Category: Supernatural Creatures & Beings

Blog Book Tour | “Silver Hollow” (Borderlands Saga, Book One) by Jennifer Silverwood This is a prime example of how you can nearly have dreamt a world into formation and then, by a lovely unexpected surprise get to transition directly into the world you’ve talked about for a year!

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I’ve only been hosting for Xpresso Book Tours for a short period of time – mostly as a book spotlighter and/or author interviewer as most of the stories Xpresso Books takes on a blog tour are either Digital First releases or the review copies are strictly available in ebooks without print or audiobook availability. This doesn’t bother me as I already submitted one purchase request to my library (ie. “Jaclyn and the Beanstalk”) which was accepted and added to the library’s catalogue whilst other stories are either being sourced through my local library or being put on a gathering list of #mustreads once I’m able to purchase copies of those stories myself.

For this particular blog tour, I was encouraged to join the review tour by the author herself, as we’ve forged a friendship whilst I’ve been hosting her blog tours (ie. for Prism Book Tours) which I’ll disclose in a moment before my review. I was overjoyed I could host my first Xpresso Book Tours for a review stop as I keep hoping one of the forthcoming blog tours I find I love to either spotlight or host a guest feature will be available in audiobook which I can source through my subscription to Scribd. Til then, quite happily – this blog tour holds special meaning to me as I feel as if I’ve been caught up inside the journey of “Silver Hollow”‘s new release campaign and can finally read the story to see for myself what is inside!

I received a complimentary copy of “Silver Hollow” by the author Jennifer Silverwood in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read “Silver Hollow”:

When I first discovered Silver Hollow, it was the genre-bending styling of the author which implored me the most to read the story. At the time, Silver Hollow was being re-released and the only version currently available back then in print was the older version. Sadly, despite my efforts to secure that copy by inter-library loan had failed. It had remained a story I dearly wanted to read and through this particular blog tour the novel has alighted in my hands – to be experienced and to be read.

This bridge between the fantastical and the mythological is what made me keenly curious about Silverwood’s writing style. I wanted to see how she used the bridge itself, as generally speaking I do have a penchant for Urban Fantasy nowadays but each writer I read within that branch of literature has their own unique spin on how to make ‘modern’ settings warmly conducive to Fantasy realms. Finding myself dearly enchanted by how she brokered a story out of the roots of Greek Mythos is only the tip of the iceberg I feel I shall be finding within her collective works!

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However, a short glimpse into a convo we exchanged during #WyrdAndWonder 2018 shows more pointedly what was encouraging me into “Silver Hollow”:

Silver Hollow was originally released in 2012 and was meant to be turnt into a series. The original book is still available in public libraries whilst the newest release has been expanded both in length and as the first of a series installment. How did you initially choose to re-visit this story and to expound upon your idea you had to develop it into a fuller series past where it was originally published? What are the key differences between the 2012 novel readers might be familiar with already or might seek out ahead of the newest one being released through their libraries?

Silverwood responds: Despite its flaws, Silver Hollow has always been one of my favorite books and worlds to explore. I always knew I wanted to return. However, when I decided to finally began the sequel, I realized my writing voice had changed. And the more I read of the original, the more I wished to do things with the narrative I didn’t have the writing chops to pull off before. I began revisions by updating and smoothing out dialogue between characters. I also took out many confusing plot bunnies which never go anywhere (while leaving a few for future books ). One night I brainstormed what the revised Silver Hollow could look like and quickly outlined two more books. I had so many fresh ideas I wanted to explore and that was the deciding point. No matter how intense the expanding and revision process has been, I haven’t looked back.

As for noticeable changes, I actually have a long list of minute and major tweaks. A few major ones are changing “Eddie” to “Freddie” to better fit his true, secret name. I also brought back both twins at the end of this new novel, because I have big plans for them and their perspectives in the future. A few other changes are the shift from Xcalibure to Caerleon, to better fit known Arthurian myths. I also brought a heavier emphasis on Amie’s Pendraig heritage and gave many nods to Arthur’s Welsh origins. While many things have changed, the core bones and heart of this novel have not. I hope everyone enjoys the increased action and romance elements as well. It was so much fun to write.

This is partially what interested me in your story – how it arches back into Arthurian myth and lore – whilst finding it’s own roots within a fantastical world being built out of what you envisioned for your characters! I can definitely understand the growth you experienced as a writer re-visiting her original novel – as a fellow writer who went through Nanowrimo in 2008, the journey I took within the challenge was a journey back to ‘self’ wherein I re-discovered or rather, I re-claimed my own writerly soul! Sometimes, the best thing we can do as a writer is to take a firm step back and then, re-emerge into our fictional worlds years later and finding both the story and our imaginations renewed!

There are a few different genre designations attached to Silver Hollow – from ‘Magical Realism’ (a personal favourite) to Urban Fantasy (another lovely genre to explore) to Fantasy Romance – for readers like myself and others who move in and out of these genres, what can we expect to find which hones in on these three particular ones the most? In essence, how did you bring elements of Magical Realism into an Urban Fantasy experience with overtures of Fantasy Rom?

Silverwood responds: That’s a very good question! I didn’t originally set out to encompass all those things, but as this new edition grew, so did the themes. For example, the book begins very snugly in the Magical Realism genre. Amie is a normal woman with a normal life, living quietly in a sleepy town in East Texas. The magic appears in little hints until the defining moment that prompts her to action. This is also the point we begin to shift into Urban Fantasy, as Amie is fleeing the people out to kill her. The oddities around her increase as she is rescued by Emrys and led into Silver Hollow. The romance is much stronger in this edition, which I felt appropriate due to Amie’s age and her forgotten past. Perhaps the most fun aspect of Amie’s journey is how she begins in perfectly ordinary circumstances and ends in a fantasy stranger than fiction.

I truly did feel you were genre-bending this tale – of giving it true flight to become it’s own incantation on thematics, purpose and the dimensional shifts of how it would purport itself through it’s own thread of narrative guided by the characters who are on a quest of their own!

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And, of course, I was happy to hear about the sequels – the first of which is *forthcoming!* lateron in Autumn 2019!

As we start to watch you develop the Borderlands Saga – how many novels can we expect to see develop the series and are you planning on inserting novellas or shorts which work concurrently with the novels? Whose story is next in sequence and what can you share about the second release? As there is a hinting about a companion story involving the Blackbriar twins?

Silverwood responds: Like I mentioned before, I already have two sequels outlined and planned, but the scope of these characters and potential to explore other gates, even the other side of the veil are limitless. I would love to be writing this series ten years from now. I would love to include several short stories to tie into the main series. While I originally planned a companion novel about the Blackbriar twins, I’ve planned to give them a much bigger part to play in the sequel. It will be titled Blackbriar Cove and explore the Unseelie side of the story, featuring the twins’ perspectives alongside Amie as they’re drawn into the next stage of the Seelie vs. Unseelie conflict. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to write the twins’, especially Faye. She’s such a fun, direct character.

If I hadn’t read an anthology about the Seelie Court a few years back, I might not have realised exactly what you were referencing here – as previous to my reading of the anthology, I hadn’t known there was such a dichotomy of differences within fey culture, tradition, personality and the worlds in which they lived! They can be readily seen as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ but both classifications do not do them true justice in revealling their true natures either! Hence the differences in which Court they belong!

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During December, I happily shared keen insight into Silver Hollow from a linguistics and language viewpoint, which proved how much Silverwood and I have in common in regards to the stories we’re attracted to read and to write. This journey I’ve taken to understand “Silver Hollow” from the outside before becoming a reader of the story has been a beautiful one – when the #bookmail arrived with my copy of Silver Hollow, I was overjoyed and touched truly that the day had finally arrived to where I could soak my imagination inside this novel I had all but dreamt alive of the past year!

This is why I love seeking out stories of Fantasy – they take us on this otherworld journey – we get to purport ourselves out of our ordinary lives and enter into the fantastical – where anything and everything can happen. It is through reading Fantasy I find myself lit alive with a keener sense of wonderment and a lovely breath of curiosity for the unexpected. Fantasy has a way of deepening our understanding of modern reality as much as it eludes to the overtures of literature itself – where its the stories whose characters teach us the most about how to live.

The only thing I wished I could have done was taken a pause to allow the first part to soak through me a bit more and then return after a proper rest. Because of my recent blight with a supernova (ie. four day beastly migraine) as disclosed when I reviewed the latest Rocky Mountain Cowboys novel – I wasn’t able to linger within the story. I didn’t get to begin reading Silver Hollow until night fell on Tuesday and morning started to ink its way towards dawn on Wednesday morning. The joy for me though was having a head clear enough to read and a novel imaginatively intriguing which re-drew me out of the fog I felt I had lived in during the migraine! Both of these novels were well-timed from that point-of-perspective because they gave me an anchour back into STORIES.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect once I finally picked up Silver Hollow – as the reality of it was this was a story I had discussed the components and elements of to such a degree of familiarity, I simply wanted to pull back the curtain a bit – settle into the context of the novel and attempt to forget what I had learnt previously and re-enter this world with a hopeful expectation of the wondrous. Reading is a lovely journey and for me, I couldn’t wait to cross into the Borderlands!

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On my connection to Jennifer Silverwood:

When our paths first crossed, Ms Silverwood and I shared a mutual interest and connection; however, our friendship did not form for awhile afterwards. It was truly after the interview went live and after I noticed I was reading her blog as much as she was reading mine – where I realised we shared a lot of commonalities in our reading lives as well as our writely lives! We decided to stay in touch and it is an honour to find someone who understands the bridge between reader, blogger and writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Silverwood through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I hosted her Silver Hollow blog tour and privately as well. 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 or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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Blog Book Tour | “Silver Hollow” (Borderlands Saga, Book One) by Jennifer Silverwood This is a prime example of how you can nearly have dreamt a world into formation and then, by a lovely unexpected surprise get to transition directly into the world you’ve talked about for a year!Silver Hollow
Subtitle: Madness begets madness...
by Jennifer Silverwood
Source: Direct from Author

“I shouldn’t have to tell you this isn’t a fairy story…”

After her parents’ car crash ten years before, Amie Wentworth trusts books more than people. She may be a writer, but she believes in reality over fiction. She ignores the unexplained mysteries surrounding her, never mind the dreams of a past life, or the fact she can fry technology with a touch. Not even a timely invitation from her long-lost uncle in England gives Amie incentive for anything other than ire.

Until she is stabbed in an alley and brought back to life by a handsome stranger. Soon Amie is dragged into the very sort of tale she is used to selling. To make matters worse, the man who saved her life keeps turning up and her would-be-murderer is still at large.

After crossing the Atlantic to her father’s homeland, she discovers a world beyond imagining. Silver Hollow is a place of ancient traditions and supernatural dangers, where everything is the opposite of what it seems and few escape sane. Faced with an impossible choice, Amie is forced to confront a deadly family legacy while remembering a life she soon wishes to forget.

**Previously published in 2012.
This NEW EDITION has been FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED.
The original novel is now no longer available.**

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781513636887

Also by this author: Author Interview: Jennifer Silverwood (Silver Hollow), Stay, Book Spotlight: Borderlands Saga

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by Silverwood Sketches

on 22nd May, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 436

Published By: Silverwood Sketches

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SilverHollow &/or #BorderlandsSaga
+ #DarkFantasy, #FairyTale and #UrbanFantasy

About Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of two series—Heaven's Edge and Wylder Tales—and the stand-alone titles Stay and Silver Hollow.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dark Fantasy, Earthen Magic, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Near-Death Experience, Texas, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature, Xpresso Book Tours

#SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Shifty: Tales from the world of SAGE” (anthology) by Marian Allen

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission.

The following selection is part of the stories I am reading for #SpooktasticReads – which are curated to route me through the following genres of interest: Dark Fantasy, Cosy Horror, Paranormally inclined stories inasmuch as stories of Suspense, Thriller and Cosy Mysteries. 13 days to read the spooktacular stories we’re drawn inside leading into Halloween!

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Acquired Book By: One thing I love about being active in the bookish side of the twitterverse is being able to interact with authors. Ms Allen is one of the authors I first crossed paths with when I first started to interact with the authors and friends of Seventh Star Press back in Autumn of 2013 and the first six months of 2014 – when I was a 1st Year Book Blogger. Over the years, I have happily been following her writerly career, however it wasn’t until I accepted for review an anthology called: Gifts of the Magi from an author who I also knew of via Seventh Star Press (RJ Sullivan*) gave me the chance to become properly introduced to the collection of stories and the writers who wrote them a few years ago. I wasn’t able to review the anthology until January 2017 – giving my first introduction to the world of SAGE writ by Ms Allen.

(*) On my connection to Mr Sullivan and Ms Allen: 

I have reviewed stories by Mr Sullivan whilst hosting for Seventh Star Press via Tomorrow Comes Media or directly for the author himself. His writing style is one of the ones I happen to love reading and without being able to host blog tours for Seventh Star Press, I am unsure if I would have discovered his writings, Ms Chris (Garrison), AshleyRose Sullivan or Stephen Zimmer’s as well. They are one of my favourite Speculative Fiction publishers in the Indie market.

My path in the twitterverse crossed a few times with Ms Allen, especially in regards to events attached to Seventh Star Press, The Star Chamber Show or the Imaginarium (an annual writer’s convention); however, despite our paths crossing over the past five years since I first went on Twitter, I sadly haven’t had the chance to seek out one of her stories to read. Reading her short story “The Warmth of Midwinter” from the anthology ‘Gifts of the Magi’ was my first introduction to her craft of writing Fantasy fiction and from there, a conversation emerged between us how I could re-enter the world of SAGE.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Allen or Mr Sullivan during bookish events online or in convos via Twitter. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author, whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their series in sequence of publication.

Closer to the time I released  my review for ‘Gifts of the Magi’, Ms Allen and I were in communication and she offered for me to receive ‘Shifty’ the anthology of stories which also takes place in her world of SAGE. This anthology was released in print and thereby was a good option for me to continue reading her stories. I had fully intended to read this close to the time she sent it to me, however, for most of 2017 I was still adjusting to the first year of healing my father was undergoing after his stroke and for most of 2018 I was transitioning through my own set of health afflictions and issues. Autumn 2018 became the first time I could honestly focus on reading the stories within this anthology and I am so very thankful I could feature them during my co-hosted event called #SpooktasticReads which is an extension of my co-hosted event #WyrdAndWonder (@WyrdAndWonder) which celebrates the world of Fantasy.

I received a complimentary copy of “Shifty” by the author Marian Allen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-Visiting my Introduction to the world of SAGE:

I liked how Ms Allen pre-empted her story by asking the question ‘does time truly matter when it comes to stories that encircle your mind?’ to which I would aptly reply: not really!

What was quite stirring about this short, is how wicked interesting the world was where Ms Allen set her tale! To have food magically appearing in cookpots and having a hen produce eggs which whip up the delights of your foodie senses upon cracking them? Or rather, upon first crack of an egg – what you truly need might not even be food? It could be something dearly necessary (i.e. clothes) by which somehow your thoughts of willing an object or item to be ‘hatched’ is stirred inside the egg and thus, the egg produces what is needed. Who wouldn’t want to live there!? It would be a foodie’s dream or a baker’s delight – imagine if you could cull the magic to help you bake everything ‘right’ the first time you attempted a new recipe!? How fetching the aromas would be in that kitchen! Not to even mention how all the rudimentary necessary items would no longer be a worry because you’d always have exactly what you need!? I am sure there is more to this kind of magic, but on the onset of learning about it, how lovely it would be to know by cracking an egg, at least one immediate worry is dissolved?

There are two rather eccentric characters at the heart of this story – an elder man of unknown years and his equally elder grandmother; she is a bit more interesting because she’s attending the scene peripherally rather than centre-focused. You gather this man wouldn’t be housed in this particular part of his realm if circumstances hadn’t exiled him. From his grandmother, you sense he should be thankful for what he has now and not bitter about what he has lost in the past. They have an interesting duality to them.

The beauty of the tale is one of finding the moral ground to walk in a life of duty and honour, where the fine line between what is right or wrong might not be as clearly visible. It’s a good story to read at the holidays because of the truthfulness in being humble and forgiving; to err your wrongs and to find ways to affect other people’s lives for the good. You get so caught up in this short piece of literature, the ending comes far too soon!

I’d love to find out if this was a one-off or a connected story to one of Ms Allen’s series. I’m thinking it’s a one-off addition as per each story in the anthology, there is a footmark of where to ‘read’ next if you wanted to continue your appreciation of the author’s collective works you’ve been treated to viewing. This is how I knew about the series attached to the other authors and why I think this might be a gem of an extra rather than an inclusive piece to a series. Knowing that – the other question that sparked to mind, is which series should I seek out first after having appreciated this short!?

-quoted from my review of Gifts of the Magi (anthology)

As you can see I felt immediately connected to this world and how crafty Ms Allen was with the fantastical bits which were so dearly stitched into the heart of the story! You almost felt this short was fuller in scope than its short delivery allowed it to feel as there was a lot of world-building happening in the background! As this short is included in Shifty I won’t be re-reviewing it but I will be re-reading it as I move through the collection! I happily wanted to re-share my thoughts as a precursor to explain why I was so dearly excited about receiving Shifty and why Ms Allen’s fantastical style appealed to me in the first place!

This is why I will always contend the best way to feel introduced to a new writer is to seek out anthologies as the shorts and novellas contained within them have a depth of joy awaiting you! I realise not everyone feels this way, as over the years of declaring this joy of my own, other readers have found this to be a bit hit/miss for their own reading tastes. All I can say is that you just never know when you’ll find an anthology which will speak to you and within it, there is a chance a writer will capture your heart and your imagination. I hope we all get to continue reading those writers who ignite a joy of happiness through their shorts with longer works of fiction as they are developed and released! I know I have a long #mustread list myself now as a fifth year book blogger!

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Shifty
Subtitle: Tales from the world of Sage
by Marian Allen
Source: Direct from Author

Whether you've read Marian Allen's SAGE trilogy (The Fall of Onagros, Bargain with Fate, Silver and Iron) or not, you can dive right into these stories set in the same world. Some feature settings and characters from the trilogy, some explore lands and people only hinted at in the novels, but all are filled with strong characters and Fantasy.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1942166207

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction


Published by Per Bastet Publications

on 25th November, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 131

Published by: Per Bastet Publications (@PerBastetBooks)

Converse via: #DarkFantasy, #Fantasy and #HighFantasy

About Marian Allen

Marian Allen

Marian Allen was born in Louisville, Kentucky and now lives in rural Indiana. For as long as she can remember, she has loved telling and being told stories. She writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form.

Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, including multiple appearances in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s SWORD AND SORCERESS anthologies. Her latest books are the SAGE fantasy trilogy, her science fiction comedy of bad manners SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, her YA/NA paranormal suspense A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, her collection of science fiction stories OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS, and SHIFTY, her collection of fantasy stories set in the world of SAGE, and LONNIE, ME, AND…. her collection of humor, all from Per Bastet Publications.

She is a member of the Southern Indiana Writers Group.

Allen is married, with three step/adopted daughters and one birth daughter.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SpooktasticReads 2018
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Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dark Fantasy, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Haunting & Ethereal, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Short Stories or Essays, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery

#Sponsored by Center Street (Publisher) | #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “The Magic Cup” by Howard Behar An unexpected fantastical world percolating through a narrative speaking about the ethics of the world of business!

Posted Thursday, 31 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

This book review was sponsored by Hachette Books who provided me with a complimentary copy of the book “The Magic Cup” direct from their imprint Center Street (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: This marks the first post and/or review I am featuring on behalf of Hachette Books which now states this is ‘sponsored’ by the publisher. Kindly refer to my Review Policy where I disclosed the reasons why this new language of disclosure is being added to [jorielovesastory.com].

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Why I felt it necessary to preface this review with a note about current events:

By now, most of my readers (of Jorie Loves A Story) know I am a reader who has an active voice in the twitterverse and on her blog for civil rights and civil liberties, marriage equality, gender equality and social justice issues across the spectrum of what is currently affecting our lives living in the 21st Century. I initially read The Magic Cup in the early days of #wyrdandwonder – within the very first week of May. I had meant to post my reflections on it’s behalf closer to the time I had read it – if I had, this preface would not be warranted as it would have pre-dated what happened.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to make a conscience choice in what to feature and what to post in regards to current events – the sad bit is this story was writ by the ‘former’ President of Starbucks International, not the current President. To my knowledge, Howard Behar is fully retired from his association with the coffeehouse company – however, this doesn’t takeaway from the fact it grieved my heart as it did everyone else what happened with the civil rights of those men were violated. No one should have to endure or experience the kind of social injustice and prejudicial behaviour they did.

The reason I am choosing to release my ruminative thoughts on behalf of The Magic Cup is because it was quite literally one of my favourite stories I read for #wyrdandwonder. Releasing this review (at all) is never going to be the ‘right time’ to share it as the events of what happened will always be on the forefront of our minds and memories. The only way forward in life and in society is holding people accountable for their actions – something we have seen happen quite frequently of late – and I do hope, as a whole, Starbucks as a company will go back to the roots of their company’s foundations – as an openly inclusive meeting place where all members of local communities feel openly accepted to meet-up with friends, family, co-workers and the people they are working with on collaborative projects.

On a personal note – a copy of this book should be given to each employee in an effort to help them remember the legacy of Howard Behar’s tenure – as within The Magic Cup are the principles of both behaviour and the casualties of living against the moral principles each of us must choose to abide by or walk a long path towards personal enlightenment on how best to live with an open heart and mind in both our personal and business lives.

Therefore, I am choosing to share this story as a celebration of why I have happily co-hosted #wyrdandwonder this month of May, 2018 – it is to seek out the stories of the fantastical, sharing what derives a work to be a portal to #EnterTheFantastic and to give all of us an interesting purview of all the different ways in which Fantasy Literature can become explored through a writer’s vision of what ‘Fantasy’ can involve within their own imaginative thoughts threading into the genre itself.

Coincidentally, I did find this tweet s/o referencing an article which discloses his [Howard Behar] response on behalf of what happened recently. Wherein he does talk about how the company has strayed away from its founding principles and how difficult it is to see individual prejudices until a mistake is made thereby illuminating the behaviour which needs to be addressed and changed.

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What drew me into reading this story:

When I first learnt of this lovely book, I hadn’t quite realised it was writ with such a clever spin on the fantastical, as I originally thought it was a short Non-Fiction story rather than a narrative short spun on the principles and ethics you would expect to find in the the world of Business! From that perspective, what truly anchoured me to the story-line as I started reading it were the quiet moments of entry from the Fantasy angels which were superseding themselves into the pacing and tone of the overall journey Steadfast was taking towards becoming a better man.

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On how I Starbucked America

– from the Mid-West to the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast and Southern states

It is mentioned in the Foreword how the reason Starbucks was intentionally grown to become a cafe of community engagement was to curate a meeting space where people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic lifestyles could find a place to share a cuppa with their conversations – which flickered a light of truth in my own mind. This is the key reason I have loved ‘Starbucking across America’ (my mantra whilst road trekking) – you get to meet a lot of lovely people – from the baristas to the people sipping their lattes, to the telecommuters to the University students to the couples tucking in a date night in the middle of the week – you see a multitude of people in Starbucks.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting – the java is addictive (my personal favourite is the ‘cherry’ coffee latte), the sea salt hot chocolate is wicked sinful, the chai is the right level of spice and the green tea latte is as soul lifting as the fresh brewed teas.

I truly have Starbucked my way across America – from the Mid-West to the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast and Southern states – wherever I’ve travelled, the one constant has been the warmth of joy entering a Starbucks and knowing for a respite of time spent off the road, I’d have a lovely cuppa in my hand, a spontaneous conversation about to make me smile and a knowing sense that even if we don’t all agree on a lot of different topics of interest, the one thing which unites us is our love of tea and coffee!

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Reflections prior to reading the text:

There’s magic when a group of people is bound together with common purpose. It’s the chemistry of real people, doing the right things, with the right set of values. The journey to discover that magic – to create it with the people on our team – is what this tale is all about.

– quoted from The Magic Cup with permission of the publisher

I remember when I first spied this lovely little book – this little gem of a text which contains an uplifting jolt of spiritually renewing motivation to succeed not only in business but in life – as I was in the mindset of contemplating my ‘next move’ so to speak back in [2016]. I hail from a family of entrepreneurs – most have to go to University to gain a background in Business & Economics – I grew up in the shadows of business savvy parents and a grandfather who re-set the standard of business forms for his Corporate America company. Forget the MBA, I had real-life education before that became a new buzz word of innovative educational opportunities which seek to place you out in the real world to gain real experiences.

I also had the pleasure of attending a school in the city of my birth which suffered greatly by the budget cuts which corroded most of our favourite educational ‘extras’ (ie. art, shop, theatre, music, classroom pets/animals, field trips, etc) except it received a special invitation to attend a faux working city environment where children in elementary or middle school could ‘pretend’ to go to work for a week and see where they might ‘fit’ once they graduated high school. It was an interesting experience I had the joy of doing twice – once I worked at a pharmacy and the second go-round, I was part of the video team – an interviewer who had to go store to store, with a mic and not a lot of charisma or confidence, seeking a story I was inventing with each conversation I engaged within.

I worked in my father’s company from the age of three until eighteen – not consequentially (laughs) but as a toddler I was the right height to deliver certain things pertaining to my father’s business whilst gaining a unique perspective on the lighter side of his Industry. (Remember, I’ve previously said my father worked in the field opposite of the city morgue.)

From these roots – I knew I was going to enjoy working – except finding my niche out in the world of Business has had a rocky start as I came out of the gate slightly over-qualified for most entry level positions due to the knowledge I had gleamed by observation, real-life applications and having a keen mind for organisational affairs across a wide spectrum of industries not limited to the ones my family was involved.

It took me awhile to sort things out – even now as a 5th Year Book Blogger – the more information I’ve gained about the book world, the more I’ve sorted out where I fit within the world of publishing; startling enough, it isn’t quite where I first felt I would embark into the next chapter of my journey as a writer! In effect, the vision I had five years ago has altered, morphed through experience and taken a new course – one I am very happy to be researching right now.

Meanwhile, whilst I’ve been my father’s caregiver for the past year and a half since he survived his moderate bilateral stroke (see also Post) I’ve had a lot of time to consider what I want to do in regards to launching myself into trade and commerce. I sort of knew I should be my own boss – own my own companies, diversify my portfolio of investments and carve out the path I’m meant to walk rather than follow in other people’s footsteps.

I’ve been a natural bourne leader since I was in pre-school when I befriended a (presumed) mute boy who turnt out to be shy and was quite vocal by year’s end – my friendship opened his heart and gave him a reason to ‘talk’. No one else stepped forward to show him the kindness of friendship – so imagine, my chatty self taking him round the school, engaging him in our activities and never leaving his side. In return, I heard his ‘heart-notes’ of gratitude and felt joyful in spirit I was making a difference in his life as he frowned less and smiled more with each passing day. I continued to stand apart from my peers as I grew in school wherein I also skipped my slated graduation class and opted to exit high school on my own terms ahead of schedule.

The best freedom in life is owning your own truth – sorting out your own path – trusting your instincts and living through your faith. It’s never easy to go the route no one else is taking – to dig deep into yourself, believing your on the right path even if it feels arduously opposite of what everyone else your age is doing – at the end of the day, you have to return back to centre and realise your life is meant to yield different results. Not everyone can follow after each other – we’re all individuals – we all have adventures and experiences to seek out which define who we are but also, how we interpret the reasons why we are here. We all have a purpose – if we hold onto that truth, we can never fail to be living the life we’re supposed to be embracing. Even if we’re non-conventional and alternative to the general populace – there’s a reason why we stand out and seek a different path.

When I saw this book – I felt an re-awakening in my mind and heart – I have been contemplating what to do professionally for a long while – as I put my life on hold for my family when health crises overtook our lives, where immediate family members were facing difficult crossroads and where a grand-daughter was needed to stay close to home. Through it all, I’ve had my eye on a diversity of fields as much as my heart flutters aglow with the joys of philanthropic interests – I always knew part of my life was going to be devouted in equal parts between professional pursuits and my work in charity. In essence, the term ‘socially conscience’ companies was something I was contemplating before they birthed the term to give back to others whilst lifting up your own business – as it goes back to the adage – it takes a village.

As I have talked about why I love Starbucks, I’ll move on by saying I love pro-positive inspirators (my term!) who seek to motivate others to follow in their wake – to lit a fire of hope and inspiration in others who might be wondering if they can accomplish a similar goal in their own lives. For this seed of insight, I felt I would appreciate reading The Magic Cup.

To refer back to the quotation from the book – as it works as a preface of sorts for what your about to read – what we can accomplish together with a singular focus of creating with purpose is definitively magical indeed! Or to put it a different way – for each of our cup of truths, we each serve as both the Light to inspire another forward and the encourager of joy who seeks to celebrate the serendipitous nature of life.

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#Sponsored by Center Street (Publisher) | #WyrdAndWonder Book Review  | “The Magic Cup” by Howard Behar An unexpected fantastical world percolating through a narrative speaking about the ethics of the world of business!The Magic Cup
Subtitle: A Business Parable about A Leader, A Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First
by Howard Behar
Source: Direct from Publisher

We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we’ve often heard that nice guys finish last.

Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the Starbucks organization most definitely proves that nice guys finish first. In THE MAGIC CUP, Behar spins an engaging corporate tale to teach us exactly how we can do the same thing.

The story revolves around Vince Steadfast, the newly named CEO of imaginary manufacturer Verity Glassworks, which has fallen on difficult times. Vince is hired to help the once iconic company return to its glory days, and he brings with him a parting gift from his mentor and former boss: a stunning crystal coffee cup from Verity’s halcyon days. The cup turns out to be magic – truly – and helps him come to understand and reinvigorate the values that Verity has misplaced along the way.

In the tradition of great parable writers throughout history, Behar quickly involves us in an engrossing fantasy, continually challenging us to compare each situation with our own real-life experiences. The story of THE MAGIC CUP helps each of us discover that only by acting on sound moral principles can we fill our own cups with the personal and professional success and satisfaction we seek.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

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ISBN: 9781478947479

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Non-Fiction, Sci-Fantasy, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation, Short Story or Novella, Urban Fantasy


Published by Center Street

on 14th November, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Published by: Center Street (@centerstreet.com)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #INSPYbooks & #NonFiction as well as #wyrdandwonder & #Fantasy #shortstory

About Howard Behar

Howard Behar Photo Credit Lisi Wolf Photography

HOWARD BEHAR is a renowned business leader, author, speaker, and mentor. He served at Starbucks for a combined twenty-one years as both an officer and a board member. He was the president of North America and the founding president of Starbucks International. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Lynn, where he is able to spend time with his children and grandchildren.

Photo Credit: Lisi Wolf Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Thursday, 31 May, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, CenterStreet, Christianity, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Futuristic Fantasy, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Shapeshifters, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy