Category: Virtual Reality

Blog Book Tour | “Dream of the Navigator” (Book One: #FarawaySaga) by Stephen Zimmer #JorieReads her 8th #Dystopian story and has a surprise to share with her readers!

Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Dream of the Navigator” blog 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 and whilst I haven’t read all of Mr Zimmer’s collective works, I did previously enjoy his anthology collection of shorts out of one of his universe’s of interest: Ave. I have oft contemplated whether or not I could find a niche of interest in Dystopian stories and this one felt uniquely different and I decided to give it a go! This is interesting because the first time I read one of his stories I was a 1st Year Book Blogger and as I am celebrating my 5th Blog Birthday (this August), I am reading my second story of Zimmer’s.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dream of the Navigator” 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.

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A bit of a reflective look at Jorie’s views on Dystopian Lit:

I must confess, I have been avoiding reading books that fall under this sub-heading across all genres for such a long time because I still have issues with certain books I read whilst in school! Writers like Steinbeck and Orwell did not paint my future well for appreciating Dystopian stories! Nor did I feel very inclined to read them on my own inclination due to the heavy amount of violence and dark undertones that seemed to be all the rage inside the stories that were being produced for the genre overall. Which is why I decided to undertake this challenge (originally) during SFN (Sci-Fi November aka #RRSciFiMonth). To approach the genre as a skeptic, but perhaps emerge after a month of readings as an appreciator?

This is how I began an essay about why I’ve been a reluctant reader of Dystopian Lit for the entirety of my reading life! I had meant to pull the stories off the mini-list of #mustreads I had pooled together that particular year – though as luck would have had it, something derailed my efforts and I hadn’t quite accomplished what I had set out to do! This was my 1st year as a Book Blogger and my first foray as a participant into the now infamous phenomenon knowing as Sci-Fi Month and/or Sci Fi November which was happily founded by Rinn of Rinn Reads (she’s since moved on to co-blogging).

A note on ‘dystopian’ literature:

Being that I am not as well versed in this particular genre, my understanding of its place in literature and the key components that make it vital to be read, will evolve as I seek out more titles to read. However, I started to expound on what I am reading through The Boxcar Baby, and have drawn one curious conclusion: dystopian stories have the tendency to bring out the warts of our exterior worlds and environments, and seek to convey a critical thought or forewarning that would then, either indirectly or directly shift the perspective of those who can bring about the most change in our own lives. Its a method of story-telling to bring to the readers’ attention certain aspects of modern life that are effectively in need of change OR give a cautionary tale of ‘what could be’ if humans do not tread lightly on a path that could lead them to a future of ill-regret. Again, I could be completely mistaken, but this is a newcomer’s perspective of what the genre is seeking to reveal and assert. To put it another way, one must endeavour to walk through a desolate and despairing dystopia in order to emerge into a utopia of balanced proportion.

-quoted from my review of The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

(2013, September) | 1st Year Book Blogger

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My Dystopian Reads:

The Boxcar Baby (Steel Roots, Book One) by J.L. Mulvihill

Moments in Millennia: A Fantasy Anthology (edited) by Penny Freeman

→ My favourite short of course was ‘Time out of Mind’ by Michael Cross

The Lazarus Game by Stephen J. Valentine (DNF)

An Uncommon Blue (Blue series, Book One) by R.C. Hancock (DNF)

The Path (Tag series, Book One) by Peter Riva (DNF)

Watcher (Watcher series, Book One) by AJ Eversley*

Carbon (Watcher series, Book Two) by AJ Eversley (DNF)

*NOTE: Eversley’s series in [2017] was my ill-fated attempt to re-address a curiosity of mine about Dystopian Lit and to see if I could finally find a singular author who could not only entice me into their world-building but give me the kind of Dystopian story I was seeking.

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As you can see, Zimmer’s Dream of the Navigator is my eighth attempt at reading Dystopian narratives over the score of the five years I’ve been a book blogger! I started reading this particular one *after!* my fifth blog’s birthday (6th of August, 2018) – marking it officially the one story I felt in five years which would become the ‘exception to the rule’ and the kind of Dystopian story I’ve been seeking all these years whilst wandering round a genre which has failed to garnish my full heart & appreciation!

There have been keen moments of where I’ve tucked inside a writer’s vision for their world-building which has befit what I felt would resound well as a ‘Dystopian Futuristic impression’ of where any particular world could be cast afield to such a such a time in ‘the future’ of where certain attributes of its society led it down a particular path and thereby led to a certain outcome. You can see this in the motion pictures “Wall-E” (one of the best representations of a society that is too ‘connected’ to see the truth in the pudding round them!) and “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” (where the sole pursuit of ‘life’ is found in a decidedly ‘altered’ future). Ironically, finding those films seemed to be an easier pursuit than finding a writer who knew how to write a Dystopian world which not only had the chops to hold my attention but to write a sophisticated narrative which has teeth to stand out from the pack!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, then there was that particular infamous (in my mind) #SciFiExperience where I was wicked excited about reading Kate Elliott’s Icepunk series (Spiritwalker) whilst contemplating her ‘Court of Fives’ novel. I am still curious about these stories – I had to table my goals that year as well. There have been a lot of ups/downs over the years in my reading life & endeavours but occasionally when the stars aligned, I was able to read a few Dystopians despite the angst of having to postpone the other reads I was most curious to explore!

I drew together further insights into why I have this love/hate relationship with Dystopian Lit when I tried to settle into the first installment of the Blue series by Mr Hancock.

I think the main issue I find with Dystopian Lit is the fact everything is a bit cock-eyed; meaning, where you can observe what is wrong it isn’t enough to evoke change; you have to prove change needs to happen and oft-times that means putting your own life at risk. There is a clear wave of bullying between the different caste systems in the story, and the boy who caused Bruno to become painted is the classic bully whose connections protect him yet he is allowed to manipulate events without consequences. Bruno starts to unravell the underpinning principles of his world, whilst noting not everything on the Blue side is effectively the same elsewhere. For the Greens and those whose fire are reflective of blended hues (which points to the fact they ‘painted’ or blended their fire with someone else; either by force or compliant) getting through their lives is not quite the same as what Bruno had whilst he was a purebred Blue. The Blues are more elite in this world, as they are given opportunities the others are not privy to receiving themselves; even if by opportunity they are controlled. There is an imbalance between individual freedoms and the internal workings of the government who seek to control every aspect of their choices and how they act on their free will can determine their fates.

It wasn’t the writing that bothered me it was the structure of the story itself and how powerless everyone in Telesphore City truly were as perception on events trumped the truth of them; reducing any ability for justice. As I turnt around in my mind everything I had read up until this point, I realised why I struggle so much with Dystopian Lit and why I have been the last to admit it simply might not be for me at all. Its the disparity of it all. The overwhelming anguish of having the world painted black (here this refers to an intense thickening of darkness not a coloured variant of a word) to the brink where the light has barely any wick to shine. This is what bothers me a bit about Young Adult novels in general, but in regards specifically to Dystopian, I think I struggle with letting go of my optimistic spirit whilst I am reading them.

I love conflict and adversity in the books I am reading, but when it comes to Dystopian story-lines, I find myself uncomfortably displaced and a quickening sense of how fast everything can change. It is a bit like trying to sort out where you’ve gone wrong with a map written in a language you do not speak. I have read two Dystopian novels now, wells, technically I read a portion of this one and I struggled to finish the other one (The Boxcar Baby), giving me pause for realising sometimes what your curious about isn’t always worth uncovering. I just cannot give my heart to Dystopian Lit no matter how much I try to think there is a writer or a story within these worlds that will appeal to me.

Hancock makes interesting choices to steer the reader away from using strong language as a method of expressing what is being felt during the height of intense emotional moments; yet he cleverly uses colour as a way to not only explain the world but how colour itself can express the darkest shades of emotion. He makes clear definitions between what is considered right, wrong, and questionable (the in-between) yet personally I struggle to tuck inside a story whose undercurrent of tone is backlit with such heaviness; which is becoming the way I can express Dystopian story-lines. The uneasiness quickened a bit whilst seeing how callous some of the characters were towards each other and how the guards in the story were equally so towards everyone.

Hancock I believe has given a strong presence for YA Dystopian Lit for those who understand how these worlds are underlit and written as a whole. For an outside perspective, I didn’t find it a good fit for me personally but those other book bloggers I am thinking of tonight (including the girls of “Oh the Books” who co-hosted Sci Fi November this year!), I think they might tuck inside this and enjoy what he gave to the genre. For me, I checked out when a boy was killed simply for helping his best friend get out of a locked down campus — the manner in which he was killed just wrecked me on a lot of levels and the unnecessary force was just too disturbing. In light of recent current events, I respect a need to show different points of view and a clarity of conscience but in the end, the novel just broke my heart once too many times.

– quoted from my review of An Uncommon Blue by R.C. Hancock

Where Hancock erred in keeping me rooted in his vision of his Dystopian world, Zimmer has excelled. The key differences of course is purpose & intent – there is an undertone which remains firmly oblique and darkening in Hancock’s world whereas there is a presence of Light & Hopefulness in Zimmer’s.

Moreso, I simply enjoyed the back-stories and the background of Zimmer’s Faraway Saga moreso than Hancock’s as to me, the world in which Hancock created would let down a lot of readers for how desolate it truly became. You never felt you could gain traction of change inside his world – everything was operating against rebellion and personal freedoms. Even the powers he conceived were at first uniquely interesting to observe but then, I felt he worked against that power and kept altering the potential outcome to something rather more nefarious than I was willing to see through.

A lot of the issues I had in ‘An Uncommon Blue’ were never observed in ‘Dream of the Navigator’ in fact, in many ways – I felt Zimmer’s series was built on a stronger foundation. He had a stronger vision for his world to where you never felt the world itself was ‘changing against it’s type’. He projected their motivations clearly and even the components of the structure and order of the world doesn’t alter from it’s own non-ethical protocols; they are what they are  – which is beneficial to feeling you can trust Zimmer’s world of being exactly as it represents itself without a wench in the wheel throwing you out of its dimension.

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Similar to my readings on behalf of Antiphony, Riva has begun his on discourse on society, technology, religion and our place inside the world itself – how we view our living reality and how our living reality is altered by what is never completely in our control. He has written a challenging text because like the other author, he wants you to ponder the deeper meanings and take the Tag series to an awareness of recognising what could be unnoticed right before our eyes. The only key difference between the two, is Antiphony was a pursuit to understand a higher plane of existence outside of our limited sensory understanding of ‘reality’ which broached spirituality and other ideals of thought. Within the Tag series, Riva has augmented a society removed from any religious or spiritual pursuits, as the controlling rule is specifically geared towards putting humanity through a vise and only allowing humans to live a life deemed beneficial to the whole rather than the limited few.

In other words, nothing about living is determined by the individual but is rather systematically fused to an ordering rule (i.e. the government in this case; of which I can only presume is similar to The Hunger Games world based on the notes my friends have given me on it’s behalf). I think it’s safe to say my preference is always to have a level of spirituality kept inside a world – even if the world is futuristic, I’m not a particular fan of dissolving all thoughts and beliefs of a higher power; hence why I never read Phillip Pullman’s series beginning with The Golden Compass.

-quoted from my review of The Path by Paul Riva

Spirituality and Metaphysics are aptly explored in Zimmer’s Faraway Saga but rather than removing the precepts of religious thought & belief completely – to where it no longer has a place of origin or purpose, Zimmer found a way to ask intellectually stimulating questions of his characters – to where he desires them to recapture their own free will of mind & thought – to let them make the choices on behalf of what they believe or don’t believe without those choices being made for them.

He also approaches the context of this section of his world with an open mind – he let’s his characters walk a muddled path towards self-enlightenment due to how their world has repressed a lot of knowledge & information for the sake of population control and a future disconnected from personal growth. They want their citizens to remain in stasis intellectually as that would allow them to rule over them without conflict or disagreement.

Of the two, I prefer the approach Zimmer took – as it allows the door to remain open – for his world, his characters and the reader who is approaching his Dystopian viewpoint(s).

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One thing I appreciate most about how Eversley has approached writing this novel is how she fuses bits and bobbles of what you can conceptionalise against what could be a living reality not too far forward into the future. It’s a unique balance – to insert readers into a world with a Dystopian bent and a world which brings up hard philosophical questions about humanity, the pursuit of living authentically and the greater purpose behind life itself or even the art of survival if things go dangerously wrong.

Eversley has tapped into a niche of Dystopian where you can play with the genre – you can add not only depth of the world through the layers in which we entreat inside it’s boundaries but by how this world is stitched together – from the origins of their beliefs (hinted at) to the constructs of how they believe their rights as sentient beings should be maintained (similar to us) whilst enlarging the scope to have a dual presence of foe against foe – each fighting for the right to be the champion and each not honestly seeing how they could bridge their differences (if that’s even a plausible possibility) as war takes it’s toll. It’s not just the losses of life – it’s the wear and tear on the psyche and on morale of those who are fighting everyday to live one more day towards the ‘end goal’. For the Carbons and the Watchers, they are each moving towards a collision of sorts – at least, from what I can gather – if this debut is the introduction into the Watchers as a collective, than the second novel in the series surely picks up the momentum begun here through the point-of-view of the Carbons; to give a buoyancy between good and evil or what is perceived as good vs evil. It could all be an experiment gone wrong – or rather, an experiment which outgrew it’s purpose and turnt into something else completely.

If anything, there is so much your thinking about – trying to root out Eversley’s motivating inspiration and uncovering what is driving the story forward whilst trying to respect the world and pull back it’s layers to see what is really being set for you to see.

-quoted from my review of Watcher by A.J. Eversley

You might be curious why I decided to take you back down this particular readerly rabbit hole – of why I felt it necessary to re-visit the past Dystopian Reads in order to better augment my reasons for preferring Zimmer’s vision for his own. The reason, dear hearts, is quite simple – if you didn’t fully understand where I had traversed in the past – through these worlds the prior seven story-tellers had crafted for me to find, you might not fully understand how hard it has been to seek out writers’ who are crafting the kinds of Dystopian stories I am seeking.

For the most part, there have been positives and negatives across the board – hence, why I chose to add the quotations and to re-empathsis what worked for me and what did not ahead of revealling my ruminative thoughts on behalf of ‘Dream of the Navigator’ which at first glimpse brought back memories of ‘Flight of the Navigator’ (a motion picture) – a personal favourite of my childhood. I am unsure if the title has any cogitation of reference to the film, however, it had one for me.

Despite being a particularly particular reader of specific genres and thematics of literature – I remain optimistic I can find a niche of interest even in the most unapproachable literary arenas I find rather arduous to step inside. This is why I’ve continuously tried to read different Dystopian works of literature – finding a few qualms overall (four DNFs out of eight is telling in its own right!) and yet, I haven’t reached the plateau of lost hope!

I also want to share – I reverted back to my days of being able to read ‘chapter samplers’ to decide it ‘Dream of the Navigator’ would be a good ‘fit’ for me – those were the days where I could read a whole chapter digitally ahead of sourcing a print copy to read in full – back before my clustering chronic migraines were not occupying so many dear hours of my life and wrecking a lot of readerly hours off the clock as well. Prior to requesting a place on this tour, I happily found a sampler for this novel wherein despite the limitations I have nowadays with digital samplers, I gleamed enough to ‘wish to turn the pages!’ and find out what was going to happen next!

This isn’t the reaction I was expecting – I thought it would take me a bit longer than mere paragraphs to feel attached to the story-line – after all, this was a *Dystopian world!* – though, I admit, my readings of Julie E. Czerneda’s #TheClanChronicles has opened my eyes to worlds on shaky ground and where disparity can threaten to overrule.

Of all the stories I read in the past within this genre – ‘Watcher’ was the closest I felt towards finding a writer who could write a Dystopian world in a manner of approach I could appreciate. There were issues of course after I read ‘Watcher’ – as the series had to go on without me as a reader, as there were key choices I felt which worked against the plotting established in the first book – but this time round – I felt much more confident about the Faraway Saga than I had with Watcher – and that simply boils down to individual choices on behalf of the story-crafters who gave them to us.

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On my connection to Stephen Zimmer:

Over the past five years, Mr Zimmer has given me a lot of opportunities to engage with Speculative Lit authors – both through my readings of their stories (by the blog tours he’s hosted via Tomorrow Comes Media or through Seventh Star Press directly) and by letting me visit the radio frequencies by guest appearances on the Star Chamber Show (a blogtalkradio podcast). In Autumn of [2013] Zimmer was one of the first publicity and blog touring companies to give me a chance at being a ‘tour hostess’ and I am quite grateful he added me to his Blogger Team! I have spent 5 years appreciating the journey into Speculative Fiction – deepening my understanding of the genre and of sourcing out the writers who are writing the stories I love to be reading!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Mr Zimmer through the twitterverse or whilst I host for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press and/or 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.

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Notation on Cover Art Design: As soon as I saw the cover art for this novel – the genre it resides started to shift in front of my eyes! I loved how much ‘light vs dark’ is playing in the design – how the splintered and mirrored images are playing off each other – whilst hinting towards ‘more’ – almost of a pinnacle to reach vs where the state of things currently lie. Even the rainbow (the symbol of hope) was aptly placed and the lush world ‘above’ counterbalances the darker shades of a technate driven world. I was beyond impressed!! I have long held the cover artists with Seventh Star Press in high esteem and this is another one which left me in ‘awe’ admiring it! Of course, the premise and the chapter sampler worked together to tempt me to read the chapters behind this art – but for the sake of art and illustration, this cover is wickedly impressive!!

Blog Book Tour | “Dream of the Navigator” (Book One: #FarawaySaga) by Stephen Zimmer #JorieReads her 8th #Dystopian story and has a surprise to share with her readers!Dream of the Navigator
Subtitle: Faraway Saga
by Stephen Zimmer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments.

Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine.

For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence.

A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore.

What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience.

Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1948042536

Also by this author: Chronicles of Ave: Vol.1, (Author Interview) The Chronicles of Ave, (Guest Post) The Chronicles of Ave, (3-part) Interview Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot

Genres: Dystopian, Genre-bender, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller, YA Contemporary, YA Dystopian Lit, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 24th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 398

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

Converse on Twitter: #FarawaySaga, #DreamOfTheNavigator & #7thStar

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What I previously loved about Stephen Zimmer’s style:

You get the firm sense that Zimmer is a voracious reader who dips into a bit of everything that yields to his personal curiosity and allows his mind to wander through the gate of his imagination to deposit into a reader’s hands a wholly encased world whose dimensions are ever expanding into larger scales of tales yet to be told! Except for the few shorts, where I think he opted instead for traditional heroic bloodshed story-telling! This might draw a close eye towards the fact he appreciates the horror genre, and bits of that seep into this side of his fantasy worlds. It’s his passion for research that I applaud first and foremost, as not every writer goes to the length as he does and I always celebrate a writer I find who carries out research on this level! Secondly, he endeavours you to amplify his words into motion by the words he uses to provoke a visual response, in which backs up something he said in an interview I heard of his (whilst researching which questions I wanted to ask him in my own interview!) where he acclaimed his novels are set to embody a motion picture medium rather than the printed world of the book! This is a claim he rightly deserves to make!

He is one of the writers that I would genuinely be delighted to seek out (if it had not been for Tomorrow Comes Media!), as he parlays his fervent passion for research by interspersing what he uncovers into the tapestry by which Ave is threaded against! It’s a world that encompasses as many distinctively unique cultures, traditions, spirituality’s, and languages as our own living counterpart, and yet, it has something to give back to us as well!

The care he takes to diminish the force of the violence inside by counter-balancing it with a life lesson is absolute genius, because your not as apt to focus on the brief encounters of evil, but rather, on the benefits of what each short attempts to draw out of the character he’s chosen to hone in on instead! These characters, I perceive to be secondary ones in the larger stories (novels), yet, they have a specific life-path in Ave that cross-sects with the intervening entities or events that bring about the most metamorphose of growth! You can use me as a barometer in knowing that if I can handle these stories, you can as well! I have an intolerance for violence, but I cherish the soulful stories such as these that grant the reader a ruminative conclusion of what they’ve read!

-as previously expressed on my review of Chronicles of Ave: Volume One

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About Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels and novellas (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
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Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Astral Projection, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Dystopian, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Futuristic Fantasy, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Science Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Virtual Reality, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Read More

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Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, 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, 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

Musing Mondays #2: Walking back through the door of my imagination!

Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

Musing Mondays is hosted by Should Be Reading

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

| 28th October, 2013 |

Rather than a proposed question, this Monday the Musings reverts back to:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Today, I am simply thankful to be back ‘on JLAS’, picking up where I left off with my book reviews, and setting up for a wicked month-long post extravaganza (Sci-Fi November!)! I recently finished two books, which I reviewed post-haste: “The Study of Murder” by Susan McDuffie and “Virtual Blue” by R.J. Sullivan! I was honoured that I had the opportunity to read each of these novels, and for me, it was a departure from my preference for reading serial fiction in ‘order’ of either publication OR of the world the story is set inside. There are times where I feel you can be given a proper introduction to the characters and flow of the overall story, to where starting with a series in-progress might suit you as well as if you had started at the beginning! This also helps when you find authors who know how to spin the continuity of their series in such a brilliantly giving way (of which McDuffie and Sullivan excel!) to where you feel as though ‘you had read the previous installments!’ I appreciate too, that each book took me away from my zone of comfort when it comes to reading, as I explored the fascinating world of the 14th Century through the eyes of a reluctant amateur detective in ‘The Study of Murder’, whereas I left our shared reality for the world beyond which is housed within the virtual whilst digging into ‘Virtual Blue’!

There was a nibbling in the back of mind about the first book, something that I had forgotten to mention in my review, which is that Mariota used Caledula flowers as part of one of her tinctures, and that is the very ingredient inside my new toothpaste that is giving me the most relief! I thought it was clever how I had only just discovered Weleda’s Caledula Toothpaste! Small world! I have always loved learning more about natural medicines and herbal remedies, which is why this part of the story perked my interest in such a hearty way!

Whereas with ‘Virtual Blue’, I felt compelled to continue reading a story that was in full effect a bit of a language barrier (bless the author for summarising it!) for me, as he interwove such a courageous story, full of heart, raw pure gumption and a determined spunky spirit of which is the essence of ‘Blue!’ I was quite caught up in the particulars of the gaming world as much as the balance between good vs. evil, which is such a classic story arc to explore, but was given such a fine tune approach that it rendered a whole new world where your tested for what you are willing to understand!

I am moving next into “Redheart” by Jackie Gamber and “Illuminations” by Mary Sharratt, both of which I have been eagerly looking forward to reading and reviewing! I had hoped to review them far ahead of my post deadlines, but as I had outlined previously life in the bookish blogosphere doesn’t always go as we plan it to go! ‘Redheart’ is an epic fantasy world that envelopes around dragons, whereas ‘Illuminations’ dips into the living history of a saintly nun who changed the perception of the world at large by the knowledge she was bestowed and given to share! The latter is a biographical fiction set against the living legacies that were past down about Hildegard von Bingen, which I find fascinating! I am curiously drawn towards reading more and more biographical fiction accountments due to the hearty nature of the context as much as the drinkablity of the narrative!

In-between reading the books for review, I am settling into “Finnikin of the Rock” by Melina Marchetta, as I completely missed the key dates I was meant to post my reactions to the book as I read it, as well as the follow-up sequences speaking about “Community” and “Family” as it directly applied to the characters! Whilst I was living through personal affairs that took my time and attention away, I fear that this lovely event was on-going and brilliantly executed! I will be adding my reactions as I read through the chapters, adding my commentaries and visiting the collaborative reading experience post-event!

I am revising my posting schedule for SFN, due to a few quirks of not being able to source a few of the materials I needed, but I am not letting it deter my enthused joy for the event itself, because I am thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate in the love of a genre that has been a mainstay throughout my life!

I was a bit disheartened that I had missed a few Booktalk Nation events whilst I was offblog, as I had hoped to have participated in the speaking tours of: Wally Lamb (We Are Water); Julia Quinn (The Sum of All Kisses); and Kristin Higgins (The Perfect Match). I wonder if any of my readers took part in these wicked sweet events!? I cannot speak more highly of Booktalk Nation, even though, I still owe a post about the last two authors I saw featured where were Laurie R. King and Robyn Carr! :) The one that I am hoping I am in line to participate in is Rachel Caine who will be speaking about her Morganville Vampire series which might sound out of context for me to engage in, and on one hand you would be keenly observant in that theory, however, I am always curious about books and authors that I hear about regularly through my circle of friends’. Her series is one that is spoken with affection, and despite my unease of wanting to enter into the world of vampires which has never quite been a good fit for me (outside of ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’; certain seasons over others!), I am willing to expand my knowledge and enlighten my heart by listening to the author who penned the stories that has captured the imagination of my dear friends! :)

A bookish blogger can not receive a more humble note of gratitude (aside from an author’s reaction to one of her reviews!) than a full-on post about the merits of joy in discovering a bookish event that a reader can attend, of which they *discovered!* through her sidebar! I speak on behalf of Christine (of Readerly Musings) trekking to Boston for the *Boston Book Festival!* Due venture over and viscerally live through her eyes of this smashingly brilliant bookish event! And, if any of the bits of my sidebar prove helpful, I’d be honoured to hear of your stories of where my sidebar led you to take an adventure! Its my long-term goal to utilise the bookish events, historical landmarks, and book shoppes for my own literary adventures; hence why they are included on my blog! I was hopeful that whilst I await the day to venture off, another reader might find the information useful to them! In this way, I am humbled and honoured by Christine’s post! :)

OOh, and eek! I nearly forgot!! I received word that the novella “A Light in the Window” (the prequel to “The Daughters of Boston” series) by Julie Lessman is FINALLY going to be available in print!! I do not yet have word as to ‘when’, but ooh, did I merrily rejoice in hearing that nearly a year to the day I first learnt about the novella I am celebrating the news of its publication in print!! I have attempted to *win!* a spiral bound copy of it throughout the blog book tours Ms. Lessman has participated in from November 2012 – 2013, however, it was not meant to be! I always longed to read this particular prequel, because as my future review of this lovely series (I am thinking this will be early 2014!) will reveal to you dear hearts, this series has nestled right in the niche of my heart! Marcy and Patrick are the parents inside the story of the O’ Connors, of whom are the hinge-pins who hold the entire Irish family together! To find a story set aside to speak about how they first met and conjoined in marriage is a story that I have pined to read! Blessed is I to have learnt I am closer to this dream! The news was announced in a reply to a comment I left on ‘the Society’ where Ms. Lessman guest posted for a day!

*NOTE: The RSS feed blurb is in the lower portion of my sidebar for ‘the Society’!

At some point, I would like restore my rhythm and pick up where I left off with my dear blogs, of which I enjoy reading regularly, but of which I haven’t had the proper chance to drop by and hang out! The blogs in particular I am museful about today are: Southern Belle View, Word Wenches, the Society, OWG, and a newbie favourite Austen Authors! I hope to swing back once I get my forthcoming reviews into focus and I have a handle on the first week of SFN! All in good time! I am with them in spirit! :) I read more blogs than this regularly, of course, as I am choosing to focus on the group author blogs right now that strike my fancy!

I believe that is all the bookish news and musings I have to share with you, dear hearts! IF I have accidentally been remiss, I will simply follow-up this post on WWW Wednesday! Here is to celebrating bookish memes, the bookish blog community, and the joy of reading! Most especially after a short hiatus we were not expecting!

{SOURCE: Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Raaven with editing by Jorie in Fotoflexer.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

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Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov in 14th Century, Amateur Detective, Austen Authors, Book Festival, Bookish Whimsy, Booktalk Nation, Boston Book Festival, CFHS The Society, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Fiction, Finnikin of the Rock, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Museful Mondays, Naturopathy, OWG, Readerly Musings, Sci-Fi November, Science Fiction, Shelf Awareness, Southern Belle View Daily, The Word Wenches, Virtual Reality

*Blog Book Tour*: Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

{Book Two: The Adventures of Blue Shaefer series}

Virtual Blue Tour - RJ Sullivan TCM

{Book One: Haunting Blue}

Published By: Seventh Star Press, August 2013
Official Author Websites: Sullivan on Facebook; Sullivan on Twitter;
Personal Site
; Fan Club
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Artist Page: Bonnie Wasson  @ Seventh Star Press
I could not source a personal site!
Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 408

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Virtual Blue” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media. I received “Virtual Blue”  in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Seventh Star Press. The book released in August 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read: I always try to attempt to keep an open mind when it comes to discovering new forms of literature, as much as seeking out authors’ outside my zone of comfort! Whereupon I first learnt of this particular book and author, my initial reaction was simply thus: I would read his books anytime! Love the classic movie star vibe combined with the ghost story and leaping into lives via à la Quantum Leap! It was a precursor look into his collective works thus far along, as I gathered that he has a wicked sense of humour threaded throughout this books and I liked that aspect of his writings! His own website yields in the sub-heading to reflect his writing personality as thus as well!

It’s also a departure again for my preference for reading serial fiction in order of publication and/or in order of the series, as some books are published out of the structure of the world they are written in! Ironically or not! Laughs. There are times where I feel I can break this self-disciplined rule, and I felt I could with Virtual Blue! Let us see if I was right!

Curiously as I read the premise of this particular novel I felt like it was not entirely outside of what I’d expect to find in a story, as I am a long-term appreciator of “Charmed” (ahem! ahead of the writing derailments in latter seasons!), and I am sure this will have a connection in regards to an ill-fated film I watched (ill-fated here refers to the fact I was not meant to appreciate it!) which jumped the rails into pop culture stardom! The film I refer to is “The Matrix”, and yet, another film “Tron: Legacy” is one that I loved! However, having said all of that, I was game for a challenging read, and one that I wanted to test to see if I can carve out a niche in an urban genre mixed with the supernatural! Finding that this falls under ‘horror’ beneath the science-fiction umbrella was a bit daunting at first, as although I avoid modern horror for the most part, there are elements of stories that I enjoy that actually pertain to this branch! IF your familiar with “The Dead Zone” tv series and the “Mummy” films, you’ll know where I find myself in ‘modern’ horror, as my favourite by far are the early 1920’s-1960’s psychological suspense films that are ‘horror’ in scope, but not in grisly, gruesome, or grotesque visceral imagery! I am a quirky reader after all, dear hearts! Are you naught as well!?

Author BiographyRJ Sullivan

R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013. Seventh Star will release a new edition of Haunting Blue in early 2014. R. J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes for readers of all ages. R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. Check in regularly to learn the latest about the projects of R. J. Sullivan.

Synopsis of Virtual Blue:

Did you ever wish you could escape to a virtual world? What if you could…but then couldn’t get out?

Two years after her deadly clash with a vengeful ghost, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer still can’t shake off the trauma of that night. Moving to New York with her father didn’t help. Neither did absorbing herself in her college classes. Not even her poetry provided the solace it once did. She convinces herself that ending her relationship with Eugene “Chip” Farren, her long-distance boyfriend and final tie to the horrors of that night, might bring the closure she needs. Blue travels to Bloomington to break the news to Chip in person, but her timing couldn’t be any worse.

The Sisters of Baalina, vengeful cultists who practice a new form of “techno-magic,” have targeted Chip’s multi-player videogame as the perfect environment to cast a dangerous spell to free a demoness from the very pits of hell. In the process, their plan may trap Blue in a prison of the mind with no locks, no bars, and no escape.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Spotlight on the Illustrative Art by Bonnie Wasson:
Bonnie Wasson - Artwork Credit
Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson

Ms. Wasson does not disappoint with her stunning visual accuracy of the images that your own mind’s eye conjures to be representative of the characters in Virtual Blue! As I have come to read two Seventh Star Press releases featuring cover art and illustrated plates by Matthew Perry, I was most delighted to have my ‘introduction’ to the artistry of Wasson! You could nearly pluck “Blue” into a lovely series of stationery sheets to musefully write your friends’ the everyday adventures you seek and enjoy! Although, this is perhaps an observation only a letter-writer would make on behalf of “Blue!”

On the left, is the plate which depicts the final encounter between Marda and Blue, in Chapter Twenty-Eight. Did you notice the reflective menacing arc of the blade!? There is emotional drama in this scene, as captured in this plate, but with the presence of a blade, twinged sharp and lethal, it adds to the emotions that your feeling as you read the scene initially!

Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson
Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson

On the right, is the plate which depicts Baalina and Blue meeting at the portal at the end of Chapter Nineteen. For every good seed there must be a bad one to off-set the imbalance, which is usually when the forces of evil wage war against the good in stories such as these, as they are forever attempting to assert their ascent over the free and just! This particular scene is exactly as its portrayed as being: a showdown of wills between Baalina and Blue!

The sharpness of her details, allows you to glimpse inside the characters’ world as though they had stepped into our own, which is always something that I look for when I observe an artist’s rendition of a writers’ work! I was full of mirth whilst reading Blue’s reaction to her ‘virtual self’ in the story (Chapter Three), and I wondered what Wasson felt once she had finished rendering Blue as Daria!? As she eclipsed the full essence of finding oneself re-imaged as an improved version by a second party!

Reflections As I Became Entrenched in Virtual Blue:

A daughter’s regret on the events that led to her mother’s death overshadow the confidence that Fiona (Blue) has for moving forward with her life. I think that is a plausible problem for most who lose their loved ones under conditions that are not afforded to being naturally inclined. Your always going to question the moments (even the nanoseconds!) that lead up to their death, and question the very will you had to effectively change the outcome; if at all possible. Unresolved grief and anger can swelter in a person’s spirit, wrecking them to see the clear path towards their future. I can see how transfixed Fiona is on the past, as she experienced an unsettling incident that left her torn away from the one person she leaned on the most: her mother! What anguish she must have endured! I speak of this, retrospectively, as I did not read “Haunting Blue” but am thankful that Sullivan provided glimpses of what occurred ‘previously’ through reflections and interactions in the present. Her relationship with her father is on the rocks as well, and I can see how that could happen due to the proposed separation the two had sustained in their relationship. Sullivan sets the scene nicely for those of us coming into this series second-hand!

I was pleasantly happy to see an exchange of poetry between Blue and Drew in the opening chapter, as I am a poet myself and oft wondered what it would be like to read poems by fellow poets in a reading session! I started young like Blue in this regard, as I was still in high school when the magic of verse and poetry nestled into my heart and etched out through my pen! I wonder if she started in her senior year, or younger, as I was a sophomore!? Perhaps that is revealed in the first book! I too, know what it is like to lose the momentum to create when the absence of words stills to a near deafening silence! Interesting thread of story shaping into the exchange between Blue and Drew! Lovely and real!

I had forgotten a bit how exciting the gaming life can become, as I was a gamer for most of my younger days, and am trying to sort out the games of ‘today’ to keep up with the changing trends! I used to love computer games like: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago?, Loom, Battle Chess, Tetris, as well as a virtual reality environment game (The Journeyman Project) from the 1990’s! It was singularly one of my favourites to play, too! The rich futuristic environment of its setting is what captured me into its world! Then, there is of course the game that was pre-loaded on my iMac which I could not play enough of: Deimos Rising! I’ll bypass the Nintendo, Sega, and PlayStation platform games that interest me. Needless to say, my gaming life is as quirky as my reading life! I was also captured by a hybrid game of Dungeons and Dragons as a teen where I had the unfortunate mishap of ‘solving’ the game-play ahead of actually ‘playing the game’ and became Assistant Dragonmaster instead! All of this is on top of traditional gaming by way of board games and card games, by which I am a dedicated player! Solarquest, Five Crowns, or Hand & Foot anyone!? I suppose you could say, I understood the inertia of building excitement for Chip and Phil whilst they were unearthing their dream game “Fantasy Free-Form”!

As a side note, the “Terror Twins” of Cyn and Van smirked a resemblance of my remembrance of the Klingon Duras sisters! And, a lot of the undercurrent terror building on behalf of Marda’s coven bespoke of episodes I watched on “Charmed”, in which, the setting of the unfolding story was not difficult to understand! I did find it a keen observation, that they would infiltrate through the upstart game in order to conquer their destiny!


Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan
Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson
Review of Virtual Blue:

Unsurprising to me, Fiona dissolves into Blue at the first meet-up with her soon-to-be-ex Chip, as she has based her self-identity on their relationship and the woman she is whilst she is around him. She has far more to give and to explore on her own path, independent of his interaction in her life, but old habits are hard to shake, when the person your attempting to break up with was there for you at such a pivotal moment in your life. I think its his attachment to her sorrowful loss that tipped the scales of uncertainty against forging a life away from him in the first place. The strength it takes to stand alone, and seek out new individuals who are more aligned with who you are ‘now’ is oft times more daunting of a task than resuming the status quo! Then, again, what if the fragment of who you were could be re-discovered through the eyes of your beloved? In only a way that a true love can bring you back from the depths of despair from whence you disappeared!? Such is the heart-aching choice Blue must decide as she embarks on a trip back to Indiana to face her past and choose her future.

As the story shifts forward, the counter-balance of good vs. evil is revealed due to the back-story of how the followers of Baalina have taken steps to assist her freedom. You start to see how determined Blue must become to shelf her own desires and forge ahead towards redeeming the liberty of everyone else instead.

By the time Blue, Phil, and Chip start to investigate, I had swirling memories of why I missed the detective and mystery series of my younger days! Innocence of youth, gleeful joy in the hunt for uncovering the mystery, and the joy of succeeding in taking down a full-on challenging adversary! I liked the tug-of-war between the threesome, as they do not always get along due to the struggle with the balance of two boys and a girl in tow whose in love with one of them! I love the classic set-up, and the irresistible intrigue that follows suit!

There are elements of fantastical lore and myth etched into the undercurrents to pitch the truth of the Kelranian historic fight against Baalina and her chosen sisters. Sullivan reaches into Arthurian lore to draw out a new seedling of inspiration to stitch the story between the past, present, and future. In this vein, the story settles into a sub-plot I found most entertaining! Sullivan has woven spirituality, religion, and faith into the pacing of the story as much as he has researched how to endeavour the reader with plausible inclusions of lore! An internal and outer struggle known throughout the centuries is at the forefront of what happens when both sides take part in a feud they did not agree to join!

Honestly, I would have loved this story truly if my eyes didn’t have to skip over all the vulgar cursing that the characters were quite attached to spewing whenever their situations turned adverse! I didn’t find it a necessary arc for the story, nor a positive attribute for Blue and Chip! And, although I appreciated the depictions of the Hell that Blue was subjected to being placed inside in order to entrap Baalina, Cyn, Van, and Marda – I think I could have fared better to have that bit shortened and have the ending stand as it is. Especially since their evil hearts were clearly evident from previous chapters! Its the ending resolution of Blue’s future that I appreciated seeing the most, as I was rather angst ridden understanding the full scope of Rebecca Burton’s!

A Most Curious Tie-In:

I was quite enthused to read in Chapter Four how the author’s depiction on the Tour Badge and Author Photograph tie-in to the story! At first, I thought perhaps its his whimsical humour settling into the fray, but no! It actually has a direct connection to the story-line and with Virtual Blue! Rock on, Mr. Sullivan! That’s the equivalent of finding Hitchcock inserted into his own motion picture!

Inasmuch as the curiously able investigator Rebecca Burton being involved in this mystery, who has previously been seen in novellas and shorts! Sullivan has a way of connecting each of his stories in such a charmingly symmetrical synchronical way! Wicked! I wonder if he is going to release the Burton novellas and shorts as a stand-alone collection!?

A Notation on the Horror Aspects of the Plot:

Honestly!? It took me nearly half-way through to realise that I hadn’t surmised when the ‘horror’ of the story had even arrived! I think for the most part, my mind was happily seeing connections between series I had seen on the screen, and therefore, perhaps, my mind and heart overlooked a few things! I know there was a proper fight scene between Blue & Marda, as well as other interactions with blades, but personally I place those instances under ‘fight sequences or stand-offs’ rather than directly linked to horror!? I wonder if this book was misfiled!? Until I reached Chapter Sixteen which has an excellent representation of the differences between Heaven and Hell. Which continues to be explored the further inside the novel you venture towards.

Fly in the Ointment:

The only criticism I can give is the inclusion of vulgar expressions that irk my ire in regards to not having the heat of the moment more creatively expressed! This book did not start out falling under what I’d consider “excessive vulgarity” but it ended with my feelings that it pushed my barometer to the extreme! Mostly due to key words which were used to express or denounce certain climaxical emotions that I would consider better spent if they had been conveyed in a mannerism that befit the story in a creative way other than the method that Sullivan chose to give. This is not necessarily a criticism directed at him entirely, as I oft find myself in this quandary of a position, as my personal leanings are more towards the Shakespearean art of insultive and pernicious declarations! For this reason, I did not choose to include the book trailer for the first half of this series, “Haunting Blue”, as I was quite aghast that the words were left in, by which had to be ‘sound clipped’ out! Oy! Generally, I am always the first to fully support all materials to help a book, but this became a personal deference of choice on my behalf. I think the main reason this struck me rather severely, is after noting that Blue was a poet, I thought she might have articulated her emotions in a more eloquent way rather than in such a common way! And, I’m at a complete loss as to why all characters simply feel the need to express themselves in a manner that is not tactful or fitting to educated society! Sighs. Clearly, not every depiction of a novel in synopsis form gives way to rendering a precise foresight of what the novel will relay. Therefore, I am sure, I am in the minority who would consider this a ‘fly in the ointment’ to even mention! However, it is what it is. Except to say, that my overall enjoyment of the story itself was not darkened by this blight of words that ruffled my feathers and twitched my nose!

“Virtual Blue” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

  1. October 28: Contest @ Jess Resides Here
  2. October 28: Review @ Jorie Loves a Story
  3. October 28: Guest Post @ Come Selahway With Me
  4. October 29: Character Interview with Blue @ Sheila Deeth Blog
  5. October 30: Guest Post @ Armand Rosamilia
  6. October 30: Special Post – 20 Questions with R.J. Sullivan @ A Haunted Head
  7. October 30: Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
  8. October 30: Promo Spotlight @ Word to Dreams
  9. Halloween: Author Interview @  John F. Allen Ivory Blaque
  10. Halloween: Character Post of Rebecca Burton @ Spellbindings
  11. Halloween: Character Interview of Rebecca Burton @ Library Girl Reads and Reviews
  12. All Saint’s Day: Review @ Bee’s Knees Reviews
  13. All Saint’s Day: Guest Post @ Beauty in Ruins
  14. November 2: Guest Post @ Azure Dwarf
  15. November 3: Review @ Angela Meadon

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCES: Cover art and inside plate illustrations of “Virtual Blue” by Bonnie Wasson; R.J. Sullivan’s photograph and biography, and the blog tour badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Related Articles:

Guest Post: How Seventh Star Press Stacks Up in R.J. Sullivan’s Haunting Obsession – (bmdimension.blogspot.com)

Interview with R.J. Sullivan, Author of Haunting Obsession – (ireadabookonce.com)

My interview with R.J. Sullivan about Virtual Blue – (sillyhatbooks.com)

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Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov in Arthurian Legend, Board and Card Games, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Gaming, Ghost Story, Good vs. Evil, Horror, Indie Author, PC or Mac Games, Poetry, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Virtual Reality