Category: Shapeshifters

#ADayeAMonth | Book Review of “Rosemary & Rue” (book one: October Daye series) by Seanin McGuire

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

#ADayeAMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tim Mossholder (Creative Commons Zero)

Co-host | @FoxesFairyTale | Discussion *threads for Twitter

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Borrowed Book By: I’ve been consistantly borrowing “Rosemary & Rue” either through my local library and/or through ILL (inter-library loan) since January, 2019. I can’t even begin to remember how many times I’ve had a paperback copy of this novel on my shelf “to be read” – wherein, during January I only managed to read the first four or five chapters before my migraines disrupted my readings. I finally had a chance to extend my last local borrow of this novel until the 10th of June – re-reading those initial chapters starting on the 4th of June and thankfully being able to complete my readings of the novel before it was due back [again!].

I was not obligated to post a review in conjunction with this readalong however similar to my joy of sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the #smallangryplanet RAL I participated in November, 2018 – I decided to blog my thoughts as I move through the October Daye series. Ironically, both of these series were not ones I might have picked to read myself and am thankful for the RALs and my two co-hosts (ie. Lisa @deargeekplace for #smallangryplanet + Lou @foxesfairytale) for encouraging me to take a full step outside my zones of comfort to embrace these series. I am sharing my honest reactions whilst I read “Rosemary and Rue” which was able to be done was I borrowed the well-read paperback copy from my local library system. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I decided to read #OctoberDaye:

Strictly speaking, my love of Urban Fantasy is the key reason I agreed to read the October Daye series combined with the fact I stumbled across the series on my own not that long ago but never actually picked up the series to read. I am uncertain if it was because I was still considering whether or not this series was actually #notmycuppa or just slightly on the upper tier of a series I could get invested into is uncertain. All I knew is when Louise pitched the idea via Twitter to host this readalong in the New Year, I felt ‘why on earth not?’

I’ve taken a lot of chances on the books I am reading – either by suggestion and/or personal wanderings within sub-niches of beloved genres or new extensions of genres I’ve previously not had the joy of sorting out if I would appreciate them or just avoid like the plaugue. Either way, I knew October Daye might either a) become a challenging read for me OR b) become a series I would really feel connected inside and for whichever reason get a wicked lot of #bookJOY out of particpating in this randomly inspired RAL for 2019.

The only downside is I never realised how LONG it would take me to actually OPEN the book (ie. the first book, mind!) and get myself firmly settled into Toby’s world. #neversawthatcoming! Secondly, the other angst in my umbrella was the fact I couldn’t contribute to the Qs for the discussion *threads Louise was kindly assembling for us and my distance in the DM convo which has been evolving through the series since we became the ragtag team of readers discussing this Urban Fantasy has been quite impressively *active!* whilst I’ve been hanging in the margins of it for far, far too long.

This Summer – rather than re-queue an attempt to devour #20BooksOfSummer because the two years I had an #epicfail of that was not enough to dissway my re-attempt at the challenge – I decided this Summer 2019, I’d rather focus on a few other things such as a) #ADayAMonth RAL, b) #ReadingValdemar RAL, c) my extensive backlogue of reviews and d) devouring a bit of my #SpooktasticReads #WyrdAndWonder choices ahead of October as a precursor of having some of those featured in the opening days of the event rather than falling further behind like I had this past May. Ooh, and did I mention JUNE is #AudiobookMonth!? No. Hmm. How did I forget THAT?!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Rosemary and Rue Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Rosemary and Rue
Subtitle: An October Daye novel
by Seanan McGuire
Source: Borrowed from local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0756405717

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by DAW Books

on 1st September, 2009

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 368

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The stories #JorieReads this Summer
for the #ADayeAMonth readalong:

#ADayeAMonth banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer JR Korpa

Book One: Rosemary & Rue | (see also Lou’s Review)
Book Two: A Local Habitation
Book Three: An Artifical Night
Book Four: Late Eclipses | (see 3x mini Lou’s Reviews)
Book Five: One Salt Sea
Book Six: Ashes of Honour
Book Seven: Chimes at Midnight
Book Eight: The Winter Long

Legend: (avail via ILL) + (avail via local library)
+ (after book five OR eight I’ll rejoin the RAL group)

(*) as unsure as I am about how quickly I can get the missing books I need to be reading in order to ‘catch’ my group as their reading Six (June), Seven (July) and Eight (August) – I decided to plan ahead to where I’d either be right as rain by the end of whichever month this Summer I am able to get all the books I need through the borrowing routes I have available to me.

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook, Ebook and Mass Market

Converse via: #ADayeAMonth (this RAL) + #OctoberDaye (the series)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Cats and Kittens, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Immortals, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book three] “Unbearable Magic” by Leanne Leeds

Posted Friday, 17 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Leanne Leeds – of whom has penned a rather interesting Cosy Mystery series – wherein her lead character is a witch and the whole series is rooted out of her love of carnivals and her past experience of them. What intrigued me the most is how this is a Paranormal Fantasy Cosy series and I was thinking it would make a perfect series to curl up inside during #WyrdAndWonder!!

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Unbearable Magic” direct from the author Leanne Leeds in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: I didn’t realise until I was working on releasing the rest of my Magical Midway reviews (belatedly due to my four migraines this month and the aftermath that wrecked on me) that I somehow missed the fact the author’s name was not spelt correctly in the title of my first review nor in the url; having promoted the link on Twitter several times, I decided to let it stand in the url but I’ve corrected the title error. I didn’t realise this as like I said, I had four migraines this May and my recovery from them has been rather difficult. I simply didn’t catch it. My apologies to the author and my readers for that error as I always strive to catch my copy editing mistakes before I promote my posts. Sadly this one snuck past me.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Why I am *loving!* my discovery
of the Magical Midway serires:

I was dearly looking forward to my return visit to the Magical Midway – I liked the world Leeds was building for me to re-explore and deepen my appreciation for the discovery of how a circus and carnival full of paranormals (of the animal variety) would take me on their next adventure! I almost felt Charlotte would go through a period of growth in my absence – as she’s a gifted (herein I refer to the fact she was given an incredible power boost!) witch who inherited the Midway from her Uncle. Clearly I was overly ambitious for her as when I started to re-visit with her, I noticed Gunther (the sweet bloke whose father runs the competition to hers: the Makepeace Circus) was losing his temper with her just a bit as magic comes easy to him but to Charlotte, everything is a new experience; with a steep learning curve!

Honestly… it did not surprise me Uncle Phil was trying to takeover Charlotte’s role at the Midway, either! He had a rather larger than life personality to begin with and his sense of duty to the Midway is bar none to others sense of obligation. The fact he still wants to remain an active part of the Midway and therefore inflicting a bit of unease in Charlotte as she’s unfortunately finding her role less than stellar at this point – felt a bit fitting. The series overall is about facing your challenges head-on, finding that the greatest courage is the belief you have in your own abilities and aligning yourself with positive friends who become as close to you as your own family. The series has a lot of heart inside it and I couldn’t wait to see how Charlotte would thrive through this next challenging circumstance she was about to meet mere months after she solved her first murder!

As we re-align into her life, we are met with some of the parafriends of hers feeling as if she’s disowned her own inheritance and also, that she’s in danger of becoming an elitist. At least by witchy standards as she is in the one group of paratalented individuals who had the upper hand in their world for quite a long while now. It was the witches who overruled everyone else and that lent itself to becoming a problem to her closest friends. Each of them a different species and/or talented in a way which showcased the diversity of the Magical Midway itself. Yet, despite their openness to welcoming Charlotte into their group, these new friends proved the point about how if you grow up offworld from the Midway, you really have a huge gap in your education in regards to what paranormals go through and how they must endure the obstacles put in front of them.

You know, I really disliked those terrible three witches in the first meeting we had with them but this second meeting!? They really do take the cake! Mina, Mercy and Mabel are the kind of witches who make your skin crawl because they don’t have an ounce of warmth in their heart; cold-hearted the whole lot of them! I was as outraged as Charlotte hearing their ridiculous claims against two of the performers at the Midway; then again, when exactly were they enthralled with anything Charlotte did or said or even defended?

Gunter and Charlotte are now arriving in that awkward stage in their relationship between trusting each other and keeping a healthy dose of distrust alive instead. It would be helpful to them both if his father wasn’t quite as harsh as it is but in another way of looking at it, Gunter could do himself a favour by confiding in Charlotte. That would strike a better balance than Charlotte constantly feeling as if Gunter was purposefully keeping her a step removed from anything remotely connected to her or the Magical Midway.

It never fails to surprise me the layers of authority within the Midway – even though Charlotte has the most authoritative control over the circus itself, what she can’t overrule are the individual hierarchies within the circus per each species represented. This becomes a bit of a sticking point each time something arises which needs to be addressed as Charlotte can only intervene ‘so far’ before she is naturally overruled or reminded that it isn’t her place to make that kind of judgement. In this instance, it is the werelions and their pride which rankles you a bit because although the girls’ in the pride are more friendly towards their fellow paranormals, its their leader Leo who could use with a douse of reality in regards to ‘how not to behave badly’.

What is almost at the crucial breaking point is Charlotte’s relationship with Samson, her familiar (the cat) – between his snarky remarks whenever she is confused about something integral to the circus itself or the ways in which he believes he’s helping to influence her mind about an immediate threat; he rubs her the wrong way for how his self-inflated ego doesn’t allow him to come down from the rafters very often to relate to her on equal ground. He definitely still believes she’s the wrong choice for the job and his impatience with her is actively on display. He simply loves to put her in place and make her feel as if she doesn’t have the upper hand at her own circus!

I felt like cheering for Charlotte! She broached such a strong point about complacency and how rules which were never challenged could become your undoing. She was becoming a voice of reason, logical intervention and a person who saw the benefit in not subscribing to the past as a direct indication of how the future needed to necessarily play out. In other words, Charlotte was starting to shake things up quite a heap in the paranormals world at the Midway for her out-of-the-box thinking, her forward visions of how life could be lived and how she refused to accept that just because something was an ancient rule didn’t necessarily mean everyone had to continue to blindly adhere to it now. This felt like she was not just finding her wings as a ringmaster for the Midway but she was benefiting from being raised on Earth.

-quoted from my review of Life on the Lion

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book three] “Unbearable Magic” by Leanne LeedsUnbearable Magic
Subtitle: Magical Midway Cozy Paranormal Mysteries Book Three
by Leanne Leeds
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

A grizzly discovery.
A false accusation.
Can the most powerful witch on earth make the truth appear – before she disappears?

When the Magical Midway takes a week off to attend the Werebear Jamboree, Charlotte is grateful for a relaxing vacation away from the Witches’ Council attacks and all the problems they seem determined to bring. But when the werebear leader is murdered during the festival, all eyes turn suspiciously toward the most powerful witch in their midst.

With accusations coming from every corner and a conspiracy closing in around her, Charlotte and her friends realize that someone is determined to make her take the fall for the ghastly crime. But who? Can she unmask the real villain before she’s handed over to the Witches’ Council, punished for a crime she didn’t commit?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781717839657

Also by this author: Witchiest Circus on Earth, Life on the Lion

Also in this series: Witchiest Circus on Earth, Life on the Lion


Genres: Cosy Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by Badchen Publishing

on 19th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 286

Published by: Badchen Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #MagicalMidway + #Paranormal #Fantasy

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Magical Midway series:

The Magical Midway series is a paranormal cozy mystery series with eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, sweet romance subplots, and twisty mysteries. If you like eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, and twisty mysteries, then you’ll love this paranormal cozy mystery.

Be sure to visit the Synopsis for these stories on the author’s site!

Charlotte & Aidan (prequel short) | Synopsis

The Witchest Circus on Earth (book one) | see also review

Life on the Lion (book two) | see also review

Unbearable Magic (book three) | Synopsis

Go for the Juggler (book four) | Synopsis

Irrelephant Omens (book five) | Synopsis

→ A Call to Charms (book six) *forthcoming 2019 | Synopsis

About Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds writes sweet, fun, often romantic but always fast-paced paranormal mysteries, fantasies, and romances. She lives in rural Texas with her husband, daughter, and a house full of cats that would sound like Samson if they could talk.

----

Letter to Readers

Thanks for visiting this book blogger whose reading my stories during #WyrdAndWonder! (be sure to follow the tag in the twitterverse for her updates!) I guess you want to know a bit more than the standard blurb above, hmm?

Well, okay then.

I wrote my first book when I was eight years old – it was, essentially, Trixie Belden fan fiction. Written in pencil and stapled together with a sketch on the front, I was quite proud of my ragged chapbook of a mystery. The desire to write books followed me all the way to The College of Staten Island, where I majored in English with an option in Writing…

…until I dropped out to join the circus. Because, like, why not?

Okay, well, not the circus. I was a production assistant for a stage hypnotist as well as a carnie worker in a variety of food joints touring the Eastern seaboard fair circuit. The experience was relatively short but incredibly impactful on my worldview. Though I went limping back to my apartment in New York broke and had to get a “real job”, I maintained a lifelong fascination with eccentric, alternative and extraordinary lifestyles.

This came in handy in my forties when I was laid off from a large publicly traded company in the middle of mass-layoffs that massacred the careers of nearly everyone I knew—at least for a short time. It was a frustrating end to a 20+ year career in an industry I had once loved but which I now… didn’t. That experience made me realize that I was ready to leave my twenty plus years in management and tech and do something different.

I returned to my childhood dreams of being an eccentric storyteller and living my best weird life. The Magical Midway series was written as a nod to my experience with the showman of the east coast, and their incredible influence on me. I have plans for more paranormal-themed cozies, fantasies, and romances as time goes on, and I tend to produce one book every 2-3 months. These have minimal sexual content (in case that’s important to you).

For dedicated fans, there will always be at least a week-long 99¢ pre-order phase on new books as a thank you. These are announced on the newsletter only, so if you’re interested in getting every future ebook under a buck, sign up!

Thanks for going on this journey with me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 17 May, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Witches and Warlocks

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book two] “Life on the Lion” by Leanne Leeds

Posted Friday, 10 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Leanne Leeds – of whom has penned a rather interesting Cosy Mystery series – wherein her lead character is a witch and the whole series is rooted out of her love of carnivals and her past experience of them. What intrigued me the most is how this is a Paranormal Fantasy Cosy series and I was thinking it would make a perfect series to curl up inside during #WyrdAndWonder!!

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Life on the Lion” direct from the author Leanne Leeds in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: I didn’t realise until I was working on releasing the rest of my Magical Midway reviews (belatedly due to my four migraines this month and the aftermath that wrecked on me) that I somehow missed the fact the author’s name was not spelt correctly in the title of my first review nor in the url; having promoted the link on Twitter several times, I decided to let it stand in the url but I’ve corrected the title error. I didn’t realise this as like I said, I had four migraines this May and my recovery from them has been rather difficult. I simply didn’t catch it. My apologies to the author and my readers for that error as I always strive to catch my copy editing mistakes before I promote my posts. Sadly this one snuck past me.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Why I am *loving!* my discovery
of the Magical Midway serires:

I love how Leeds inserts her humour straight-off the bat – from how she first describes Charlotte arriving at the Midway and then, how she counters her reflective mirror on Charlotte a full week into the carnival life – wherein, you note how the lifestyle can take a toll on the person living it. It is raw honesty about the long hours and the taxing way the life can make a person feel exhausted in their bones and spirit but also, the humour can be added to cut the seriousness of it as well.

Knowing there is a story involving a lion in the series, I was curious if Uncle Phil mentioning Charlotte should tame them might be a foreshadow of events yet to come. If so, I love how the continuity of the series is immediately visual on the page – especially considering I hadn’t even finished reading the first chapter! Series which own their own world-building and have a proper development ahead of being written speak well of themselves. They make you feel as if the world your first stepping into is not just fully realised but it has already owned its own identity by which you simply have to make the transition as you move inside it. This spoke well of Leeds being able to pull us through her vision and to adjust our impression of how she wanted us to interact with her characters.’

There is a heap of plausible theoretic insight into how Leeds is shaping her world within the Magical Midway – from how there is a division between the humans and the paranormals (as she prefers to call the magical folk and creatures who inhabit her world) to how lifestyles which were once cherished and treasured are now amongst the least understood. It is a fitting augmentation of our own world – where those who lived a more unconventional and transient life in the world of carnivals and circuses suddenly found their centuries old profession to be viewed under a microscope of criticism.

When it came to the Cosy aspects of the story-line, I liked how we took a bit of a naive entrance into the Midway and the Witches Council because it added layers of intrigue into how little Charlotte understood of this world. It was a credit to the foundation of how Charlotte was raised ‘away’ from her heritage and how much she needed to learn on the job if she were going to make any headway at all at understanding what had happened. Traditionally cosy, we hug close to Charlotte as she attempts to unearth the clues she needs to put together a reasonable understanding of the crime which was committed seemingly without anyone observing any wrong doing – this puts us front and centre at the Midway but also lends a new perspective of the Midway to Charlotte.

Although this is a Paranormal Fantasy Cosy Mystery – the world has attributes of recognition from our own modern realm. This includes a lot of hot topics of the hour – from currently used buzz words such as being ‘woke’ about Women’s Rights to the right to proper Equality between genders and a movement towards a future without the adversities of the past. There are keen moments of insight about how the constructs of this world are not a mirror per se of our world but they are influenced by our world or rather, each world in of itself is struggling with the same issues found in each others’ realms. Which means to say, there is still quite a bit to be understood in the Midway world which is countered against Charlotte’s upbringing in ours.

There are certain unique moments within the story where we can see the humour of Leeds shining through – especially considering how often a rainbow of colours is fused to a particular magical moment. The magic in this series is bright, vibrant and colourful – though not always benign, it has a way of presenting itself rather spectacularly! This was a lovely light read within a paranormal world which is letting you see past the veil of how it exists. I liked the cosy atmosphere of how Leeds paced the story-line and even though I had a suspicion of whom was the guilty party, she turnt the tables on me in regards to what the plausible motive would have been! Overall, I learnt I want to re-visit this circus and dig a bit deeper into how the world behind the Magical Midway works – as the truer mystery is how the witches and paranormals co-exist at the circus when no one truly understands the finer points of their own living histories. That, for me, is what caused me to cheer for a sequel – as I had a feeling – the closer Charlotte evolves towards a more confident ringmaster, the closer we’ll become towards understanding the hidden truths of her world.

-quoted from my review of The Witchiest Circus on Earth

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book two] “Life on the Lion” by Leanne LeedsLife on the Lion
Subtitle: Magical Midway Cozy Paranormal Mysteries Book Two
by Leanne Leeds
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

A missing mentalist.
A magical ultimatum.
To save the family business, one witch must pull something spectacular out of her hat.

For newly-minted witch Charlotte, moving from the human realm to life in the magical circus is still a tightrope walk. But when the crooked Witches’ Council passes a law that gives her a week to hand over two of her friends, she wonders if she’s in for a big fall. To make matters worse, one of the humans in question goes missing before she can even think up a plan.

As she sorts through the clues, she fights off her feelings for the kind and handsome Gunther. With time running out, she can’t ignore the possibility that her crush could somehow be involved in the plot against her family. To protect her business and her life, she’ll have to find the carny, guard her heart, and hold off the Council before it’s far too late.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781983063817

Also by this author: Witchiest Circus on Earth, Unbearable Magic

Also in this series: Witchiest Circus on Earth, Unbearable Magic


Genres: Cosy Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by Badchen Publishing

on 2nd June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 232

Published by: Badchen Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #MagicalMidway + #Paranormal #Fantasy

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Magical Midway series:

The Magical Midway series is a paranormal cozy mystery series with eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, sweet romance subplots, and twisty mysteries. If you like eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, and twisty mysteries, then you’ll love this paranormal cozy mystery.

Be sure to visit the Synopsis for these stories on the author’s site!

Charlotte & Aidan (prequel short) | Synopsis

The Witchest Circus on Earth (book one) | see also review

Life on the Lion (book two) | Synopsis

Unbearable Magic (book three) | Synopsis

Go for the Juggler (book four) | Synopsis

Irrelephant Omens (book five) | Synopsis

→ A Call to Charms (book six) *forthcoming 2019 | Synopsis

About Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds writes sweet, fun, often romantic but always fast-paced paranormal mysteries, fantasies, and romances. She lives in rural Texas with her husband, daughter, and a house full of cats that would sound like Samson if they could talk.

----

Letter to Readers

Thanks for visiting this book blogger whose reading my stories during #WyrdAndWonder! (be sure to follow the tag in the twitterverse for her updates!) I guess you want to know a bit more than the standard blurb above, hmm?

Well, okay then.

I wrote my first book when I was eight years old – it was, essentially, Trixie Belden fan fiction. Written in pencil and stapled together with a sketch on the front, I was quite proud of my ragged chapbook of a mystery. The desire to write books followed me all the way to The College of Staten Island, where I majored in English with an option in Writing…

…until I dropped out to join the circus. Because, like, why not?

Okay, well, not the circus. I was a production assistant for a stage hypnotist as well as a carnie worker in a variety of food joints touring the Eastern seaboard fair circuit. The experience was relatively short but incredibly impactful on my worldview. Though I went limping back to my apartment in New York broke and had to get a “real job”, I maintained a lifelong fascination with eccentric, alternative and extraordinary lifestyles.

This came in handy in my forties when I was laid off from a large publicly traded company in the middle of mass-layoffs that massacred the careers of nearly everyone I knew—at least for a short time. It was a frustrating end to a 20+ year career in an industry I had once loved but which I now… didn’t. That experience made me realize that I was ready to leave my twenty plus years in management and tech and do something different.

I returned to my childhood dreams of being an eccentric storyteller and living my best weird life. The Magical Midway series was written as a nod to my experience with the showman of the east coast, and their incredible influence on me. I have plans for more paranormal-themed cozies, fantasies, and romances as time goes on, and I tend to produce one book every 2-3 months. These have minimal sexual content (in case that’s important to you).

For dedicated fans, there will always be at least a week-long 99¢ pre-order phase on new books as a thank you. These are announced on the newsletter only, so if you’re interested in getting every future ebook under a buck, sign up!

Thanks for going on this journey with me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 10 May, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Witches and Warlocks

#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

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

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