Category: Gaming

Book Review | “Should Have Played Poker” by Debra H. Goldstein with an interview about writing #CosyMysteries

Posted Thursday, 21 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to review “Should Have Played Poker” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary ARC copy of Should Have Played Poker from the publicist at JKS in exchange for an honest review.  I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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This is a double-showcase for Cosy Mystery author, Debra H. Goldstein: wherein I am first revealling my impressions on behalf of her novel whilst immediately sharing the questions which came to mind to enquiry on her behalf about writing Cosies and where she’d like to take her stories hereafter. Her novel ‘Should Have Played Poker’ celebrated it’s #bookbirthday & #PubDay on the 20th of April, 2016.

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Book Review | “Should Have Played Poker” by Debra H. Goldstein with an interview about writing #CosyMysteriesShould Have Played Poker
Subtitle: A Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg players mystery
by Debra H. Goldstein
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

“Should Have Played Poker” introduces Carrie Martin and her fellow sleuths, the Sunshine Village retirement home Mah Jongg players, as they work to uncover the mystery behind her mother’s murder.

Carrie’s life as a young corporate lawyer who is balancing her job and visiting her father at the retirement home is upset when her mother unexpectedly returns 26 years after abandoning her family. Her mother leaves her with a sealed envelope and the confession that she once considered killing Carrie’s father. Before Carrie opens the envelope, she finds her mother murdered and the woman who helped raise her seriously injured.

Instructed to leave the detective work to the police, Carrie and the ladies in the retirement home’s Mah Jongg circle attempt to unravel Wahoo, Alabama’s past secrets, putting Carrie in danger and at odds with a former lover – the detective assigned to her mother’s case.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781432831592

Series: Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg players


Genres: Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction


Published by Five Star Publishing

on 20th April, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 244

Published By: Five Star Publishing, (Facebook) an imprint of Gale Group
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

Order of connection (story and/or characters): the setting of the University of Michigan was originally introduced in Goldstein’s debut novel “Maze in Blue” where some of the characters also made their first appearance. The Mah Jongg players at the retirement home originally were highlighted in the short story “Legal Magic”. Therefore this is the third installment of connective threads of either setting, story or characters by Goldstein.

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My Review of Should Have Played Poker:

Curiously, Carrie’s mother re-enters her life after twenty-six years apart from her (which is quite colossal if you consider Carrie’s only nine and twenty years!) giving her daughter a thin veil of a hint towards why she exited her life and chose this particular moment to make amends with the explanation she was always due to receive. You can feel the emotional shift in the room whilst Carrie and her mother are having this short conversation, one that doesn’t lend well to length as how do you knit together a connection with someone who is still withholding information? I was surprised Carrie kept quiet and did not explode outright as her mother walked out the door, leaving behind a letter and silence.

Her feelings abate whilst she absorbs the void of disclosure, Carrie moves forward with her day settling into a rhythm of work and personal time off the clock where she visits her father at a retirement home. It’s here where she’s put together a new kind of family, wherein she has garnished the familiarity of the residents and have found a welcoming nod of acceptance amongst them. One in particular is a old favourite of her childhood – a librarian and her father has taken his residency here as a blessing, as he has Alzheimer’s which slowly erodes his memory and faculties. Whilst she makes her way to her father’s room, you could say she’s jolted for a loop twice in one day with circumstances surrounding her mother! So much so, I’m quite sure Carrie will feel quite undone by the time the hours dissolve off the clock and the shock wears off where the only thing that remains are her thoughts and her unresolved anguish. Read More

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Posted Thursday, 21 April, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Mahjong, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships

Blog Book Tour | “Blue Spirit: A Tipsy #fairytale” by E. Chris Garrison The author I happily chatted with on #blogtalkradio and cheer for on #JLASblog!

Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Blue Spirit” genre-bending fairy-tale fantasy release tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media, however, the author and I have continued our friendship since we first interacted via The Star Chamber Show (which I’ll expand on in a moment). Ms Chris asked if I would be keen on being involved in her blog tour for “Blue Spirit” after I had happily read about Skye & Minnie’s adventure in the anthology release “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court” wherein I positively expressed my joy in reading “Seelie Goose”. I was happy to be notified in time to participate as I love her quirky style of comedic fantasy!

I received a complimentary copy of “Blue Spirit” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On my connection to E. Chris Garrison:

I first discovered Garrison’s style of story-telling when we both appeared on the Star Chamber Show, which is a weekly podcast on BlogTalkRadio sponsored by the publisher Seventh Star Press. Since our first encounter with each other, we’ve developed a friendship I am blessed to have and I appreciate getting to know a bit more about an author whose not only developing a unique style in the world of Fantasy but is receptive to the thoughts readers have as they gain impression by reading the stories themselves.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Garrison through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. For more information, I disclosed a bit more on my first 10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts (read No.7!).

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Why I love Skye MacLeod | whilst finding her writ two different ways:

I am familiar with Garrison’s character Skye from my previous reading of Virtual Blue, however, at that particular point in time I had not realised the full scope of Skye’s character! You see, Skye was ‘lent on loan’ to Sullivan in order to create the Urban Fantasy story in which I reviewed on a previous blog tour! I remember reading about the ‘Seelie Goose’, as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story will recognise that I also hosted a Cover Reveal for Garrison and around that point in time or thereabouts I became familiar with the short story I now have happily read! For one thing, the comic brilliance of the anarchy of the fairy-tale world spun into reckless flight of an attempt to stop a wedding was most keen indeed! – quoted from my review of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Going into reading Seelie Goose was a bit unique because I had this strong impression about Skye from Virtual Blue and coincidentally, it’s that original impression that led to my further curiosity in wanting to read Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy wherein the connections continue! (especially in regards to Rebecca Burton!) You could say, two authors have bewitched me with one character whose attributes and mannerisms switch-up a bit per each writerly voice whose narrating her individual stories! It’s quite the journey for me as a reader and a happy challenge as a book blogger – as each time Skye appears in a story, she’s not quite as she was from one installment to the next! Two sides of a coin and individualistically unique!

Let’s recap the particulars, shall we? Skye was a supporting character in Virtual Blue whereas she takes the lead in Garrison’s stories; on the other hand, Garrison is borrowing Phil and Rebecca Burton for the sequel to Blue Spirit! (further tidbit: the Transit King (he’s with Skye on the bus!) was spotlighted as a cameo in Haunting Obsession!) Meanwhile, I get the pleasure of reading more of Burton myself when I pick up Whimsy! Except it doesn’t stop there – no! Skye was originally introduced in Sinking Down where Garrison found a way to merge her between the Road Ghosts + Tipsy Fairy Tale series by offering to cross-over the characters/story-lines. *whew!*

A short note from Ms Chris:

TK also appears in 3 stories in a self published Christmas anthology of speculative fiction that RJ, John F. Allen, and I put together last year called Gifts of the Magi. He’s in my own Christmas Special, RJ’s Blue Christmas, and John’s An Ivory Christmas. I guess the little fairy godfather just lends himself to stories about giving gifts! :)

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Note on Cover Art Design:

This is my first cover attached to a SSP release by the works of Ms Rosario, and I must say, what I loved the most about it is the EPIC way in which the neon bits remind me of black light art designs! I love how the whole of this piece truly *pops!* on a blog post, and how in person, it translates differently altogether! I love cover art that leaves an impression inasmuch as represents characters and stories. This one brings a bit of the forest and the fairy to the center of who Skye is and why Minnie is important to her whilst giving you a bit of a whimsy touch of ‘ah so that’s why it’s tipsy’!
Biography of the Illustrator:
Anne is a self-taught Filipino visual artist specializing in both digital and traditional mediums. Her style is a unique mix of the naturalistic and the whimsical, combining the elegance of fine art with the edgy grit of contemporary Manga. She has worked as a 2D artist in the game development industry since 2006, and has recently branched into creating illustrations and exhibiting her traditional artworks in group exhibits.
The little creature hugged by the E in BLUE and SP in SPIRIT held my eye!
It’s like he’s trying to tell you something!

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Blog Book Tour | “Blue Spirit: A Tipsy #fairytale” by E. Chris Garrison The author I happily chatted with on #blogtalkradio and cheer for on #JLASblog!Blue Spirit
Subtitle: A Tipsy Fairy Tale
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she's tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships.

With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen's plot?

Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!

+ For a preview of Skye and Minnie,
be sure to scope out Jorie's review for A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781941706824

Also by this author: Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Gifts of the Magi, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition

Series: Tipsy Fairy Tale


Also in this series: Restless Spirit


Genres: Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th May 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 238

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

(Illustrator) Anne Rosario | Facebook | Portfolio | Tumblr | Instagram

Converse on Twitter: #TipsyFairyTaleSeries & #7thStar

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, both of these series are published through Silly Hat Books. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017.

Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and it's companion series the Tipsy Fairy Tales are published by Seventh Star Press. These Urban Fantasy novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

*Biography updated: March, 2018

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Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Dating & Humour Therein, Doctor Who, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Murdoch Mysteriers, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Singletons & Commitment, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, The Star Chamber Show, Time Shift, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vampires, Virtual Reality, Vulgarity in Literature, Werewolves

Blog Book Tour | “The Lazarus Game” by Stephen J. Valentine

Posted Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “The Lazarus Game” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interested in Reading:

I love to share what excites me within the inertia first moments of a ‘new book’ discovery, which is why I have spoken about my attachment to ‘techno-thrillers’ on my review for Eruption and my desire to sort out Dystopian Lit on my review for An Uncommon Blue. Except to say, The Lazarus Game is a bit like picking up a genre from point of exit from Virtual Blue! The similarities between the two are quite impressive as both are bonefide fictional stories writ inside the world of virtual reality (unsure if the curiosity behind VR is due to being bourne at the latter half of the ’70s but my generation appears to love exploring these worlds & seeking to sort out what you can achieve whilst your within them) and both make a valid point about what is right, wrong, and hidden within the walls of gray. Those little nudges of where the human condition seeks to point a compass point on a lesson of both morality and justice.

Blog Book Tour | “The Lazarus Game” by Stephen J. ValentineThe Lazarus Game
by Stephen J. Valentine
Source: Direct from Publisher

"You've got to go in after him."

"Go in?"

"Inside the game. Carter, you have to play the game to save him."

It was created to change the world. With the power to resurrect the minds of history's brightest stars, the Lazarus Game promises to pool mankind's generations of geniuses and merge them in a modern utopia.

But teenage genius Carter Chance has discovered the deadly secret behind this popular virtual reality, and now he's the only one who can stop his generation from destroying themselves for a computer-generated fantasy.

This action-packed sci-fi thriller delves deeper into your perceptions of reality, life, and the value of a soul.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Techno-Thriller, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 10th February, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #TheLazarusGame

My Review of The Lazarus Game:

Valentine gives his quirky character of Carter Chance a bolt of cheeky humour fused with teenage self-indulgent confidence that gives you a happy pace to begin the story upon! He’s upfront (Carter) on his situations and honest about how he feels about his life, but it’s the manner in which he deposits this information to the reader that is cheekily crafty! He pulls back the layers of his mathematicai brain in order to remain relatable to the masses, but in so doing, he makes you wonder about the more technical bits behind the back-story!

Fly in the Ointment : Content Note (of Warning)

This is a bit awkward to admit, but I stopped reading this novel on page 5. Yes, page 5! Because the author made a fatal flaw in what he chose to include in the story itself — you see, I rescue cats. I have adopted animals through rescue organisations my entire life, and every animal lover knows that when you rescue dogs, cats, and other animals who may or may not have had the best start in life can come home with baggage. They have emotional and psychological trauma and stress to overcome, as much as the issues they have with adapting to living indoors and being around humans again to the point of being able to trust without innate fear. Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Children's Literature, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dystopian, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Gaming, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Young Adult Fiction