Category: #JorieLovesIndies

Book Review | “Vote for Remi” by Leanna Lehman #SRC2015 No.4 read during #ElectionWeek 2016 #BookSparksMarathon

Posted Thursday, 10 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2015

I had fully intended to read my #SRC2015 selections hugged closer to the months when the books were meant to be reviewed, however, those of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned.

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

What turnt this whole situation around for me, is being able to talk to the publicists at BookSparks on two separate occasions when I felt I was treading water as I knew time had wicked itself off the clock and I was at a proper loss as to where to ‘begin’ despite the fact I have a shelf full of BookSparks reading challenge and blog tour lovelies to read which I’ve been itching with curiosity about since they each arrived and/or since I first met them through my local library who purchased my requests on behalf of the #SRC2015 and #FRC2015 selections.

I had felt quite a bit guilty regarding the latter, as despite having my purchase requests accepted and added to the card catalogue: time was unfortunately never on my side to soak inside the stories themselves. There was an unexpected moment of clarity though about my requests, where I found myself talking to different librarians and finding they were encouraged to read new authors of whom they never would have ‘met’ had I not requested the reading challenge titles! Talk about putting everything into a different prospective of understanding!

This method of mine to recapture the reading queue of my BookSparks lovelies was working just fine up until I posted my review of “all in her head” (see Review) as soon thereafter, all was lost when my chronic migraines returnt in Spring and late Summer; marking another moment this year where my reading life was affected. It truly wasn’t until I finished my readings of The Clan Chronicles in August and September of this year, I was able to finally reach the point where reading was more pleasurable and where the stories were settling inside my mind’s eye with quite a bit of ease. I spent most of the year frustrated and in an attempt to recapture the joy reading had always given me.

This marks my fifth review overall spilt between #SRC2015,#ReadingIsBeautiful (the YA selections) and #FRC2015, however, it is the fourth Summer Reading Challenge selection I am reading.

I am overjoyed to be in a position to lay heart and mind inside the stories I’ve dearly wanted to read and now can give them my full attention! As you will see by a clever badge I created, I am going to be consistently reading ALL my BookSparks lovelies straight through til New Year! I randomly pulled the reading queue back together – I’m not reading them in reverse order now, but rather quite spontaneously! I hope you will continue to take this journey with me and see how the stories resonate with me as I soak inside their worlds!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Sheperdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

It should be noted that I haven’t participated in any blog tours past the ones I’ve committed myself too reviewing on the list at the foot of this post. I am unsure if I can resume hosting with BookSparks once my backlogue is erased, however, my main motivation in resuming where I left off was to ‘meet the stories’ even if my days of being a blogger with BookSparks ended the day I couldn’t keep up with the reviews when life interrupted my postings. I continue to hope as my reviews arrive on my blog the authors and the publisher(s) will forgive my delays.

I elected to read “Vote for Remi” via the complimentary copy I received by BookSparks as the library copy I had requested is happily being read by other patrons. By participating in the #SRC2015 challenge I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My selection process for #sRC2015 & a note on #election2016:

As 2016 marked the year where Feminist Historical Fiction took such a pivotal role of interest in my readerly life, you could say 2015 opened up the door for Presidential Literature – both in fiction and non-fiction realms of enquiry! When I first read the premise behind Vote for Remi, I knew it was a title I wanted to read outright due to the nature of the premise and how it was a fittingly apt story to be read in our modern era! I previously had read The Residence, showcasing the history of the White House through the eyes of the staff and the historical presence of how the house itself was the best observer of its own history. It was such an interesting narrative and one that was layered with insight and preserved memories which I think anyone would appreciate reading.

Moving forward a year, as I was fully interested in reading Vote for Remi, ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election – I found myself settling into its story-line on #ElectionDay itself! I even started to tweet about the joy of immersing myself into its dialogue and how bang-on brilliant the opener was to how the fictional life of Remi was cross-relating to the real-life story of Hillary Clinton. I keep my politics hugged close to centre, as I decided to not politicise my blog nor my Twitter feeds – except for showing on certain occasions where I take a stand and let my thoughts be known. At the bottom of this post is the full collection of tweets I tweeted about this novel and how I let my thoughts reflect my reaction to the campaign season and the election itself. I relied on those who had tweeted ahead of mine whilst sharing a link to an essay written by Mr RJ Sullivan of whom is an author I love reading! (view his showcases)

I am sure by the choices of Twibbon’s on my Twitter badge and the explanation I provided for why I placed them on my Twitter Profile have caught notice of those who might suspect my political views. Other instances of notice would be how open-minded I am in regards to Equality in Literature and how I constantly seek out Diversity in Literature as well. I read eclectically – across political spectrum’s, philosophy, religion and lifestyles. The world is a melting pot and my personal literary adventures reflect the diversity and eclectic nature of the human experience.

Some of the authors I follow on Twitter spoke concerns about losing their followers due to their political views; here’s my take on that particular issue: I follow people I appreciate finding on Twitter. This could be a musical group I love listening too, an author I’m keen to ‘meet’ for the first time, an actor or actress whose collective work I love admiring; an author I love to devour reading or any other person or organisation I have found who has left an impression on me one way or another. This includes publishers – as although I amassed a list of publishers I watch on Twitter, I am slowly following each in turn of whom I have read stories by which truly left me pensive and wickedly delighted for reading.

Due to the variety of people I follow, I am quite certain we all have our own views and opinions which might align or are completely opposite; I honestly never looked that hard into my followers private lives. For those who tweet more vocally, I champion and cheer their honesty and bravery to openly disclose their opines and for those who are equally vocal but on a smaller scale (like me), I celebrate them, too! I even celebrate those who keep their blogs and Twitter feeds apolitical for most of the year and like me, fuell their thoughts at appropriate times when everyone is feeling the same emotions.

Point being, I will always follow people I find a reason to follow – because I celebrate their artwork, their creative voice or the causes they are advocating on behalf of to curate a better world for all of us. I will never unfollow someone just because we have a different opinion or have a different political party affiliation. We’re all united in the global community and our shared humanity; we must strive to find ways to communicate and build bridges of acceptance and tolerance. If someone unfollows me due to my personal thoughts, opinions or political views, I accept that as it is their right. However, I am not going to go back and unfollow them, just because they let go of me. #LoveNotHate and #ChooseKindness in combination with #MakeAmericaKindAgain are my new trumpets of Hope. We must find unity together and find a way to embrace our differences and not let them separate us.

Stories such as Vote for Remi and the non-fiction debut by Julissa Arce (My Underground American Dream) are stories which are needed in today’s climate of uncertainty. Stories which start a conversation and keep the dialogue in focus for change and for a better future of tomorrow are the stories I will always champion and appreciate reading. This is why I anchoured my readings of these two stories together and why I decided during #ElectionWeek 2016 it was the right time to read both of these lovelies!

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

Book Review | “Vote for Remi” by Leanna Lehman #SRC2015 No.4 read during #ElectionWeek 2016 #BookSparksMarathonVote for Remi
by Leanna Lehman
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Fiery US government teacher Remi Covington is relentless in her desire to impart the genius of the democratic process to her students. Her so-called “academically challenged” high school seniors sometimes find her enthusiasm more than a little annoying—so, in an effort to teach her a lesson, they execute a brazen, high-tech, social media blitz touting her as the newest candidate in the upcoming US presidential race. Much to everyone’s surprise, Remi plays along with her students’ ruse—and in a nation weary of politics and career politicians, she unexpectedly finds herself the darling of the American public.

As the campaign takes on a life of its own, Remi is forced to confront a myriad of long-held social biases and cultural clichés, and realizes she isn’t quite the woman she thought was. Vote for Remi is about a would-be a presidential candidate who, despite being all wrong—the wrong gender, the wrong party, and certainly the wrong social status—discovers that she might be exactly what America needs: someone with a passion for doing what is right.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Current Events, Presidential Life & History, Women's Studies


Published by She Writes Press

Format: Paperback Edition

Published By:She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
originated from She Writes (@shewritesdotcom)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLC GoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Read the Interview with the author about Vote for Remi on BookSparks Blog!

Read an Excerpt of the Novel via the author’s website!

Converse via: #VoteForRemi & #SRC2015

About Leanna Lehman

Leanna Lehman

Leanna Lehman is the author of quirky political fiction novel, Vote For Remi (She Writes Press). She worked in the education field for six years, and specialized in developing online educational programs that assist at-risk teens.

She lives in Fallon, Nevada, with her rescued dog Henry Higgins, and spends her free time painting, hiking, snowboarding, camping, and traveling to the coast. She found her passion for writing while undergoing chemo therapy in 2008-2009, when she began journaling her experience.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SRC2015 | BookSparks
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Posted Thursday, 10 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Herbalist, Indie Author, Life at Thirtyten, Life Shift, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Public Service | Community Officers, Realistic Fiction, School Life & Situations, Social Change, Sociological Behavior, Teacher & Student Relationships, Vulgarity in Literature, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights

Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!

Posted Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. The Cryptic Lines blog tour marks my first tour wherein I was quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Cryptic Lines” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the narrator Jake Urry) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love Suspense Thrillers and what drew my eye to listen to this particular one:

If I were to have a cosy comfort genre to read, it might not be as readily obvious as my readers might believe! You see, despite my regularly gushed about genres, there is a hidden passion lurking behind the stories I read most regularly! I am simply in love with Mysteries (of the Cosy variety) including the cousins of the genre with stronger or more darkening undertones of Suspense and Thriller! I grew up reading mysteries and watching the tv serials or motion pictures, too that fetched my eye for a thrilling adventure or a character who embodied what I love about the Mystery & Crime genre the most!

I immediately felt this particular story would be a lovely exception to the rule – of not finding out too much about the story ahead of listening too it and just ploughing straight in and seeing how you alight once the story has begun! I just sensed this had all the components I love to read, and thus, would love to listen too, now that I have turnt my eye on audiobooks!

When you read Suspenseful Thrillers – there is that moment where you feel a slight chill and a slight sense of ‘can I handle this’ murmuring through your mind. Even if your a Cosy girl like me who doesn’t go for True Crime or Hard-Boils, you still have that fringe thought of – what could be the secret everyone is trying to keep hushed? What is going to be the resolution now that all the threads of the story have taken you so far afield of centre it’s hard to know which way is truly the right way to follow next?

Truly what caught me is the classical set-up on the story itself – the layout of how it felt it might read and the manner in which the narrator chose to eclipse the characters in his narration! My first instincts proved to be right – I not only loved listening to this audiobook but I became an instant appreciator of the work Mr Urry and Mr Storry are doing to giving all of us a wicked good read!

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

Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!The Cryptic Lines
Subtitle: an audiobook read by Jake Urry
by Richard Storry
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Jake Urry

Set in a sprawling Gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently.

After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines.

If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears…

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781508488415

ASIN: B01D0E6ZK6

Also by this author: A Looming of Vultures

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller


Published by Cryptic Publications

on 16th March, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Cryptic Publications

About Richard Storry

Richard Storry

Richard is the author of four published novels, with his fifth “A Looming of Vultures” due for publication in 2017. Prior to writing his first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” he was very busy in the theatrical world: He composed the incidental music to Chekhov’s Three Sisters, seen in London’s West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes, and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television.

His musical adaptation of “The Brothers Lionheart” premiered at London’s Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it was voted Best Childrens’ Play. “The Cryptic Lines” has now been adapted for both the stage and screen.

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

On how this is very much about charles, too:

You would be lead to believe this story is actually about the living will and legacy of assets for a one Lord Willoughby, but truth be told, this is an everyman’s story centred on Charles. A man whose personal life has become a bit despairing of late (his girlfriend left him without explanation) and of whom, felt there might be a transitional shift in career needed to right his perspective. For Charles was nearing that moment where remaining in the status quo was far less appealing than contemplating something new, something wholly different than the career he had put forward til now. Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, England, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Suspense, The Sixties

Book Review | “Talk to Me” by Jules Wake A Contemporary RomCom you won’t want to put down! #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 5 November, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Talk to Me” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why Jorie wanted to read this debut:

I’ve been wanting to read Ms Wake’s debut for quite awhile now – however, I had taken a bit of a break from reading Contemporaries to where I reminded myself this year, aside from focusing on the serial ChocLit releases, I wanted to seek out Contemporary Rom writers as well! Either writing dramatic, suspenseful or quirky humour novels set within our modern era and world. This particular one stood out to me as there appeared to be a break-down of communication and an alarmingly strong case for personal safety being put at risk at the same time. I like finding strong themes being pursued in Contemporary Roms as it is a mirror or our everyday lives.

Ms Wake had her debut novel published by ChocLit but has since moved on to a new publisher where her successive novels are continuing to become published nowadays. Even the cover was charming to me – which is unusual to say, as this isn’t quite the typical cover I’d be enraptured by as it’s featuring my least favourite colour (pink!) and lipstick splotches are a bit cliche (most times) but there was something about the layout and the brushstroke effect of the background (reminded me of digital art ‘brushes’); I credit this to Berni Stevens! She never fails me for being intrigued by her cover art designs – and in combination with the premise, I was won over! Proves the point, even a girl who prefers Earth tones and crimson red can embrace pink on certain occasions!

It even felt a bit like a Rom Suspense novel – even if not full-on, there is a stalker involved, so perhaps not all love’s folly and fun?! I positively get giddy over debut novels, too! As you can see affirmed by this tweet s/o I posted ahead of #ChocLitSaturday (wherein we discussed this novel!). Being able to read Ms Wake’s debut novel was such a blessing, indeed! Especially as it’s the start of her writerly career wherein she gave me a Contemporary Rom Com I could blissfully soak inside with pleasure! Even if the last quarter of the novel was such high octane of sitting on pins to await the ending!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

 Book Review | “Talk to Me” by Jules Wake A Contemporary RomCom you won’t want to put down! #ChocLitSaturdaysTalk to Me
by Jules Wake
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Olivia and Daniel certainly aren’t talking the language of love…

Olivia has been in love with Daniel forever but, despite her best efforts, they’ve never been able to get it together. Their relationship has always been a series of mixed messages and misunderstandings and the final straw comes when Daniel mysteriously starts dating her flatmate, Emily. Hurt and confused, Olivia resolves to forget her heartache with a spot of speed dating. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

One crazy stalker later and Olivia’s life is becoming increasingly strange and scary. Can she rely on Daniel to step in when events take a terrifying turn or will their communication breakdown ultimately result in tragedy?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890639

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dramedy, Romance Fiction


Published by ChocLitUK

on 6th January, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 336

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Converse via: #Contemporary & #Romance + #ChocLit

About Jules Wake

Jules Wake

Bred but not born in Yorkshire, Jules considers herself an honorary Yorkshire woman and, despite living in the Chilterns, still misses proper hills. She’s always wanted to be a writer and blames this on her grandmother taking her at a young age to the Brontë’s parsonage in Haworth.

After reading English at the University of East Anglia, she found herself in the glamorous and deeply shallow world of PR, which she rather enjoyed, and spent a number of years honing her fiction writing skills on press releases.

Upon completing a creative writing course and finding no local writing group, she set up the Tring Writers’ Circle. As a result it was incumbent upon her to set a good example and actually write, which was rather fortunate as with a genuine allergy to cleaning, she finds writing offers the perfect displacement activity. Talk to Me is Jules’s debut novel.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 5 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Britian, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Humour Therein, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, Dsylexia & the Dsylexic, England, Green-Minded Publishers, Indie Author, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Mental Health, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Singletons & Commitment, Vulgarity in Literature

#PubDay Book Review | “Congress of Secrets” by Stephanie Burgis by the author who wrote “Masks and Shadows”!

Posted Tuesday, 1 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Congress of Secrets” direct from the publisher PYR (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

How I came to learn about ‘Congress of Secrets’:

In April, I posted a #PubDay review for this author’s first novel with PYR which was “Masks and Shadows” – not your typical historical, as it held within it elements of Cosy Horror, Alternative History and Historical Fantasy; truly the niche in which the story fit was a work of it’s own, as I lamented the following on behalf of reading it:

One grace Burgis granted her new readers (such as I) is a framework of foundation rooted inside our known historical past! She’s taken bits and bobbles of real historical artifact and knitted it up inside an alternative historical setting to where you can juxtaposition the real and the fictional in seamless fashion! I loved this style of her word craft because it gave a dimensional of awareness of where we’re entreating inside as far as timescape and setting are concerned but also, a knowing level of ‘place’ as it’s a familiar side of Europe during the late 18th Century! How she found the beautiful balance between what is known and what can be imagined is truly remarkable!

I liked how she paced the narrative to the rhythm of a play – it was quite keenly illuminating all the dialogue and action, but to such a clever intuitive nodding of each of the characters in turn taking their cues and then exiting the scenes as necessary!

I was not at all surprised there were Cosy Horror elements underlining the narrative arc as this historical approach to telling a fantastical story reminded me of my readings of Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan (review) or even The Haunting of Springett Hall by E.B. Wheeler (review) as they mirror Masks and Shadows for bridging genre and bending it to the will of the author’s pen.

-quoted from my review of Masks and Shadows

Shortly after I posted my review, the publicist I work with at Prometheus mentioned Burgis’s next release and from that first glimpse of the premise, I became interested. I had a feeling there might be the same mixture of old world elements, magical intrigue with thrilling suspense and a historical backdrop (this time set in Vienna) I would appreciate drinking in as I moved through her story-line. She has such a unique voice in Historical Fiction, I simply wanted to read what she was going to create next!

I wasn’t surprised that in theory Congress of Secrets follows suit out of Masks and Shadows as you could see the leeway of how the scope of the first novel could be carried forward. Both are marked as one-offs, even though Congress of Secrets is only a scant 35 years later! I’ve learnt a lot about how series can be joined together through theme, setting or genre – and I believe this is one of those series where the characters switch-out but there are elements of connection knitting the series of stories together. They are not continuously sequenced by setting either but rather the way in which the story is told.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art Design: I was quite surprised when I saw the photographs on the cover were stock images because in this particular instance the collage effect of having them all together gave me the impression they were specifically created for this cover! I love how the fusion of each photograph blends well with the synopsis and grants you a visual clue about where your heading once you open the novel itself. It is such a beautiful cover design – from the colours and the layout of it directly feeling like the niche Burgis has created.

#PubDay Book Review | “Congress of Secrets” by Stephanie Burgis by the author who wrote “Masks and Shadows”!Congress of Secrets
by Stephanie Burgis
Source: Direct from Publisher

In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy.

Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhüller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever.

The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881990

Also by this author: Masks and Shadows

Genres: Alternative History, Cosy Horror, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy


Published by Pyr

on 1st November, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 347

Published By: Pyr (@Pyr_Books)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Read the author’s blog about Congress of Secrets!

Converse via: #CongressOfSecrets

About Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis Photo Credit: Patrick Saphire

Stephanie Burgis was born in Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband, writer Patrick Samphire, and their children. Before becoming a fulltime writer, she studied music history as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna, Austria, and worked as a website editor for a British opera company.

She has published over thirty short stories for adults. Kat, Incorrigible (US)/A Most Improper Magick (UK) won the Waverton Good Read Children’s Award in 2011 for Best Début Children’s Novel by a British writer. It was followed by Renegade Magic/A Tangle of Magicks and Stolen Magic/A Reckless Magick.

Photo Credit: Patrick Saphire

On alchemy and dark arts:

As soon as I saw Caroline being affected by the dark alchemy I recognised having been used in Masks and Shadows, I knew this new extension of the plot would thicken quite differently. It took so long to understand the darker elements which were undermining and crippling the characters in the last story – as the heart of the narrative had been a thrilling suspense, where you were meant to be kept in the dark for as long as possible in order to peel back the layers of the novel. In this instance, what was so interesting to me, is how early-on the disclosure is given that something quite alarmingly potent is being used against the will of the people. Setting the stage for a curious new perspective on how to overturn a foe who has sorted out the best advantage against everyone he or she wishes to overtake; not just mind control but a complete reduction in consciousness!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 1 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Alternative History, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Prometheus Books, Vulgarity in Literature