Category: Folklore and Mythology

*Forthcoming Blog Book Tour Stop* | The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill | 29 September 2013!

Posted Monday, 23 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

The Boxcar Baby Book Tour | Tomorrow Comes Media

An exciting announcement to make today, here on Jorie Loves A Story, is the official start of the book tour, for THE BOXCAR BABY is MONDAY 23 September!!  My review goes live on the very last day of the tour! I will be in good company, as there are 5 book bloggers joining me on that day! I first learnt of this book by way of Tomorrow Comes Media, which is a new touring company that I am working with to bring tour stops to my blog! Each book they showcase on tour deal with speculative fiction, with a keen focus on science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Ms. Mulvihill’s book is science fiction at its finest, as it’s a contribution to Steampunk! This is why it drew my eye to read it and tip my hat to put in a request to review! As you may already be aware of, I had my initial introduction to Steampunk back in August, with “The Clockwork Carnival“, whereupon I read my first Steampunk book “The Clockwork Man” by William Jablonsky. I will be continuing this journey into the vast and steam-filled world of cogs, gears, and Victorian technology with “The Boxcar Baby”!! And, did I ever mention my fascination with TRAINS?! This marks the beginning of Ms. Mulvihill’s Steel Roots series, with forthcoming titles in 2014 & 2015, published by Seventh Star Press.
What first captivated my attention for this story, is the undercurrent plight of a seemingly orphaned teenager who by the fortitude of her own pure spunk and wit, is determined to unearth the mystery behind her Papa’s disappearance! She sets off on a journey, where I would presume she’s meant to uncover far more than the secrets of her own past! I am always keen to seek out coming-of age stories mixed with the adrenaline rush of an adventure!!
As you can read about this book’s premise on the book tour page for Tomorrow Comes Media!

Official Blog for THE BOXCAR BABY

Official Facebook Page for THE STEEL ROOTS series

Be sure to mark your calendars to drop back here on:
29th of September 2013!!
Follow the tour as it unfolds prior to stopping on Jorie Loves A Story!
Remember, to always keep a keen eye on my sidebar,
for current & future Bookish Blogosphere Events!
For a full listing of each book that has a stop on Jorie Loves A Story, please consult: Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCE: Tomorrow Comes Media supplies bloggers who are on the tour stop schedule
the banner by which to advert the stop and announce the book tour to their readers!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

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Posted Monday, 23 September, 2013 by jorielov in Alternative History, Coming-Of Age, Dystopian, Folklore, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Tomorrow Comes Media, Trains, Young Adult Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday #1 | Top Ten Books for Autumn: TBR Choices!

Posted Thursday, 19 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

"Top Ten Tuesday" hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists!

Topic of 17th of September, 2013: Top Ten Books for Autumn | TBR Choices!

Each of the books listed below will re-direct to the author’s page dedicated to their novel!

I decided to focus on the books that have intrigued me over the score of the past nine months, as much as highlighting a few choices that are books by which, I have waited years to appreciate and settle into their delicious worlds! Therefore, this is a hodgepodge listing of books I’ll be reading via my local library or off one of my bookshelves! It is a curious jaunt through history, time, setting, and place! I would have to speculate that everyone taking part in today’s List will be just as cleverly unique in their choices as I am!

The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

Ever since I made my rounds through the blog tour for Queen’s Gambit, I found myself quite a bit more intrigued by the life of Katherine Parr! And, therefore, the lives of the Tudors, of whom, are one of the under read of all eras for England in my reading life! What drew me in quite readily into her story, is how determined she was to succeed given a plight of circumstances that most would not know how to artfully overcome, much less save their heads & lives in the process! She was living in an age, where men trumped women to the fullest extent of the term, and where, having your individualistic views, heart, and ethics were tantamount to getting yourself executed!

I became rapidly endeared to her, and to the turmoil such as her life befell her, from the brink of happiness after Henry VIII passed from this life, I nearly felt as though he still had a grip on the outcome of her future, as there were hintings of ill-fated romance throughout the tour, once she ends up in the arms of her beloved Thomas Seymour! I felt as though he is a sure-fire cad and a most arduous rogue!

I originally learnt about this book through Book Browse (it was a First Impressions selection!) and Shelf Awareness (which adverted a bookaway contest!), which made it seem all the more apparent, that by the time I discovered the book was ‘going on tour’, I would thus continue to follow its progress! Queen’s Gambit was on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours [one of the book tour companies I am working with to host upcoming books this November!], between 12 August – 13 September 2013. You can still follow the tour route if your curious about seeing the different perspectives of the bloggers, as I only will highlight a few here! Despite entering contests to win a copy of this book, I am most assuredly will be reading this through my local library, by which, I am in the next position to receive it! I cannot remember if I had placed it on hold once before or naught, but this time around, I believe the timing will be rather keen!

The reviewers I appreciated reading the most heartily were the following:

Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle Showcases the Compassionate Katherine Parr, Sixth Wife to Henry VIII (hookofabook.wordpress.com – Oh, for the Hook of a Book)

Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (peekingbetweenthepages.com)

‘Queens Gambit’ Author Elizabeth Fremantle Q&A (thetudorbookblog.com)

The Tudor Book Blog Book Reviews: ‘Queens Gambit’ by Elizabeth Fremantle (thetudorbookblog.com)

Blog Tour: 133 Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (dreyslibrary.com)

Book Tour, Review, & Giveaway: Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (alwayswithabook.blogspot.com)

If you do drop by the tour page, you’ll find rather happily that there are *three videos!* awaiting you! One is the book trailer for “Queens Gambit” and the other two are the author herself, explaining the rich history that evolves inside the book! Likewise, if you click over to the author’s website, you’ll find an excerpt and trailer!

I paused the clip when I realised it was relaying a bit of medical narrative, as I was not in the mood to listen to medical descriptions whilst I type this post! However, I liked the choice of narrator! I am always a bit nervous about the inclusions of medical drama, as there was such a time I could handle it far better than now, as I was an ER-girl way back when it originally aired! On top of which, medical dramas & ME dramas were always series I felt drawn into quite readily! These days!? I’m lucky if I can handle NCIS by averting my eyes during the death or morgue scenes! Sighs. As it’s the ‘family’ on NCIS that keeps me interested!!

The Irresistible Blueberry Bake-Shop and Cafe by Mary Simses

The entire basis for my encouragement to read this particular book, and by which, I made a purchase request at my local library to acquire, is due to a curious mentioning of said book in a note-card I received from my Nordic friend! The complete story surrounding this curious introduction is spilt out in my previous post, entitled ‘Reading Knows No Boundaries‘. I was beyond elated to see the book arrive so quickly after requesting it, and as is the custom, the requester gets the privilege to read the book first!! Sadly, for me, I did not get much past the short excerpt that you can hear through this clip, as my heart was willing to push into an all-night read fest ahead of its return, but my eyes were not as agreeable! I sort of fell asleep whilst attempting to read it in one-sitting!! I have resumed my que in line to read it as it made its rounds to other readers in my library district, noting that I moved down from 1 to 9, and I’m around position 7 at the moment! This must mean that the book not only progresses well from the opening chapters, but that is a book everyone is savouring if they are taking the full fortnight to read! Either that, or I am not the only one plagued by interruptions in my reading life!

What enticed me into the story, was the nodding it gives to Hallmark Channel’s Original Movie “Daniel’s Daughter”, where a neat and tidy exec is attempting to resolve a ‘slight issue of family business’ prior to walking down the aisle! She finds instead, that she shouldn’t have shunned her hometown nor her best friend from childhood for such an extended absence! The delight for the appreciator of relationship-based romances is what ensues from there, and how antiques, small townes, and quirky neighbours unite inside the journey one woman takes to go home! (if you couldn’t tell it’s one of my favourites!) Moving back into the ‘Blueberry Bakeshop’ for a moment, in the early chapters, I noticed a cross-similarity in the protagonist’s method of reasoning with Katherine in “Daniel’s Daughter”.

I was yearning to go forward from there, but the mystery will have to remain intact for now! Perhaps it’s best that Autumn is still dawning here in the South, as you’d have mistook our September for high noon in Summer! Our clime is not akin to rust coloured leaves, dipping temperatures, whippy breezes, and pumpkins aglow for the harvest season! We’re sweltering and melting rather slowly, wondering what it is like to live with half the sunshine we’re blessed to experience!? Give me fog! Give me grey skies! Give me Autumn! Dare I mention, that the fact she’s uprooted into a completely new environment, way of life, and towne that draws her into its nexus and heart!? That she’s on the brink of a life altering choice, which attracts me to no end to read the climax and ending? Autumn for me is a season full of delightful and unexpected changes. Daring months to seek out an adventure and do something rather extraordinarily different!

For a reason I am not sure I understand, this excerpt fails to reveal that the ‘picture’ in the paper that has her all in disarray, is a passionate embrace of a kiss by her rescue swimmer! I reveal this here, in case you click on ‘play’ and feel a bit lost! This doesn’t reveal anything except to set up the opening sequence your going to listen too! When I reached the ending of this sequence in the book itself, I thought ruefully, “Isn’t that the backwards way of resolving the issue at hand? Wouldn’t a mass sell-out of an uneventful local paper draw further attention to the AP Wire Press? As to why that particular issue was sold-out suddenly? Wouldn’t it have been better to ignore it completely and let the story die where it was printed?” What about you!? What are your thoughts on this scene!? And, remember, I didn’t get very far along yet, so don’t spoilt what happens next!! 

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The soundtrack of music that accompanies this book is ethereally enchanting!

It’s worth clicking over to listen too!

Listen to an audio excerpt on this page for this novel!

{ update: as of October 2014 the audio excerpt is no longer available }

A book whose rich historical tapestry drew me into its folds long before I arrived at Barnes & Noble to select which hardback edition I would be taking home with me! I remember it was a kiss-hallo to Autumn that year, and I was curious about selecting a book that would alight in my mind’s eye, a fully embodied sense of time and place. A story that I could become enraptured and enchanted by at the very same time. I was looking for something rather different and unique, a bit out of the ordinary of what I might have selected for myself at the time, and a new author, if possible! I wanted to continue to carve out a way to find writers who stood out from the pack, and delivered something hearty for their readers to chew on! I felt that I had found all of this and a bit more in Katherine Howe’s début novel!

This book has been winking at me from the shelf I placed it on, evermore making me curious to settle into a comfy chair and open the text to see what awaits my curious eyes! The full background and research that went into this book, I uncovered from somewhere around the time of purchase, but I am not remembering exactly where I read it, but I have a sneakingly familiar notion that it was included in a write-up on début authors inside the little booklet that Barnes & Noble provides!? It’s the booklet (forgetting its name?!) that reveals the premise of books that are releasing and a bit about their authors!? From that short snippet, I know I must have gone online directly and unearthed even more! I appreciated the dedication of Ms. Howe to represent the novel and the history behind the story in such a beautiful way!

To find a story that is in of itself a historical mystery, that revolves around one woman’s intentions of unlocking the suspense and allure around a hidden and lost book of knowledge, excites me rather readily! I love mysteries that tip the scales of history on their axis, and make you, as a reader on the tip of discovery alongside the character who is doing the sleuthing!

Again, the music evokes a certain atmospheric tilting, and as the narrative begins, you are entering into a wholly different time and place. Pulling back the shades and veils on our American history, until you arrive at the late 1600’s, where superstitions ran rampant. The cures and tinctures of apothocarists and herbalists were still very much suspicious to the general populace. Next to a mid-wife, an apothocarist was not without their measurements of judgement. Howe is etching into our eyes, not only the distinctive time in history that we are arriving into, but the murmurs of everyday life. She chooses her words carefully and artfully to gain full disclosure of what we are drinking in. And, this I appreciate very much!

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

Listen to an audio excerpt on Oasis Audio!

I am a regular visitor to Southern Belle View, and have been such, since January 2013 when I first discovered this lovely blog filled with five extraordinary women, each of them a published author; four for fiction, one for non-fiction. They etch their books with stories of heart and soul, binding their audience into a comfort oasis of faith and peace. Their characters (of the four who write fiction), are strong of fortitude, lean on their faith, and have the uncanny way of finding themselves in a muddlement of adversity, coming-of-age, and/or of a life change that is about to be thrust upon them! At least, from what I can gather of their stories from afar, as up until I read “The Prayer Box”, I have merely been a visitor happy to spend time with the women of the Porch! If their blog is any indication of their own character and gift they bestow to us through their writings, I can attest that they are warm-hearted, caring, and personable,… devoted to their time with each other as much as giving of time with their readers. Drop by sometime if you haven’t yet already! I encourage you to meet them as I have come to know them!

Having said this, “Into the Free” is one of the books I’ve checked out of the library far too numerous of times to even dare to admit possible, but in the waiting that I have had to read this novel, the more curious I have become to know of its central character: Millie! Throughout the long months of the 2013 leading into September, a curious new chapter of Millie’s life was revealed in the 1 September 2013 release “When Mountains Move” which picks up the story where the last began! As I have not yet read this first installment, I am a bit in the dark and out of the loop! I did, however, attempt to drop by the Porch each day last week whilst the showcase was on the sequel, but having not felt very well in the ending days of the week, I regret I missed most of what was exchanged!

A curious note should be made that one of my favourite literary exploitations is of Southern Lit and of Southern Gothic! I am not as widely versed in either, but I have gathered a knowledge and cursory knowing of which authors might tempt me to read their stories as much as which stories might endeavour me to wrap my heart around them! Ms. Cantrell (& the ladies of the Porch) are amongst this short list I have been compiling! Therefore, I am hoping that once I conclude this novel, I can move on into the others that have interested me as well! I am finding these stories a bit of a calming balm and that is a credit to the authors who pen them!

I re-directed you to the Fantastic Fiction page for “Into the Free” as try as I could, I did not find the synopsis page on Ms. Cantrell’s blog! Although, there is a nice overview on the audio excerpt page! I am not sure who is reading Millie’s spunky and curiously engaging observations, but her vocalisation of Millie is endearing me to reading her story moreso now than before I ever heard her voice! Parts of this is reminded me a bit of how much I loved “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate”! A book I need to re-read at some point, so that I can convey my full appreciation for its story here on my blog! It’s one of those books that stays with you a bit, long after you’ve put it down! And, I have a suspicion, that Millie and her story inside “Into the Free” is going to be the next one that lingers warmly with a smile on my lips and a hitching in my heart! Listen to her keen awareness in this excerpt and decide if you too, want to embark with her on her journey!

Lucid Stars by Andrea Barrett

I alluded to my reasonings of why I want to dig into the works of Andrea Barrett, in a foreshadowed posting entitled: Austen, her name is Jane Austen! Except to say, that Jane Austen wasn’t the total focus of my post that day, as I was eluding to why I have been fascinated by the works of Ms. Barrett for most of my young years! She’s an incredible inspiration for a reader as much as a writer, and it’s her style of story-telling and the inter-connectedness of her collective works that allows me to think in new ways by which, we as writers create our written legacies, in whole new dimensions of space and mirth! It’s not oft you come across a writer like Ms. Barrett, and I am keenly thankful to finally be at a place where I can start to uncover the words she’s leaving behind!

In this first book, Ms. Barrett introduces us to a rather ordinary family who is transitioning through life changes that will not shock nor surprise many readers, as she is not the first author to explore this particular issue that disrupts the bliss of domestic life. I have always appreciated the landscape of her prose is inter-connected to the skillful observations of a poetic mind inclined to drawing a line of metaphoric symmetry to stitch her stories together! I appreciate that the title of this book is a key to unlocking the true meaning and essence of why she penned it!

I was not able to uncover much about this first book of Andrea Barrett, except there are a few videos on YouTube where she is being interviewed, yet they are discussing other books that she has written since this one was published. Not to be outdone by the absence of material online, I did unearth a review by Kirkus, which might give you a bit of a further clue as to how different her writing style is and what the lay of the story involves!

Finding Camlann by Sean Pidgeon

Read an excerpt in lieu of audio on the publisher [W.W. Norton]’s page for this book.

This was a novel that was adverted through Shelf Awareness earlier in 2013, as a bookaway contest, by which I did enter, but did not win. I was hoping at some junction down the road it would end up in the library’s catalog, as the premise and back-story of research that yielded this book endeared me to the author & the story he told! The quest of writing this particular novel was expanded over half of this writer’s adult life! I can attest that writing a novel takes a heap of time, whilst your involved with living your life, and it did not shock me to read this revelation on his website, because it nearly is truth to form a telling of my own journey as a writer! It’s not your typical historical fiction début, as it allows for more than the regular appearances of contextual time, place, and setting to evolve the story forward in motion.

The legend behind King Arthur is one that always left me wantonly curious to know more of the story! I regret that I never found the time to sit and read about Arthur in the past, but perhaps, if I had, I might not be able to drink in this narrative with the new eyes that I will bring into it!? I oft find myself musefully reflective about how the choices we make in our reading lives have direct impacts on our appreciations of each story we read! If we were to have read one particular book or sequence of books on the same vein of subject or topic, would that then, change or alter, our future perceptions of similar readings!? It makes you curious to denote that for each choice we make, there is a curious nodding of serendipity guiding us as we shift forward! As how can we ever be too early or too late to pick up a book that we’re interested in reading!? And, who is truly to say, which order is best for each reader who alights into the world the book provides!?

If I were ever to have a choice between reading an excerpt or listening to one, I might feign in preference for an audio clip! Mostly as I do not always like to dig too deep into the story that I am about to read, although this differs between book to book, so I cannot readily say, I will never read a full excerpt of a novel, because, point of fact truth, I already have in other instances! In this one, though, I yielded to watching the book trailer which is on his personal website! Again, I applaud the atmospheric music!!

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

Listen to an audio excerpt on Simply Audiobooks.

One of my favourite haunts in the blogosphere, is actually the blog of a published author: Lauren Willig, of the Pink Carnation series! I cannot recollect when I first started to drop by her blog, as for a few years, I was awaiting the right moment to join in on reading her blog with the other readers’ who had already become acquainted with her series! Perhaps, I am inclined to guilt on this score, when it comes to becoming engaged with writers, yet, I do not always feel this way, as foresaid, I have been visiting the Porch without any foreknowledge of the writers’ books therein! Whichever caused my hesitation, I amended it, and nearly each week, I would check in to see ‘what was new’ with Ms. Willig! Much to my delight, she regularly shares her reading life (by which has ten-folded expanded my own TBR List!), in various re-occurring features!

This is one of the authors she shared on her blog, although, the second book is the book she referenced in her post! By which is entitled: An Inquiry into Love and Death. The title grabbed me at ‘hallo!’ and I knew I wanted to read it instantly! I had long since started a quest for seeking out Gothic stories as much as underlit stories of paranormal origins that did not fall into the ready category of parapsychological fiction that is all the rage at the current moment! I am a bit picky when it comes to which story whets my interest and which story averts my attention completely! This is of the style I am seeking!

The story is set in 1922 as it unfolds, with that curiously familiar tonings of British life found in London. It’s a rather abrupt sample of this story, but what I enjoyed the most was listening to how the author’s name is said aloud, as I wasn’t sure of the infliction for “Simone”. Cheers to uncovering this, as I am usually always the one who says author’s names and their character names rather creatively! One thing I can say, is that if there is a ghost story such as this, I am most keen to read it!

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

I am not sure when I originally discovered this book, but I do remember I was meant to participate in a Booktalk Nation event, where she was being interviewed. What drew me into the story were the parapsychological elements that I like to see included in stories, time to time, such as the gift of first sight! Combine this gift with the art world, and I couldn’t have been more over the moon for wanting to read this story! What is intriguing for me, is the aspect of a simple touch can lead to the greatest journey you’re not expecting to take and a hidden history of an artifact that proves provenance! I like how this appears to be a time slip novel as well, as the story shifts between different time points to convey the story forward!

I now realise what the opening sequence is pertaining too, as its a telepathic connection that she’s not sure she wants to engage in, but cannot keep the subject of her intruding thoughts away from her. I love how she’s quite determined to blend into regular society, as if nothing paranormal had occurred! Or, that she is slightly different and unique from the other commuters on the route to work! I am thinking that this is a story of not only a woman who holds the key to a piece of art’s provenance, but rather still, a woman who embarks on a journey that perhaps leads her to accepting who she is and the gift she’s been given!

Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney

Listen to an audio excerpt of this novel on AudioGo.

I was first introduced to Ms. Putney’s writings as a young girl, age 10 or 11, who had stumbled across her inclusion in the Victorian Christmas novella collections! I have always had a hankering for Victorian literature, most keen was I on the romances, and of course, if the dashing men and ladies could have a story set around the Christmastide, you should know, I would always be there to greet the festivities!! There is just something quite natural about the Victorians and Christmas! For nearly nine full months now, I have been hanging out with the Wenches (The Word Wenches), by which, Ms. Putney is a regular contributor! Here, I am getting a quick overview and proper introduction to today’s world of romance, bent on historicals and enriched by research by women who love their craft!

I have long since wanted to sort out which Putney novel I can read now as an adult, as time eclipses off the clock ever so quickly, that when you think you have a world of time at your fingertips, you start to beg to wonder!? Why not start now!? In this way, I have settled on her first book “Loving a Lost Lord” of the series, The Lost Lords. Whilst listening to the latest in this series coming out this year [Sometimes A Rogue], I think it spurned my interest to settle into this series first before the others!

This audio clip introduces us to the back-story of “the Lost Lords”, who had met as youngsters who were in a special group of students who needed a modified series of instruction, if my ears heard right!? My computer’s speakers are grieving me slightly, as the muttering of the computer is superceding the vocality of the narrator! I used the Fantastic Fiction link to give the premise of the novel, as the page on her personal website provided a written excerpt rather than the synopsis. I included the main page for her Fantastic Fiction as a way to scroll to see the Victorian Christmas novellas I was mentioning!

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

I came across her first novel, “Saving Cee Cee Honycutt” through my local library, but having not read it, I decided to introduce myself to her writing through this second novel. Generally, I read the first book I come across, but after listening to the audio excerpt, it became even more apparent that this story would nestle itself into my imagination, as readily as “The Prayer Box” had, as it’s one of those gentle stories that glides into your life at just the right moment to appreciate its meaning. In fact, I think between “Into the Free” and “Looking for Me”, I shall be entertaining quite lovely company!

The narrator of this story has a smooth and calming Southern presence that allures you into the world she’s introducing you too! It reminds me of the scene in “Doc Hollywood”, when Michael J. Fox rang the Grady Weather Forecast phone number, just to listen to the voice on the other end of the line. A calming balm to his stress and situation so far removed from Grady. I think sometimes stories like these niche themselves into our peripheral view, at a moment where a glistening of hope and a story of transformation could be just the right story for the season that we are entering! As foresaid, I always lamented that Autumn is a season for new experiences and unexpected adventures, and this book stays true to that point of view!

Those of you have a keen sense of knowing when and how I curate my blog, will already be readily aware that there is a new “category” in my sidebar, which reflects “Publishers on SoundCloud”! Like the counter productive category of “Publishers on Scribd”, this is a new resource I am finding to use as a book blogger! Not only on that level, is my interest entranced with audiobooks, but rather, my keen interest in seeing if I can partake of an audiobook as ambient atmosphere as a backdrop to knitting! I have oft heard stories of knitting groups that select different audiobooks to knit alongside too, as our minds and hearts are always on our stitches, but it’s nice to have a rhythm in the background as a guide to follow as well! I loved the idea! Most keen was the notion that the most recommended genre is cosy mystery! I never had the proper chance to seek out audiobooks until recently [as part of Classics Re-Told ], and so in this way, I am treading into new territory! My only offense would be to note, that there is a streamline shift off audiobooks on CD to audiobooks ONLINE or in digital download formats!!

I hope not to sound like a broken record here, but although, the ‘snippets’ of previews for audiobooks is keenly helpful through SoundCloud, my preference is to listen to an audiobook in a traditional format of audio synchronicity! In this way, I will always seek out books in CD formats, by which, I am not co-dependent on my computer (&/or other tech gadgets!)! Which in my mind, defeats the whole point, as I’d rather stay flexible and fluid as I read and discover stories! I recognise the changing tech, but personally, I love my ‘offline’ life and world! I realise too, you can pick up portable digital devices that work with headphones, but seriously, sometimes you just love the tech you love, and try to limit the ‘extra’ tech you do not necessarily need! Right!? At least, this is true for me! We each must be true to who we are at all times!

My question to you, the reader, which do you prefer!? As a method of previewing a book ahead of reading it!? And, if you could, rather than simply state one a quick response, give a bit of a leeway into why its your preference and/or preferences of choice!?

A. Chapter Excerpts (via Author Websites, Blog Book Tours, Publisher Websites, Scribd, etc.)

B. Book Teaser OR full-on Book Trailers (via YouTube, Vimeo, or elsewhere) as well as searching for author interviews that could be archived.

C. Audio Excerpts (via SoundCloud or similar sites)

D. Reading an author’s biography, bibliography, book synopsis prior to looking up their personal site &/or blog to see if you can find further information about their writing life or novels.

E. Following their book tour either virtually (Blog Book Tour Stops, Facebook Parties, Twitter Parties, Newsletter Giveaways, Website/Blog Bookaway Contests, Booktalk Nation Interviews, etc.) or physically showing up at one of their dedicated tour stops. Oft times in this medium of gathering information, you are most likely able to speak to the author directly and can ask questions that pertain to their latest book OR a book off their back-list that intrigues you. As well as having the opportunities to ‘win!’ their book!

F. Speaking to your librarians to see if they have read the author in question and can relate to you a bit about their style of story-telling.

G. Seeking out book blogs of which might contain snippets of the author’s career, through past interviews, guest posts, blog book tours, OR simply a book of theirs was reviewed by the book blogger which can offer a further clue as to determine your level of interest.

H. Speaking to your friends, family, and circle of reader enthused souls who might be able to give their impression of the author OR the style of the book, if it contains a theme or genre that is known to them.

I. Any combination of the above!

[I specifically fall under the “I” category in total!]

[I originally intended to post this on Wednesday afternoon.]

[And, I’ll tell you one thing: I am quite keen on audiobooks now!

Wow! It’s like theatre on the radio!]

[This marks my second contribution for:]

That Friday Blog Hop

[*NOTE: Any and all purchase links that are attached to SoundCloud are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story.]

{SOURCES: Audio Excerpts of: “The Queen’s Gambit” by Elizabeth Fremantle, “The Irresistible Blueberry Bake-Shop and Cafe” by Mary Simses, “The Firebird” by Susanna Kearsley and “Looking for Me” by Beth Hoffman were provided by embed share codes by SoundCloud. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in PicMonkey. That Friday Blog Hop badge provided by XOXO Rebecca where the weekly event is hosted.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

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Posted Thursday, 19 September, 2013 by jorielov in Antiques, Arthurian Legend, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Browse, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Library Find, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Parapsychological Suspense, Rebels and Rogues, Shelf Awareness, Small Towne Fiction, Soundcloud, That Friday Blog Hop, Time Slip, Top Ten Tuesday, Tudor Era, Women's Fiction

A swirlment of folklore surging to life in New York City,… “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker, a debut novelist who captured my heart

Posted Wednesday, 17 July, 2013 by jorielov , , 13 Comments

Parajunkee DesignsThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Published by: HarperCollins PublishersApril 2013.

Page Count: 496 Converse on Twitter: #GolemandtheJinni

Borrowed Book By: My local library for which I am forever grateful in seeking out fantastical new writers, who pen brilliantly conceived worlds with the breath of a realm just past ours! I know one day I want this book to be amongst those treasured books in my personal library!

What captivated me to wish to drink in the narrative, whilst I discovered it amongst the stacks of books featured on Book Browse? I think it was the premise that sparked a curiosity that would only become quenched if I were to drink in the narrative. Sometimes I feel as though the books speak to me, in that, it’s the full effect of their presence,… from premise to cover art to the foreboding idea of what may lie beneath of the pages. I get a sense that I am drawn to certain titles moreso than others. You have to admit, to embark on an adventure that spans centuries and involves mystical and fantastical elements of magical proportions packs quite the appealment! Over on the author’s website, you will find a hearty excerpt, as well as bonus information on the neighbourhoods in New York City, as much as the characters which you can find on the right toolbar whilst your reading the excerpt! To seek out more information behind the scenes of the book, read the articles threaded through the Jewish Book Council.

 Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

The Golem and the Djinni – Helene Wecker extract by HarperCollinsPublishersUK  

Inspired to Share: I think anytime you’re giving the gift of hearing an author speak about their book is a moment you do not want to bypass! I haven’t always been able to travel to book signings or author lectures, but through the availability of author interviews online, I am finding that I enjoy hearing in their own words why they choose a particular story to tell. Listen to hear Ms. Wecker speak about a book that is stitched close to her heart.

Interview with Helene Wecker, author of “The Golem and the Jinni”,  

by HarperBooks, which is part of HarperCollins, the publisher.  

By the Time I reached Page 34: I had settled into the atmosphere of the setting and the presumption of knowing what I might be in for as the story progressed forward, as both the Golem and the Jinni had made their individual appearances. I was struck by similarities to other fantasy characters I had already become acquainted with, as with the Jinni I was reminded instantly of “Q”: the arrogantly curious omnipotence being who could not detach himself from humans due to his disgust with the simplicity of the species and the curious nature behind their innate humanity.

Two entities bound by an infinite level of what they can yield and achieve, yet struck down by boredom, impertinence, and impatience! {Q is a character from Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek”, a series of four tv serials and eight motion pictures by which I loved whilst growing up and continue to appreciate to this day! Q was portrayed by the incomparable John d’ Lancie who made him endearing to watch!} Whereas the Golem, took on a few hintings of Troi, {Another reference to Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek”.}, where the Golem struggled to deal with the voices she overheard whilst amongst humans, because she emphatically and telepathically was connected to their innermost thoughts and desires. Yet, reminded me more of Data, in the struggle towards being more human! Both entities shared the common element of being made by man and for man’s purposes, at least initially. Her ability to be self-aware and learn from her experiences also held Data in my mind as I began to know more of her character.

From there, as those were my initial points of reference to sink further into the world Ms. Wecker had created,… I was enjoying the references of cultural heritages, immigrations through Ellis Island, and noting the author’s use of the Five Elements, Plus One: the Golem {of Clay}, the Jinni {of Fire}, Humans {of Earth},… which led my mind to speculate a sequel involving Air and Water! And, how intriguing it would be to stitch all of this together! I was not even sure at first if this would be the type of story that I could comfortably sink myself into, as although I used to read quite a heap of science fiction and fantasy novels, it’s been half an age since I last picked one up! It’s always been my fervent intention, if not desire, to regain a passion for this part of literature, and as the words drenched through my eyes and permeated my imagination; I felt that for once, I might have stumbled across a way back into the genre I’ve ached for since I was seventeen! The very moment upon which the genre was vibrantly enticing, entirely new, and easily able to be read! It’s a wonderful moment for a reader to find their way back into a section of literature they once feared they’d have to abandon completely!

I Always Appreciate a Wordsmith: And, Ms. Wecker is amongst my favourites in this regard, because she chooses to entice your mind and imagination with a palette of textural rich incantations of literary narrative! She has the ability to write a viscerally stimulating setting set in distinctively enriched cultural neighbourhoods of New York City with a clarity that befools your mind into not realising we’re currently in the 21st Century whilst reading this book in hand! Your drawn back into the past, as the veils of time reveal a world where immigrants lived with a constant fear of not fitting in or being understood. Where they hoped to re-create a new life for themselves, but always questioned if they were succeeding. A world where you could either make it or break it based on the resolve and strength you carried within you when you travelled by boat to the New World.

I couldn’t drink in her narrative fast enough, and even then, I debated if I should be so very hungry and thirsty for the next page, because I didn’t want to run like lightning through such an enriched text! I wanted to linger as I absorbed the sights, sounds, and aromas of each neighbourhood and crevice of space that is shared with us. We take a journey alongside the characters, as we’re introduced to not only two remarkably unique characters, in the “Golem” herself and in the “Jinni” himself, but the passageways that led them to New York City. Oh how I appreciate a wordsmith who delicately weaves her tale into our mind’s eye with a bewitching vernacular!

Ruminatively Inclined to Muse About: The original necessity of conjuring a Golem and the mythlogical-mysticism surrounding the Jin! This book encompasses such haunting notions of a man-made creature brought to life from clay, though upon a bit of superficial digging into the origins of Golems, I learnt that they can be conjured from more than mere clay, but always by the hand of man, not God. In fact, that is a distinction that is proposed in the story itself, as how can a creature of man, be not only curious about God, but question how faith and religion plays a part in their existence as much as mankind? There are overlapping topics that draw a breath of digging deeper than mere folklore surging to life in a city that many are intrigued and fascinated by each year. The very essence of self-identity, self-awareness, faith, religion, ethnical heritage, cultural identity, self-worth, ethics and logic, good vs. evil, and the oldest of adages, best not to meddle in affairs that we are not meant to muddle into much less grasp! I appreciated the underpinnings of Jewish and Arabic mythologies interwoven into the plot, which I learnt by way of the interview posted here were inspired directly by Ms. Wecker’s own background and that of her husband’s! To cultivate a novel that gives a plausible thesis with a difficult resolution is one of literary brilliance.

A Lasting Impression: The Golem and the Jinni is a classic premise of star-crossed lovers who do not realise they’re meant to be in each other’s lives. The story is a play on Pride and Prejudice as well, as you become introduced to Ahmed {the Jinni} and Chava {the Golem}, they tend to take on counterparts of characters you might already love as I do. Yet, there are distinctive differences as well. I appreciated the fragility and flawed character of Chava, who despite all her best efforts and attempts to becoming a humanoid, she must render herself hinged to her nature as a Golem. This startling fact for her, is not a surprise to the reader as there are enough facts pointed out to this regard, but to read her reaction and her acceptance of this was done with a deft hand! Nature or Nurture is a heavily argued point to understand the underpinnings of one’s personality and traits of action. 
It’s not all whittled down into black and white principles or plausible scientific explanations either. This is a running play of acknowledging that even if you think you know a particular subject, there is always the possibility that the subject is going to surprise you, and take you to places you hadn’t yet fathomed to be true. The Jinni, Ahmed is as arrogant as they come, determined to place himself superior above all others, even if his actions are a hazard to those he chooses not to attach himself too. He’s the complete opposite of Chava, who being an empathic being is well and fully aware of human emotions and the counter balance it takes to live amongst them. She is constantly aware of the consequences of both thought and action. Whereas Ahmed is more concerned with his own affairs and his own needs to even consider another person first. This tug of war between their character traits and the way in which they choose to live ultimately has a high price for those in their inner circles. 
Each were set on a course to learn and grow out of their experiences in a place neither expected to be. They each succumb to their inherent natures, but I feel only one of them is able to change the other for the good. Because one of them is stronger than the other as far as knowing how to make good on what has been turned for the bad. Their journey leads not to a resolution of sorts to overcome their individual obstacles towards true freedom, but rather too a junction point that leads them to question everything they felt they knew thus far along. And, in that conclusion the reader has to sit back and ponder the true meaning behind “The Golem and the Jinni”, for was it a journey of theirs that you took or an inward journey of understanding the limitations of humanity?

 

  The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker,

Book Trailer by HarperBooks, which is part of HarperCollins, the publisher.  

It Should Be Known: I am always excited by the curious peculiarities of the frequency of serendipitous discoveries! In the world of books, I can attest to having many an adventure of coming upon a book, a book that I might not yet feel a warming towards, only to become further entranced by its premise and the curious nature of ‘what I could find inside it’s pages’ to the brink that I simply MUST find a copy to give myself the ability to decide for myself, “Is this or is this not a book I am attracted too rather than simply being infatuated with?” Within the trailer, there is a brief cursory mentioning of “The Night Circus” and “A Discovery of Witches”,… the first was a book of interest the year it originally published although the reasoning behind ‘why’ I wanted to read it remained elusive; and the latter is a book I plucked off the shelf of the library on an ordinary ‘library run’ which led me to realise the author was soon to be featured on Booktalk Nation,… yet… the stars did not align for me. Not to read either book OR to participate in the Booktalk Nation event. Isn’t it curious then, that this book in particular, by which I was able to read at a moment I was most keen too, leads me back to these!?

Fly in the Ointment: I was most distracted by the scene [opening pages of Chapter Twelve] by which Chava returns to the Rabbi’s flat after he has passed on,… she runs into Michael, his nephew at the door, and the exchangement of dialogue felt out of context for what she would normally have said much less thought: it was too peculiar, as she seemed to ‘understand’ the process of a Jewish passing far more than she’s meant too, and the whole scene reeked of a displacement for me! It was nearly as if this was a part of a re-edit that went terribly wrong OR was not fully congealed to the rest of the story — I ran it through my mind and if it was left out completely, it wouldn’t have affected my understanding the flow of the story. After a second reading of the same scene, after having gone well past it’s section {nearly a quarter further into the story!}, I denoted what the main issue actually was! Chava was responding to Michael with the presumption that she was reading his thoughts, but there was an absence of his internal voice from this sequence of dialogue and narrative exchangements! That is precisely what I had picked up on, but hadn’t registered fully because I was too entranced to lament what stoked my ire! This small absence felt a jutting away from Chava’s character straight down to her personality traits and how she interacts with humans.

Cliffhanger Ending: I will admit, that I was twenty pages out when the book was recalled to the library, and I didn’t want to forsake my enjoyment of the story’s conclusion by rushing the pages and missing out on the experience! I never want to skip over dialogue or narrative for the sake of completing a novel, but at the very same time, I was betwixt what to do, as I felt for certain this book would be a ‘must read’ selection at the library! Imagine my gobsmacked expression when I learnt it was returning back with me! No one had placed a hold!? That was beyond shocking to me! I’ll admit, when I first picked up the book, as the initial pages started to prop up the images in my mind,… I wasn’t certain if I’d fully enjoy reading this story or if I would be too far afield in a narrative I was not used too. 

Yet. At the ending chapters, I found myself moving into a place I wasn’t expecting to land: the quagmire of a cliffhanger! Perhaps its the optimist in me that hopes for a resolution that characters can live with OR either accept if the cards do not come to pass their way,… but to exit a novel such as this with a cliffhanger ending was not something I had surmised for myself! Sophia’s character had a mere passing of thought after her main appearance at a pivotal moment for the Jinni {which I will not reveal here as it’s too gutting to even think of spoilting it for a reader!}. And, then there is the Golem and the Jinni themselves who more or less are left with an ambiguous ending of this part of their journey! I closed the book half aghast at myself for being so properly irked! I felt a bit short-changed I suppose, because more than anything, I thought everything leading up to those pages was preparing me for the inevitable! Saleh I think had the easier path in the end, as he ultimately did find the peace he sought so hard to achieve. It’s Ahmed and Chava that I am concerned about, and wonder if my original ideas about Water and Air might play a part in what I hope will be a sequel? How can we forevermore not know the conclusion!? Surely there is a door to unlock this literary key!? Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 17 July, 2013 by jorielov in 19th Century, Author Interview, Book Browse, Book Trailer, Cliffhanger Ending, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Magical Realism, New York City, Scribd, Time Slip