it bewitched you as it spoke to you to be read, to be devoured, and consumed.

When I first started reading a heap of recollections and ruminations on behalf of The Ghost Bride during the Autumn on 2013, I was a very new book blogger growing my wings and entering into the book blogosphere myself. I was sorting things out as I went along, and getting my feet wet with blog tours, reviewing books in a style that felt right for me, and gaining a bit of ground within the network of book bloggers in general who are as diverse as the four winds. I appreciate the fact that each of us who blogs about our reading lives takes on a different angle of insight as we read and review the books we want to share with the dear hearts who find us. It was during this particular exploration I came across a review where the blogger had not found the story was able to resonate with her but she had hoped others who appreciated everything that she felt did not work for her might work for someone else instead. Coincidently, I attempted to re-find the book blogger and my own comments therein, but it is lost out in the blogosphere at this point in time. She encouraged me in a way that other reviewers and bloggers hadn’t at that time to seek out the novel. I knew after reading her thoughts I could soak into The Ghost Bride.

I had not thought much about this at the time, but over the course of months since I have found that to read a negative or neutral review is quite an extraordinary thing; especially if you were like me, and took out such a positive take-away! I mused about that for a moment, and thought, but isn’t that why we blog?! Isn’t that why we read book blogs? To garnish a wider net of opinion, commentary, and muse filled thoughts of the readers behind the blogs themselves? To help us better articulate an idea of which novel might whet our palette of interest and encourage our own spirit to read the works of an author we’ve not yet become acquainted with?

In September of 2013, I also had the joy of contacting the author whilst she was hosting a bookaway through Shelf Awareness; I did not win the book, as my reply was received after the book was given away, however, these were my original thoughts on why the book captivated me in such a keen way:

Whilst I was participating in a bookish community event [Bout of Books], I was led to a variety of lovely blogs, whereupon I stumbled across a review of this book! Ironically, the reader wasn’t as enlightened by it as I would be, as they were not a keen fan of literary fiction, but its that review that earmarked this book in my mind to read! :) Isn’t that interesting!? It simply proves that there are as many diverse readers as there are books!!

Ever since then, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to make sure to see if my local library is going to be getting a copy of this lovely book, as I am a proud supporter of libraries!! I do love to buy books as much as the next person, but only when budget affords! What I wanted to say about your lovely book, is how heart-wretching and heart-aching the story sounds from afar! Talk about a character who has to undertake a journey that is not quite easy to understand, much less explain! I have watched documentaries on tv that showcase different traditions, not only for marriage but for a person’s life, as one draws to mind where in one country they select young girls who have the essence of the reincarnated deity and that that girl must live in confinement without the ability to communicate or speak, until she’s around 16!! She ‘ages out’ of the life, and is allowed to resume living, only to find that the available men are afraid that if they are with her in life and marriage that she would be a curse not a blessing! I wish I could draw to mind the exact details of the country & of this ritual, you’ll have to forgive me on this short-coming! However, the reason I drew it to mind, is because your character Li Lan is being placed into a situation that she didn’t choose and yet its a situation which custom and tradition demands!

Ms. Choo kindly replied back to me, and helped me remember that the documentary I had watched was about the “living goddesses” of Nepal! I am not certain why I had not had the proper chance to borrow this book from my local library, but as I have oft mentioned before, there are moments where we are meant to read certain books, and perhaps the time in which I was meant to read The Ghost Bride simply had not yet arrived! I am always very mindful of how coincidental certain moments are in life have turnt out to be quite serendipitous instead. It all depends on your perception of how life unfolds along your path.

Today is my blog’s official 1st birthday and it is an honour that I am celebrating it with a novel that quite bewitched me whilst it originally toured the book blogosphere! Today let’s celebrate the diversity of readers and the joy of selecting books that challenge us and dare us to always be willing to step outside our comfort zones and engage inside a narrative that is wholly different from our own cultural background yet grounded in a connective thread we can all relate too.

*a blog birthday is the day in which a blog goes live to the public whereas a blogoversary is the celebration of the day you created your blog 

Note: The curious bit for me is that I travelled through the original blog book tour for “The Ghost Bride” last year (also hosted by TLC Book Tours), within the first months I was a book blogger with a newly launched blog! To look back on my reflections of wanting to read the novel whilst visiting other book bloggers who were reviewing it and now, a full year forward to where I have the opportunity to read the novel myself and post my own ruminations on my own book blog is quite wicked karma! I have felt as though I have travelled with the book before it reached my own heart and hands to read!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Synopsis:

Yangsze Choo

A wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists

Malaya, 1893 Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt Chinese family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives a proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, ghost marriages are often meant to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a comfortable home for the rest of her days, but at what cost?

As she reluctantly considers the offer, Li Lan is unwillingly drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities and vengeful spirits. There Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

Author Biography:

Yangsze Choo is a fourth-generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. She lives in California with her husband and their two children, and loves to eat and read (often at the same time).

The author had the honour of being selected to read her novel aloud for the audiobook version of The Ghost Bride, and after listening to Chapter 1, I can see why they selected her as she has a captivating speaking voice which brings the words off the page to life in such a lovely manner! Click to read the full story on her blog!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Yangsze Choo’s Introduction to “The Ghost Bride” via Yangsze Choo

Inspired to Share: I am always fascinated by the back-story revelations of an author’s work, as to me, to hear about the process of their inspiration towards writing a novel quite literally heightens the joy for me as a reader. I realise there are other readers who would disagree with me on that score, but I have always found something quite remarkable in how stories are written and the methodology of each writer who chooses to pen a story to give back to the world in the form of a book. I was struck by the joy of how a bit of knowledge and research into one particular vein of thought led Ms. Choo to not only expand on a seedling of an idea but gave it such a measure of a breath to illuminate it fully by the scope she took the story!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An Eastern Ghost Story and how it differs from the West:

The first main difference I found is an Eastern Ghost story is rooted within the relationship and interpersonal connection to the dead rather than focusing on the psychological thrill of having a ghost crossing into your lifepath. Western stories tend to focus on the shock and intensity of finding an ethereal presence in your life, an interruption of your hours, and a mindful sea of curious unknown questions and ramifications that are difficult to process and work through. There tends to be a lot of factors pulling the ties together for a Western ghost story, which parellel the leftover work of the deceased and a willingly earnest desire to see the work completed by a second or third party who was not particularly connected to the events or the deceased in life. From what I am gathering in The Ghost Bride the main concern is not unfinished business but rather a continuance of a life cut short of being lived. A way of progressing the life of the deceased to a fulfilling present; merely without their flesh and bone presence.

Elements of the story had me thinking back to my love of the South American and Latin American cultural celebration known as Day of the Dead in which family surround their loved ones’ graves and celebrate the life they lived whilst they were alive. It is a ritual influenced celebration and joyous one at that! Traditionally this has been a holiday centered around Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) and All Saint’s Day (All Soul’s Day) in Mexico, and there lies the connection for me, as I was able to explore my love of the cultural heritage of Mexico whilst I travelled there as a teen. My furlough was in Summer, not Autumn, which was the only disappointment in regards to not seeing the festivities live in person.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Ghost Bride: Western vs Chinese Ghost Stories via James Cham

To extend into this a bit more I felt it best to allow the author

to speak on behalf of her own body of work.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 6 August, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, A Father's Heart, All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, All Soul's Day, Astral Projection, Audiobook, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Bout of Books, Buddhism, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Chinese Literature, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Clockmakers & Watchmakers, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Clogs & Gears, Confucianism, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Day of the Dead, Death & Burial Rites, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Ghost Marriage Ritual, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Mahjong, Malacca, Malaya, Marriage Rituals, Parapsychological Suspense, Passionate Researcher, Psychological Suspense, Qing Ming Festival, Reincarnation, Rituals for the Afterlife, Scribd, Soundcloud, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, TLC Book Tours, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

+Blog Book Tour+ The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose {part of the Reincarnationist series}

Posted Friday, 30 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

The Collector of Dying Breaths Tour via HFVBT

Published By: Atria Books ()
(an imprint of Simon & Schuster: ),
8 April, 2014
Official Author Websites:  Site | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats:  Hardback & E-Book
Page Count: 384

Converse on Twitter: #TheCollectorOfDyingBreaths, #TheReincarnationist,

#MJRose#HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Collector Of Dying Breaths” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from publisher Atria Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

What sparked my interest is the aspect of reincarnation stitched into the series as a whole as I used to collect books on reincarnation when The Reincarnation Library was still in existence, which was a small publisher who curated titles which had fallen out of print and then, re-issued the books in such lovely editions as cloth-bound hardback copies! The titles were both non-fiction and fiction dealing with as many different aspects of reincarnation as you could be happenstance to stumble across! In the series Rose has created, the idea of coming across tools to add one’s memory of past lives is more than tempting to explore!

– as quoted from Jorie’s Box of Joy No.3

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

Book Synopsis:

From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a Gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAuthor Biography:

M.J. RoseM.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA bit of a note on the Reincarnationist series:

I had the forethought to consume the previous books in the Reincarationist series ahead of my stop on this particular blog tour, except to say the hours flew out the window before I could even grasp a strong hold of them! I even attempted to finish where I was happily entrenched inside “The Book of Lost Fragrances” as I had picked up the first trilogy of novels (“The Reincarnationist”, “The Memorist”, & “The Hypnotist”) during Bout of Books Readathon 10.0 this past month, however, unfortunately for me I could not settle my mind & heart into the first book of the series. There was too much starkly dark & intense sequences to where I could not gather a secure footing into the series. I was about to chuck the whole idea completely and simply read the novel at hand, when I realised that perhaps out of the research I had conducted ahead of my Interview with Ms. Rose, perhaps the more telling truth is that I should begin this series on book four “The Book of Lost Fragrances”!

Clearly, led to read that particular book for a reason, I had washed away the outside world and entered the realm between the character Jac L’Etoile’s quest to save her family’s parfum business and the counter weight of dipping back into the historical past whilst there was a tomb being uncovered in Egypt during Napoleon’s reign! I loved the shifting perspectives in time and place, as much as the appeal for me to approach the notion of a ‘scent’ of lingering death & life wrapped inside the vial of a singular parfum which could effectively bring back a person’s recollective memory!

The book was taking me on this adventurist journey where I felt as though I had morphed a bit through the pages as I was reading the text of the story! I love the sensation of stepping through the lens and portal of stories, where we can feel ourselves being inserted into the character’s mind, heart, and spirit!? Those are the stories which linger around our mind’s eye and do not let us abate from our murmurings after their stories are known. I have come across quite a few since I first started my sojourn with M.J. Rose’s series and I am hopeful that as I conclude reading “The Collector of Dying Breaths” I will be hungry to return backwards through “Seduction” & “The Book of Lost Fragrances” because for me the Reincarationist series begins at the jettison point of fragrance!

My Review of The Collector of Dying Breaths: 

A small collection of memories filled my mind’s eye as I settled into Chapter 3, as Robbie was a robust brother surprising his sister after a long absence from each other where I had left him last in The Book of Lost Fragrances. To find him abreast his deathbed in The Collector of Dying Breaths was a bit difficult to take in at first, but then, given the nature of the story nearly felt a bit fitting as his sister Jac E’Toile had not yet risen to her position of one gifted with a nose for scent! She was struggling to come to terms with her father’s incapacity to run the family’s business in the previous installment, which positioned the state of the company in the worst of straits. She was attempting to make logical sense out of chaos, and apparently, wherever her path led her then she was still not comfortable rising into the shoes her father believed she should wear even now.

The story transitions between the 16th Century and the Modern Era, as the juxtaposition between Jac attempting to sort out the mystery of the ‘dying breath’ formula for not only percuring a dying breath from the moment it escapes the body but to captialise on the re-cataclysmal nature of its ability where le Florentine left off. The shifting eras heighten the arc of the history contained in the narrative, as both perspectives help fill in the missing pieces of what is not known when a reader such as I had not fully eclipsed the previous two volumes. A fluttering of recognition murmurs back into my ears as I read the current status of Jac’s life, with full measurement of sorrow expelled.

There is an allure of unweaving the past in such a way as to untangle each thread to reveal what each layer of its knowledge can speak through the centuries. The adventure awaiting inside is one hidden within the folds of time, of centuries past, and of lives destroyed or anguished by the actions of others. It is through precognitive dreams and premonition states of awareness that Jac is able to gain further insight into what she already knows and yet has already forgotten the knowledge of. The way in which Rose heightens our awareness of each past life through Jac’s perception of the lives themselves is seamlessly interlocked into the narrative itself. We can meander through a past life’s revealing scene as quickly as we can re-adjust into the present. The writing is writ in such a way as your mind feels betwixt knowing what is being revealed and what is being kept hidden.

The time that Jac spends at the château in France reminds me of my own fever of excitement to visit a physical place whose heritage runs the gambit of time itself. Centuries folding on top of centuries, allows the mind and the heart to imagine what life would have revealed if a little measurement of that lived age during the height of its hour were to be seen? What secrets would spill out of its tome of silence? What ruminations of boundless energy and knowledge outside the perimeters of one lived generation could encompass to contain? A quickening of excitement to find a tangible connection to the past in the present has a very real appeal to me. Likewise, whilst Jac was at the château it was entirely plausible that she was touching on ripples within the time continuance which allowed her to see what was no longer there.

The shroud of mystery surrounding Malachai etches away as bits of his humanity shine out inside the middle of the story, where he opens himself to vulnerability for the first time since Jac had known him. They share a close bond yet a complicated one as he has always been in full belief of her abilities whereas she has always been the cynic who attempts to root out the logic. In this installment of the saga, we find his human heart and his passionate disappointment for a love gone sour. Jac in this instance is turnt to as a listening ear, whereas previously their roles were quite reversed. The wounded is now in effect helping the healer. Jac is a woman who sees herself as a wounded bird whose wings are not quite set to fly. Her stasis is self-inflicted out of fear and out of the inability to shift past what she fears as the unknown gap between what can be logically proven by science and what has to be accepted on faith.

This is a story etched out of history’s tapestry of where the fates of entwined lovers cross against the barriers of time. Where the allure of reincarnation and of a life past the one once lived fever a man’s brow to gain a power he can barely understand much less muster into creation. The story is haunting as it is real, traumatic as it is emotional, but more than that, is a cautionary tale for how best to live each breath we’re given whilst we’re alive.

A note of curiosity the passages on pages 80-82 where Jac describes her history with hallucinations vs past lives is nearly word for word how I remember it being explained and disclosed from “The Book of Lost Fragrances” and there were a few other sequences as well that I felt stemmed out of my earlier reading of the former book. I do know that writers can sometimes stitch into successive volumes of a series ‘a walkabout of timelines and facts’ and having thus recognised this particular cluster as one of the larger ones, I do not think anyone would have trouble in following the pace nor the intricacies between where “The Book of Lost Fragrances” begins, “Seduction” continues, and where “The Collector of Dying Breaths” picks up from a combination of the previous two adventures.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

The Collector of Dying Breaths Tour via HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

as I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I interviewed M.J. Rose on the Dying Breaths Tour!

My upcoming tour for HFVBT is “Mrs.  Poe” by Lynn Cullen 5-6th of June!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Collector of Dying Breaths”, Author Biography, Author Photograph of M.J. Rose, Book Synopsis, the blog tour banner and the HFVBT banner  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 30 May, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Catherine de Medici, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Folklore and Mythology, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Thriller Suspense, Reincarnation, Suspense, Time Slip

*Blog Book Tour* A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court {a faerie anthology of short stories} edited by Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Monday, 19 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

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A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court (edited by) Scott M. Sandridge

Chimerical World Vol 1 Anthology by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit by: Enggar Adirasa

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress) 12 February, 2014
Official Author WebsitesBlog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 434
Genres: Short Story | Fantasy  | Faerie Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #AChimericalWorld & #7thStar

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the dual anthology virtual blog tour for “A Chimerical World”, opting to read the ‘Seelie’ Court vs the ‘Unseelie’ Court installment of the dual anthology release 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 and was happy to see more anthologies being offered for review. I received a complimentary copy of “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court” 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.

Interest to Read a Faerie Anthology:

I should be honest, my heart is always going to be attached to #dragonfiction (I created the tag for it even!), but part of me was always equally curious and endeared to seeking out wicked quality stories of faerie fiction too! I have several authors and books slated TBR (to be read) at some junction in time, but to truly get a nice overview of what is currently been written and offered, there is not a better way to accomplish this task than by seeking out an anthology! I find myself motivated lately to keep a fingertap on those thematic explorations inside science fiction & fantasy which whet my palette of interest. Previously, it was attempting to sort out my own heart’s desire in seeing science-based Steampunk and/or inventive Steampunk which runs the gambit of traditional Steam and deviates into Clockpunk or Automation stories.

Coming out of that well of endless possibilities, and keeping myself hinged to the cosy side of everything I read, I leapt at the chance to be a part of a new anthological tour for short stories within the world of the fey! I am always most curious to learn the new approaches of revealing a particular character inside of a story as much as I am a natural bourne book cheerleader who loves to rally behind creative stories which light the mind with deeply enriching worlds of creative thought. I never quite know where I am being lead in my literary wanderings, but half the fun for me is the art of discovery! Thus, my expectations for reading this anthology is to simply soak into different perspectives of the fey and see which of the stories give me the most joy in reading them!

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Anthology Synopsis: A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Scott M. Sandridge
Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

Tales of the Seelie Court:

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.

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Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Stories inside: Tales of the Seelie Court:

“Extra-Ordinary” by BC Brown +
“Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker
“Taggers” by Christine Morgan
“Wormwood” by Alexandra Christian
“The Harpist’s Hand” by Steven S. Long
“Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau +
“Mark of Ruins” by SD Grimm
“Birdie’s Life at the School for Distressed Young Ladies” by JH Fleming
“Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps
“Seelie Goose” by E. Chris Garrison +  
“I Knocked Up My Fairy Girlfriend” by Brandon Black
“The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen +  
“The Last Mission” by Cindy Koepp
“The Beggar-Knight & the Lady Perilous”
by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern
“Keys” by Michael M. Jones
“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge
“Gnome Games” by Saera Corvin
“The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle

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My Review of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

{ am electing to highlight the stories within the anthology

which piqued my interest the most out of the nineteen offered inside }

| “Extra-Ordinary” by B.C. Brown |

The mark of a well-written short story is the effect after it is concluded for the reader to double-check to make sure that the next short is not going to start right at the very moment she’s inclined to read more of the one she’s consumed! And, yet, that is unfortunately what happened as I turnt the page to see what becomes of the lovely hidden world revealed inside Extra-Ordinary! I must admit, I have appreciated the fey for such a long time that I never even questioned what I knew of them or what I could be lacking in reading faerie fiction! Clearly, there is quite a heap I have not had the pleasure of knowing, and inside this little gem of a story lies such a wondrous truth to who they are and how they appreciate interacting with humans! Or rather even, how some humans have the ability to interact with the fey, people you would not realise due to outward appearance or living circumstance could in effect hold a key to a world wonderfully unique and brilliantly more magical than the one we live in. I truly wanted to spend more time snuggled into this young boy’s life, seeing what he saw, and breathing in world of the fey in which alighted inside his ordinary hours. The writer had the clever sense to build upon our knowledge of the young boy as a regular school-aged curious wanderer of thoughts and imaginative possibilities — seeing beyond where he was and knowing there was more yet to come. And, within that innocent world-view and isolated piercing glimpse his everyday hours, we find ourselves meeting a young boy who will electrify our curiosity to know the fuller truth of who he is and how a shoebox can transport us there.

I felt as though this were a Prologue teaser to a larger story which would evolve into this wicked adventure between Marcus and the fey! How lovely it would be to see this knitted into a novella or a full-length novel!

|  “Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker |

At first I wasn’t sure the direction this particular story was going to take-on, as the possibilities for it to extend into certain dimensions of believability were extensive. The cat in the story (Mephyst) gives Andrei a bit more than he bargained for when he agreed to ‘cat sit’ a client’s rather feisty and demonic charge. Demonic here refers to the fact that this particular outdoor dwelling cat had a penchant for bringing his ‘kills home’ and leaving them rather ceremoniously on his owner’s doormat, but with a bit of a twist of what he ‘kills’ verse what his end-goal is once he returns home with them. I loved how Walker gave equal measure of attention on both Mephyst & Andrei as their paths intertwined for a short period of time. This short reminded me of fabled life lessons swirled into mystical and fantastical stories of a past age. Where you can root out the symbolism of right and wrong, as much as good verse evil by the way in which the story is fused together. Andrei is the unspoken hero of the story, who by rather clever devices sorts out the insidious nature of Mephyst, rights the malicious wrongs he has created against the fey, and takes-on a sense of freedom in knowing that his limited knowledge of the Other World affairs trumps the superficial elite attitude of Mephyst’s owner. For me, what kept me tuned into the story is the determination of Andrei to be a qualified cat-sitter in charge of a cat who is not quite like other cats at all! The lengths this bloke went to ensure not only the cat’s well-being but the well-being of innocents truly warmed my heart! In the end, I nearly could see him changing his stars and lifepath to something a bit more interesting than pedaling errands and message-driven deliveries. He is the character you always hope to find inside of a story – he completely surprises you and endears you to his cause.

| “Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau|

A mystical and Eastern story illuminated out of the stories of the Seelie Court, to where my heart-strings were taut in the pull of the narrative to emote such a soul-tinged story of love. I may have not readily said this, but I have not read any of the collective works by the authors in this collection, and are therefore a bit blind to what they regularly write or offer in their individual worlds of fiction. What I found inside Sanae’s Garden is what I would consider a classical mythological story where you can barely notice the veil of the human world and of the world of the wood sprites. Harou and Sanae are unconventional soul-mates in how their love grew out of their innermost desire to protect and care for those who need it most. Their child Masaki was blessed to have such a loving embrace of joy, love, and parental bliss attached to him as he grew but it is how he came into being that was the mark of a chosen path towards embracing true love. I loved drinking in this story, a paragraph at a time and allowing the images filter into my mind’s eye as I etched out their characteristic qualities and the semblance of where the story was taking place. I wanted to explore more of this world, digging a bit deeper into its heart and seeing how this one perception of time could be walked back through in the future. Boudreau gave us such an enriched tale as to endear us to the possibilities of not only following our hearts in all areas of our lives, but in owning to a greater truth of what a well-lived life can encompass by scope of depth.

My heart-felt full enough to choke my throat with the tears of a grateful reader who was blessed to know their story. The nature lover in me celebrated the close-knitted connection of the characters to the living garden and trees, as I am a firm believer that the longer you spend outside in nature’s loving arms of grace, the more you will find yourself in balance; rooted to the living well of the cycles and seasons of Earth. Trees have a kinetic way of sensing our presence and of returning our love for them in the gentle whispers only heard by heart. I felt everything that Sanae felt and I celebrated Harou’s ability to guide her towards a life she never dared dreamt was previously plausible.

|  “Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps |

The innocence of Clarrisa is a warm spring of hope stitched into this short story where a moral choice is the defining moment of her young life. What I appreciated about this story is that it is not set-up in the regular way you are expecting it to be. You’re entering a story already in-progress where the fates of those who could be affected by the actions of the characters both seen and unseen hang in the balance. Clarrisa is a faerie of conscience who unlike her peers aligns her life choices with those of her heart, spirit, and mind. She elects to take the harder path if it means that she can live without remorse etched into every fibre of her being. She is a gardener of dreams and of the tangible joy life can unexpectedly bring as you live your life forward. She reminded me a bit of Sanae in this regard, as she put her entire focus of how she wanted to live into the cultivation of her garden. The garden knew her innermost truths and where she would find her heart leading her next. Bourne without wings, a blight for any faerie other than her, she found strength in both resilience and in owning her uniqueness. The best part of the story for me, is watching how she evolved inside the Ministry of her employ to carry forward a mission of self-sacrifice and freedom. Each of us has the ability to embrace the right path but it takes the strength in knowing by doing what is right, you have to face those who might not agree with your reasoning.

|  “Seelie Goose” by E. Chris Garrison |

About my Connection to Garrison: I had the absolute pleasure of guesting on The Star Chamber Show on the same episode Garrison was appearing as a Guest Author. I was the Guest Book Blogger that night, and I appreciated the opportunity for our airtime to cross-over on each other. From that day forward, I have enjoyed our continuing conversations about all things bookish, including how we respected each of our differences in writing as well as our individual stance on ‘Vulgarity in Literature’ but came out of it on solid ground. I respect Garrison as a new-found friend and as a writer.

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.

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! The way in which people react to weddings and those of whom wish to marry is always fodder for comedy. No one seems to understand nor accept that when two people fall in love, it is their right to marry of whom their heart speaks true! Whether that is goose for gander or goose to goose; matrimony should always be a freedom of both choice and of celebration of love. I was caught in the trance of the moment, seeing the absurdity of how one ruffled feathered Mum could not let her daughter be free to live her own life whilst noting how Otherworldy Skye is still attached to walking a life-like no one else could! Skye is not involved in this story but a part of Skye is central to how everything is resolved! I was most taken by how giddy I was to see the resolution and how happy I was to find a story by Garrison which I can do nothing but celebrate the joy of reading!

The descriptions of the geese were especially intriguing as I loved how their wings and feathers were worked into their quirky personalities and how their essence of being geese set the tone for how they interacted with everyone else! By far it was a clever story to be told! Especially considering how ‘rhyme’ took on a new level of meaning as it was used as a method of communication rather than of prose!

| “The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen |

Cautionary tales of how far man is willing to push the envelope on technologic advances and the window which separates reason, logic, and the pursuit of progress are ones that I have always enjoyed reading. They speak to a greater level of knowledge towards where humanity has travelled and how far humanity continues to push the barriers between right and wrong. Ethical repercussions emerging out of the fever of wanting to go further than we dare, when even we can acknowledge that a thin line is being crossed in the sand. I could feel the harbinger tone of this short story even before I settled into its rhythm. There was a back-note of ominous danger igniting into the forefront of where the central characters were acting out of duty rather than out of honour. I enjoyed watching the internal conflict grab hold of them and appreciated where Madsen choose to take them whilst they were conflicted. The choices we make can have ripple effects on people we may or may not know, yet it is within the golden moments of those choices we can ultimately choose which path we will set our feet to tread upon. And, in the end what matters most is whether or not we were willing to sell our soul in order to survive; or take the harder path and do what was right.

The technology that is expressed in this short is always the kind of tech that I hope we do not cross the line to bring into reality. Where the fusion of technology against the condition of humanity would slowly erase and decode the very essence of who we are as there would no longer be a bridge between who we are and the advances science could provide us. To study and to grow in knowledge is one thing, to help others who have lost the ability to use their limbs is another, but to take away our humanity for the sake of replacement without cause or reason? That is quite another. We would be playing God to the worst degree of illogical pursuit.

“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern |

A new appreciator of stories of the Jinn, courtesy of a book I discovered from my local library (The Golem and the Jinni, of which I reviewed last year) I was most delighted to see a short of the Jinn included in this collection! Ever since I met the Jinn in the forementioned story, I have set myself up to uncover more Magical Realism stories (hence my ever-expanding and growing tCC List!)!! The gentleness of this tale was refreshing as by time I had reached a moment to read it, I was ruminating in my mind about how reflectively open and honest the rest of the shorts are presenting the current state of time. From economic hardship to the uncertainty of how the future always hangs in the balance just out of view from where we are in the present. The shorts in of their own are knitted together with commonalities as you read through them. A pulse of forbearance as much as keen insight in where we aspire to be and how circumstances can never paint our future’s black. The Jinn in this story took a different angle of acceptance towards her new charge, and it was through her no-nonsense approach that her charge learnt the most from her. I like being unexpectedly surprised when I read, as much as I like entering new worlds to walk around.

“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge |

I was happily surprised and thankful to see a more traditional faerie story included, as for a while I felt that perhaps the collection was only going to yield more modern spins on the fey. In this particular short, what struck me the most was the breadth of the world created to explain the differences between the Courts, and as Hawkridge did such a great job of doing this, I could start to envision the differences between the Seelie & UnSeelie Courts! The very basis of the dual-anthology collection which I am reading! I think the hardest part for the world of faeries is understanding who to trust and to understand which motives are being presented once you undergo accepting an accord with someone who appears to be above-board with you. Iona is on the edge of reasoning out how to contribute more to the collective good of her kind whilst being drawn into plans that might have an outcome she would not appreciate. The entire hierarchy of the fey reminded me a bit of the honey bee. Everyone has their own duties and responsibilities, but at the very same time, there is freedom to choose how best to create the contributions which help the collective survive. In this way, I appreciated seeing the point of view given in this short as it aligns with how I felt the fey might interact and live together.

| “The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle |

This short was as stirring and gutting of emotions as “Sanae’s Garden”, as the fate of one family to save the entire towne is pushed into the forefront of reality when an over zealous ruler twists their chance to survive. I have not had the chance to read a lot about Centaurs or even of faeries who are not quite dark but are not living within the light either. I have read a few stories of the fey which were more depressingly melancholic than enlightening, but this story is more of a classical one. It takes on the drunken intoxication of power set against the welfare of the innocent. Where what is perceived as truth is not what it appears and what is feared cannot always be recognised. Although my heart was lurching with each new step the characters took towards facing their fate, I appreciated the level of sincerity Hoyle gave to the story. It is not one anyone will quickly forget once they read it. Nor should they.

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Each of the stories I have highlighted desire second and third readings in order for the mirth of their tales to be fully enjoyed, processed, and appreciated. I am grateful that I have had this opportunity to become introduced to new voices in fiction, and of being able to settle my mind a bit around where the fey live and how they choose to interact with humans. Each of them approach us in different ways, some with a smarting of bewitchment in their eyes and others with a slight tendency towards maliciousness. Yet, each of them own true to who they are and what their innermost gift is to give and/or to takeaway. The stories themselves are a delight to read and I found myself unaware of the hours ticking off the clock as I was fully absorbed into the collection itself and only gave a nodding of what I was finding through my tweets prior to publishing my finalised reflections!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comFly in the Ointment:

Being this is an anthology collection of stories, the blessing for me was skipping over the stories which either did not give me enough to sink into their narratives or wrinkled my nose due to the cursing of choice words during the telling of the story itself. Therefore, as I have read and highlighted the stories which appealed to me directly, you may or may not find the same to be true for you. Everyone has a different reading temperament and mine is not one to accept a parlay affect of strong language within the context of joyful reading explorations. I truly only skipped over a few stories that held strong language, the others I did not mention did not touch me in the same way as I read them as the ones I did mention.

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This Book Review is courtesy of:

A Chimerical World Virtual Tour via Tomorrow Comes MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Virtual Road Map for “A Chimerical World Anthology Tour”:

18 May: Editor Interview @ Jorie Loves a Story

19 May: Review @ Jorie Loves A Story

20 May: Guest Post: Four Simple Writer Mistakes by B.C. Brown @ Deal Sharing Aunt

21 May: Guest Post: Heavy Metal Faeries by Scott M. Sandridge @ Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author

21 May: Guest Post: Making of Seelie Goose by E. Chris Garrison @ Vampires, Witches, and Me, Oh My!

21 May: Guest Post: My Favourite Because It’s All About the Numbers by Scott M. Sandridge @ Beauty in Ruins

21 May: Interview Part 1 @ The Bird’s Word

22 May: Guest Post: Creating the Unseelie Court by DeeDee Davies @ Bee’s Knees Reviews

22 May: Promo / Spotlight @ Spellbindings

22 May: Guest Post: Pros / Cons of being an Anthology Editor by Scott M. Sandridge @ I Smell Sheep

23 May: Guest Post by Carmen Tudor @ The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies

June: Review: Tales of the Seelie Court @ Heroic Fantasy Writers

24 May: Guest Post: Rituals of a Seelie Writer by Alexandra Christian @ Sheila Deeth Blog

25 May: Interview: Scott M. Sandridge @ Come Selahway With Me

I am happily honoured to be:

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Host

Previously on this blog tour stop,

I featured an Editor Interview with Mr. Sandridge!

Do not forget to *VOTE* in my Reader’s Poll after reading the Interview! And, leave your response to my enquiry in the comment threads whilst your there too! I appreciate it!

Anthology Discussions on Jorie Loves A Story:

Comments are open on all blog posts!

Comment & Converse freely!

Please visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

It should be noted that I am curating the habit of tweeting my blog life on such handles as #amwriting | #amediting | #amblogging | #amreviewing | #amreading as much as there are antidote tweets being sent out prior to a blog post alighting on JLAS! Little snippets of insight into what I am going to reveal next and/or what I am anticipating will be a newly published post! Be sure to follow and/or keep an eye on my Twitter feeds! All pertinent links are also housed on my About.Me page as well for easy reference, access, and clickablity!

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What do you seek out when sorting out which anthology to read next!? Do you appreciate the journey you are taking to seek out newly emerging writers & their stories? What are your happiest discoveries in both short story, novella, and novel offerings of the fey in fiction!? Which authors are your favourites to soak inside and visit for a short spell!? Are the stories I mentioned today encouraging you to pick up “A Chimerical World”!?

{SOURCES: Book covers for “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court”, Editor Biography and Book Synopsis of the anthologies were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Collage of all three anthology book covers created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 19 May, 2014 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cats and Kittens, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Magical Realism, Seventh Star Press, Seventh Star Press Week, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, The Natural World, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature