Category: Upper YA Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.

Posted Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Watcher series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been trying to find a way to make enroads into Dystopian Lit for a number of years, specifically every year I’ve participated in Sci Fi November, whilst outside of the annual event as well. If anything, I have found my attempts of finding Dystopian stories I can sink my teeth into and appreciate to be a bit hit/miss or false starts. When I read about this series – I thought, it’s labelled a ‘clean YA Dystopian series’ and therefore decided to ‘try once more’ and see if I can alight into a world penned in this genre. I received a complimentary copy of WATCHER direct from the author AJ Eversley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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View the Book Trailer which helped me feel this Dystopian story might be one of the few in the genre I’d like spending time inside,…

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Blog Book Tour | “Watcher” (Book One: The Watcher Series) by AJ Eversley Jorie re-attempts to insert herself into a Dystopian world.Watcher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

I knew I was not alone. They would never leave until every last one of us was gone." Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect humanity, and as a Watcher she’s done just that. But the Bots and Carbons that took her city are evolving, and they start picking the Watchers off one by one. One last rescue mission will change everything. When someone betrays them, the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn. Sawyer made a vow, and she will fulfill it, even if it means ending the person who deceived them, no matter who it might be. It all comes down to one choice... Who can she save? And who does she have to let go?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781544240282

Also in this series: Carbon


Genres: YA Dystopian Lit, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Self Published

on March 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 294

The Watcher Series:

Watcher by AJ EversleyCarbon by AJ Eversley

Converse via: #WatcherSeries, #Dystopian + #CleanReads + #YALit

About AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley

AJ Eversley is the author of the WATCHER series. A true north Canadian girl, AJ currently lives in Central Alberta with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge watching Harry Potter, quoting various movies in every day conversation, and eating copious amounts of candy.

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Posted Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Dystopian, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Parapsychological Gifts, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!

Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “Right Next to Me” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I first came across the writing style of Ms Ward last August, when I reviewed her debut novel “Dear Jane” which was a spin on a ‘Dear John’ letter! Here are some of my takeaways from my reading of her debut which truly struck a chord with me, as it was one of the few times a Contemporary gave me a lot of fodder to chew and appreciate whilst I was engaged with the story-line! Contemporaries for me are rather hit/miss a times – I love them, but ironically or not, I find them to be a difficult ‘fit’ for my own particular interests in what I am looking for in a Contemporary read. To find a debut novelist who added such a heap into their novel which not only was to my liking but provided such a strong entrance with an overall approach of giving a reader new to their style such a lot to contemplate was the truer gift within the chapters of ‘Dear Jane’!

Ward chose to tackle heady issues in her debut novel – as she talks openly about having to readjust after losing grace within the church and the tragic loss of a loved one from suicide. These are difficulties rooted into the fabric of where Quinn’s life is taking her once she’s back home, realising that the world has arrived at her doorstep. It’s the juxtaposition all children go through when their maturing past the school years, where everything that once felt rosy and bubbly full of light and spirit was suddenly a bit marred by a swelling darkness of reality. I felt Ward broached the difficulties well whilst giving Quinn a humble and honest reaction to each new trial she was facing as her family worked through the impossible.

I loved how Ward surprises her readers by introducing Nick’s backstory slowly as Quinn starts to spend more time with him. The interesting bit is that it’s a good life lesson about not always understanding a person’s past or their personality as sometimes their stand-offish behaviour has a reason behind it. Further curious is how through her conversations with Nick, Quinn started to soften her own guarded heart and openly talk about what bothered her on a personal level. They were each others’ huckleberry friend in brewing chaos where a new friendship was fast developing without their awareness. I felt this was the most authentic part of the turning point for Quinn’s life; where she was getting a feel for how first impressions are not always accurate and how serendipity has a way of affecting your life positively even if everything else feels upturnt.

Keeping true to a coming-of age tale, not everything is as it appears to be – even when things start to look like their turning round in Quinn’s favour. This was a bit frustrating if your reading the novel and want to see Quinn’s story end in happiness at some point. It felt like everything she felt was righting itself for the good in her life was being taken from her soon thereafter. However, as relationships are naturally complicated, Ward does present good folly for her characters to wrangle inside whilst trying to sort out what they truly want from each other and from life.

Ward etched in so much behind the relationships and the growing season for Quinn, that you nearly are not entirely ready to meet each new scene where tensions are as high as the emotions! I was a bit shocked by the depth of spite from Quinn’s mother at various intervals of the story as it developed; her paltry apology at the conclusion didn’t quite warm me to her or feel as if she vindicated herself from the misery she subjected her daughter(s) too. The best part I felt was the developing love story and the arc of narrative that proves that emergencies and non-traditional trajectories are more commonplace than you realise. Life comes around the corner so blaring fast, you have to bolster your strength out of your faith and hope you have the courage to face what tomorrow brings. If you do, you’ll find butterflies of joy alighting throughout the days where you feel you cannot be surprised in a good way after a succession of adversity.

-quoted from my review of Dear Jane

When Ms Ward contacted me about her sophomore release “Right Next to Me” – I must say, I was quite captured by the premise! I am always quite eager to read a ‘next book’ by an author who gave me such a stirring read the first time round and as I’m one of those readers who has the tendency to fall ‘behind’ on when the new releases are pending for her beloved authors – it is quite a lovely surprise to hear from one of them and be offered to read their ‘next story’!

I truly love Sweet Roms for their ability to have an undercurrent of simple joys and generally a walk of faith knitted into them (although not always, there are mainstream Sweet Roms, too) which gives a little added dimensional joy in reading them as I do love a wicked good INSPY! This one felt quite realistic to me – as there are times when you do wonder if the person you’ll find as your true match is hidden in plain sight – either near you in the present or unexpectedly will cross your path in the future in such a way as to take you off-guard and not realise you’ve ‘met’ your true love. I think everyone muses about how they will meet ‘whom’ their meant to be with in marriage and in life; who they will walk through life’s adventures and share their thoughts, hopes and dreams with whilst engaged in the art of living and the discoveries of the world. I was simply overjoyed Ms Ward reached out to me as this became a special ‘surprise’ for the ‘end of Summer’!

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Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!right next to me
by Rachel Ward
Source: Direct from Publisher

She has a crush on her boyfriend's best friend.

How long can a good thing last? Sydney was sure Gavin was the perfect boyfriend until he moved across the country for school. After spending more time with her best friend, James, she's now rethinking everything. Sydney's once sure footing in life slips even more as she discovers new details about her own father's betrayal. Scared she'll hurt Gavin like her father hurt her, Sydney must decide if she'll stay with the perfect boyfriend or the perfectly flawed boy who's been there all along.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462128396

Also by this author: Dear Jane

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Sweet Romance


Published by Bonneville Books

on 8th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 208

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks)
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane by Rachel WardRight Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane | debut novel | (see also Review)

Right Next to Me | sophomore release

Converse via: #RightNextToMe, #ContemporaryFiction, #CleanFiction

About Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University­—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug. Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

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Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Disillusionment in Marriage, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Loss of an unbourne child, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Unexpected Pregnancy, Upper YA Fiction, Utah

Audiobook Review | “Timekeeper” Book No.1 of Timekeeper Trilogy by Tara Sim, narrated by Gary Furlong

Posted Sunday, 9 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a 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. Wherein I have become 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 “Timekeeper” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Tara Sim) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was curious about this audiobook:

I personally love stories involving ‘time’ in all the variants literature will afford the writer to create within their scope of world-building, genre and character journey. I oft-times broach how much I love time slip, time shift and time travel stories but that is only one part of how I love seeing ‘time’ manipulated in fiction. Within the Steampunk spin-offs – I appreciate Automation, Clockpunk and other such variants of where ‘time’ can become mingled with Hard Science Fiction elements as much as Victorian worlds which progressed forward in time at a different pace than our own reality.

I liked the premise of this one simply because of how unusual it would be set an entire series around ‘time’ and how ‘time’ is perceived to be controlled and/or bent out of order whilst the maintenance of ‘clocks’ were directly connected to the continuum of time itself. Whilst reading The Clan Chronicles, time is a key component of the series – especially in regards to how travel can become bent or wielded rather through different portals which can transport objects and people if you know how to use the energy properly which not only pertains to ‘time’ but to matter, energy and everything else combined. I guess you could say I love finding a ‘thinking man’ story-line where part of what you love curling inside a narrative such as this is seeing beyond what is being said and envision the mental map of how the writer originated the foundations of the tale itself. I like seeing if I can ‘see behind the veil’ sometimes, and these stories are readily curious due to the nature of their frameworks.

I am also an open-minded reader – wherein I like reading stories about different lifestyles and perspectives which parlays itself through multicultural traditions or religions and for all stories which fall under #ownvoices and #WeNeedDiverseBooks movements whilst pertaining to what I consider the fuller scope of how #diverselit leads into #EqualityInLit via the essay I wrote a few years back.

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Audiobook Review | “Timekeeper” Book No.1 of Timekeeper Trilogy by Tara Sim, narrated by Gary FurlongTimekeeper
by Tara Sim
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Gary Furlong

Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781510706187

ASIN: B01N5W6SCL

Genres: Clockpunk, LGBTQIA Fiction, Science Fiction, Upper YA Fiction


Published by Forever Young Audiobooks

on Valentine's Day, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 8 hours 50 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Forever Young Audiobooks (@FYAudiobooks)

Converse via: #UpperYA, #Timekeeper and #Clockpunk

About Tara Sim

Tara Sim

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Sunday, 9 April, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Audiobook Narrator Interview, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Clockpunk, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Clogs & Gears, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Equality In Literature, Futuristic Fantasy, Genre-bender, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literature for Boys, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin Spencer

Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became 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 “Halfway Hunted” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Terry Maggert) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On the heart tug of emotional angst stemming out of the cliffhanger from Halfway Bitten:

In case you’ve missed my full ruminations on behalf of the first novel in this wonderfully witchy series, please direct your mouse to Halfway Dead!

Halfway Hunted promo badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

When Halfway Bitten concluded – I had mixed emotions. In some ways, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts because I couldn’t quite say I had the same reaction to the second story as I did the first: wicked sweet admiration for the story in whole. No. I honestly had a difficult takeaway, as portions of the story felt ‘off’ to me somehow, something I have sorted out how to explain, if you read the ‘postscript’ on my review.

The hardest part about the ending is how it ends – to be direct, this is the second time I felt overcome by the ending of a novel. The first time was during a read-fest of Lady Darby, of which sadly ended with me unable to resolve my feelings in order to read the adorable pocket sized fifth installment. (see also post) By the time I resolved my emotional angst, I was facing a real-life medical crisis. (see also post) In this particular case, it was simply emotionally gutting – such a sad conclusion and yet, a heroic gesture for someone’s beloved. Wulfric grew on me – as he didn’t warm to me initially – it was through his love for Carlie and the overtures of sincerity he made started me to think about another vampire I liked (ie. Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel series)

Each of the Halfway Witchy stories are progressively moving deeper into the heart of Carlie’s personal growth and the ways in which her life is exponentially complicated through her experiences as a white witch. Maggert threads a hearty threading of realism into the backbone of the series – there are happy moments, sure, but overall, this is a cheeky satire with high octane drama. It’s set in a world just out of the view of our own – if you kept the veil of the supernatural away from your eyes, you could say this is ‘present day, 21st Century’, too. It’s texture of familiarity is enhanced by how Maggert etches into his narrative exchanges of cultural and tradition Americans would readily recognise. This is decidedly American – not just in how he chooses to write his characters’ unique personalities or their delivery of their lines, but rather, how the story is told. You can perceive a lens of grounding out of the author’s own imagination and living memories whilst countered against the unseen and very dangerous supernatural world.

This is why I am so genuinely addicted to this series – you feel like brewing up a warm cuppa and settling in for returning back to a place that feels so much like home. Similar to Stars Hollow if you will. Or any small towne you feel you can cosy up inside and be recognised as a resident rather than as a passing through outsider. This is why despite the cliffhanger giving my heart a lurched out motion of ‘how could this happen!?’ I felt Maggert left in just enough Hope for things to turn around and/or have restitution given down the road a bit in the next installments to where I could handle moving forward. Unlike my feelings on behalf of the recent episode of NCIS: LA (see this thread of a rant of mine) which pushed the envelope too far for me to even consider rational and plausible in regards of ‘where’ a story-line in a family tv series should go.

As an aside, Lady Darby’s story-line crushed my soul, NCIS: LA disturbed my heart and disillusioned my loyalty to a series I’ve followed since JAG (ie: all 3x NCIS are spins of the original) and Halfway Witchy dealt with a twist of fate in such a better way. If you’re going to give a reader (or a viewer) a heart-wreck of a cliffhanger or turning of tides, take after Mr Magget. And, yes… I am going to be reading Lady Darby – after you nearly lose your father to a series of TIAs, even a crushed soul can be repaired. Or in my case, a severe case of amnesia occurred because something more important was hitting my reality. NCIS: LA is falling into the category of Castle & Downton Abbey; not everything can be forgiven. Then again, I boycotted Angel after S2 for similar reasons.

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Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin SpencerHalfway Hunted
Subtitle: Some Prey Bites Back
by Terry Maggert
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time. Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?

Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten, Heartborn,

Also in this series: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten


Genres: Cosy Horror, Ghost Story, New Adult Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Vampire Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense


Published by Terry Maggert

on 10th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design: charmed by two, indifferent towards a third

Unlike my admiration for the first two covers, the third cover was slightly less inclined to be liked by me due to how ‘blood’ was the prime feature of the artwork. I’m not a girl who likes vampires or werewolves – not generally – I do have my exceptions (all girls do) but if you were to cast a wide net about the stories of the supernatural and/ paranormal suspense in general – I’m just not the kind of reader / viewer who digs a lot of er, blood. Unless it’s a medical drama – not that I can handle watching or reading medical dramas anymore – in my teenage years I could filter real life from fictional; as an adult, I’ve lived too many years with medical crises to care to always be locked into a soul-wretch of a fictional one. I even wanted to share the promo badges attached to this blog tour – as some of the quotes were my personal favourites – but again. The ‘blood’ is just too .. er, ick for me!? I always par down the blood – my imagination is tamer than most and more expansive in other regards – in true essence, I dial down the gore. Not that I would consider Maggert’s fiction ‘gory’ no, it’s still within what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’ or even ‘Horror-Lite’ but.. yes. This cover just didn’t win me over. I sort of wished for the continuity of the marker tattoos. That was something wicked original now discarded.

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About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Apothecary, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Cats and Kittens, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Vulgarity in Literature, Walking & Hiking Trails, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Author Interview | Conversing with Terry Maggert the author of the YA series #HalfwayWitchy!

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! I am happy to announce I have two new showcases about the #HalfwayWitchy series by Terry Maggert alighting on my blog today! I knew even before I finished Halfway Dead, I wanted to interview the author, because of the content of his stories. Halfway Witchy is the kind of paranormal book series which becomes this fiercely addictive guilty pleasure of a read after awhile! You get so attached to Carlie, Gus (her Maine Coon!) and Gran, it’s hard to wait for the moment to arrive where you can soak inside the rest of the series!

It’s unique in how Carlie’s voice is both forthright in deadpan honesty and how realistically resilient she is to overcome everything she’s endured. She picked up the pieces each and every time she finds her life marred by circumstances outside her control but she never loses the hope of what tomorrow could still bring. She chooses to walk the fine line between white and dark magic – where she has to interact with creatures and situations which ebb out of dark magic but she herself, is a practicing white witch.

Mr Maggert has a wickedly delightful sense of humour within the personality of Carlie and he definitely knows how to make fiction read of smartly conceived satire!  He adds in layers of his own spirit and heart to the stories he’s penning whilst craftly his niche within the paranormal and Dark Fantasy branches of literature; brokering between YA, Upper YA and New Adult – depending on your interpretation of the genres. I tend to think he’s more Upper YA & NA given the context of the series, with only the first novel being just within what I’d consider traditional YA. Again reader discretion.

When I sat down to compose my questions, I was trying to sort out what I wanted to know most about the series and how to find a way to let the author shine through the conversation, too. I  hope you will enjoy the selections I’ve made to highlight and appreciate the honesty of Mr Maggert’s answers, as this was quite the enjoyable interview I’ve hosted in awhile.

Sit back with your own cuppa tea and a hearty stack of WAFFLES!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

How did you first decide to give the Diner such a clever addiction to waffles?! What was the impetus to have waffles be the sub-focus of the foodies who loved to dig into the food Carlie cooks?!

Maggert responds: I’m a huge fan of sugar, flour, and vanilla in any ration. Given that, it seemed natural to include something like waffles or pancakes or pie as the keystone of Carlie’s diner. I also rather enjoy the use of stacked waffles as a unique little detail, and naming them “The Carlie” reminds me of my own mom, who was only five feet tall. (She was also an excellent sport about jokes pertaining to her, ahh, lack of height).

I love finding out there was a familial connection behind Carlie’s height – when I first read your reply though, I was thinking of an excellent recipe for bread pudding rather than waffles! lol I do admit – I am a natural bourne baker moreso than I am a chef even though I regularly love concocting new recipes and even run a feature on here called: The Bookish Foodie. The truth of the matter is when it comes to baking, there is such freedom in the choices and in the way you can switch out ingredients as I have a preference for gluten-free vegan baking even though I don’t always get the pleasure of baking non-traditionally, it is something I aspire to do. Esp if I could master baking my own ‘breads’ – ooh, imagine if I could make m own homemade french toast with fresh baked bread!? Aye. #beyondyum So you can see, I definitely understand your motivation to make the diner Carlie’s passion and her beam of balance in life.

Halfway is such a happily quirky small towne – it’s a close knit community and full of eccentrics of a variety of characters; is there a real-life towne which inspired you to create the vibe of Halfway the way in which you did?

Maggert responds:I was born and raised in a city– but I came of age in a small town. The natural array of people are concentrated in a smaller setting, leading to an awareness and acceptance of that which is unusual or odd. I mean odd in the finest way possible– odd is interesting. Odd is us, it’s you, it’s me– it’s the things we consider a part of our day that are utterly alien to someone else. Taken in aggregate, it makes for an excellent fabric on which to write. I revel in the atmosphere of the city, but I’m wholly charmed by the pastiche of weird that comes in a small town.

Interestingly enough, we mirror each other – I am city bourne, growing up in the inner city and then, during high school opted to live in the country; if only to have a better chance at avoiding the issues of city schools during the mid-90s. I love small townes myself – either to live or to visit. There is something about them which is alluring – especially if you are not too far away from a city. You can live a bit more simply but the fact the natural world isn’t so far away is what truly inspires me. I also like how you’ve taken to express the quirks of everyday life in a small towne – using those as the nuanced backdrop of Halfway and in effect, given a charming presence of supporting cast I am unsure if all readers are keeping tabs on, as even before you broached something in this conversation, I was musefully ‘thinking ahead!’ Anyone who has seen ‘Overboard’ with Goldie Hawn will understand the benefit of knowing both sides of how life can be lived. You’ve done such a wonderful job of giving small towne life personality, I think your readers will learn the lesson we’ve been blessed to experience.    

Have you always had a healthy curiosity about the paranormal or did your interest in the paranormal grow as you developed the series as you have a strong command for elements of the paranormal which are easily digestable and recognisable to those who are well-read or versed in this thematic.

Maggert responds: Yes. Here’s why: Think about your childhood. Now, think about how much of it was at the periphery of your senses. If you’re like me (an observer), then there’s a great deal of life in the shadows. I find that fascinating, even scary-velous, and converting that feeling of awkward familiarity to the genre seemed like second nature. Do I think there are vampiric clowns in Central New York? I sure hope so.

Ah, some of my best moments in childhood and my growing years were spent observing – life as it was being lived. I liked to take stock of the subtle details or the curious unknowns of others as they walked through their living hours oblivious to everyone else. You can learn a lot about society simply by ‘looking’ at others as you go through your own routines. However, complimented to the fact we writers are constant observers of sociological behaviour, I also like engaging in spontaneous conversations with people you only ‘meet in the moment’ of where your paths cross. You gain so much by being open to talking to someone new and someone unknown yet of the same environment or surroundings. Sometimes you get lucky and their from out of towne, state or country. You took it into a new layer of usefulness by taking the quirky and mysterious and knitting those into the fantastical through the threads of your stories. Although there is a lot of sociology in your stories – if readers take a more critical assessment of them.

Carlie and Gran have a very close-knit relationship – based on mutual respect and a deep resolve of familial pride to carry on the legacy of their bloodline. What challenged you about bridging their generational gaps but also, the different perspectives and approaches of both women to the mindful art of witchcraft!?

Maggert responds: True story: Had my Nana asked me to swim the Atlantic, I would’ve had my shoes off before she could point east. That woman, as we say here in the South, “hung the moon”. I channeled that reverent love into a relationship in which Carlie sees her Gran as more than just an embodiment of age. My mom passed away twenty years ago, and until then, I thought of her as a personification of “Mom”, rather than Suzie Maggert. Now, years later, I know her as a person, too, thanks to the generosity of memory shared by my family and friends. That’s the foundation for Carlie and Gran. Carlie wants to be great, but she’s young. Gran sees that, and acts accordingly to let her fail when she must. It’s the only way I could make Carlie real, as if she’s a young woman you might actually meet. That’s what I wanted, both to respect my concept of familial love, and to make Carlie and Gran in three dimensions.

I love this answer – and it felt so instinctively ‘right’ to be the inspiration behind Carlie and Gran. You definitely tapped into your own relationship with your grandmother and fused your memories into ‘everyone’s memories’ of their grandparent(s), too. It is a very curious relatable portion of the Halfway Witchy series and the foundation of their relationship is such a lovely bit of personal back-story!

You have a particular quirk of including cross-breeds of species in your Halfway Witchy series – which character did you find the most approachable to write about in Halfway Bitten: Anna or Wulfric? Which of them did you feel was easier to conceptionalise based on their origins?

Maggert responds: ANNA. Oh boy. She’s– well, Anna is anathema to the lives of some women, so she’s easy to write. I’ve met Anna, or her type, and I see how the world treats them. She’s guilty of the most egregious sin of all: she goes her own way. She’s a voluptuary, seeking her own pleasure and damn the consequences. With that in mind, the reactive nature of Carlie just seems to flow.

I thought you might lean towards Anna… you pulled this off so very organically it’s almost as if those passages wrote themselves into the story-line!

You have an organic style of etching out Carlie’s introspective internal world into the narrative of the series – how did you develop her quirky style of where she’s one part humourous and one half seeking a better understanding of the world around her when her spirit feels heavy by her witchy experiences? What did you want readers to takeaway from Carlie’s resolute resolve to carry forward even when adversity struck her so very strongly?

Maggert responds: I’ll answer that by telling you why young soldiers are the best for terrible jobs: they don’t take it personally. Carlie is, in fact, a soldier. She’s at war, pressing for peace with an array of creatures and events that are too discordant to allow in her world. With that in mind, yes, she feels heavy, but in the style of the youthful, she returns to form because ultimately, she is loved. Youth, love, and honor will carry the day, even when the enemy has fangs.

I did observe this in Carlie even before you mentioned it – but I hadn’t proportioned exactly what I was sensing until I read  your response. Yes, she very much is a solider enduring and championing through her struggles to face things mere mortals would shirk away from due to how hideous most of it is and how emotionally crushing it is to be fighting for mankind. You truly did her justice by how you’ve portrayed her and by how you should her endurance to ‘carry on’ and never lose sight of hope, youthful fortitude and the legacy of her kin being honoured through her actions.

 Carlie is definitely connected to the natural world – not merely as a witch but as a soul who feels attracted to the natural world. How important was it to draw out this personal interest of hers whilst grounding her character’s passion for nature as a segue for readers to re-think how they think about the environment around them? As in Halfway Dead there is a beauty thesis surrounding preservation and conservation.

Maggert responds: When I realized that there had been four billion chestnut trees at one time, I felt a pang for something that had been gone prior to my birth. I grew up near the ocean, then, in the forest. I know the effects of humanity, and being a caring steward starts with seeing where you step. It’s simple, but through Carlie’s eyes (and Wulfric), I can describe something that is wild, free, and unknown. I want that sense of wonder, because I carry it with me from the last time I walked under pines that rustled overhead.

Once we are touched by the grace of the natural world and see how small we are in the scheme of what is far more ancient than our own humanity, you look at everything quite a bit differently. Trees are old souls and their spirit leaves an imprint on our own souls as we spend time amongst them. There is something quite grounding about the natural world – almost as if we are not completely ourselves without an anchour of footing in the wild. You truly owned your truth and the wisdom of what you’ve learnt by what you’ve stitched into the series. Readers without the same experiences I can only hope were touched by the depth of what you were trying to express to them.

Moving forward in the Halfway Witchy series – did you choose to cap the series as a quartet or are there more stories in-line after the fourth? Can you share a snippet of what we can expect in the next release?

Maggert responds: I’ve got six in mind, and in the next book I address a myth that I find. . .let’s say curious. I have a friend who playfully said she wanted to be a mermaid. I took that to mean she wants to drag men to their drowning death, which surprised her. Sirens and Mermaids are BAD. In Halfway Drowned, you’re going to see just how bad they can be. . .even when they’re on land.

Ooh, dear ghouls – yes, I know! I learnt about the true natures of both Sirens and Mermaids when I was in the 7th grade – courtesy of a teacher who loved mythology even if at the time I found most of it too droll and boring. There were certain things that just stuck with me and this tidbit was one of them!

How did you find Erin Spencer and what was your initial reaction when you heard her bring Carlie to life!?

Maggert responds: After carefully making an offering to the stars, Erin was revealed to me in a complicated ritual of– just kidding. I heard her voice on another book and the rest is history. She’s stellar, bringing a subtle, playful take on Carlie that is note perfect in every way.

You truly hit narrator gold with Ms Spencer. I love finding new things to share with my readers about how she approaches the series and why I consistently love listening to her voice Carlie and the rest of the cast! I still lament, I might never be able to read this series in print – unless I read and listen to Ms Spencer in tandem! There’s a thought! lol

Which secondary character or background character do you think might be overlooked but should be considered imperative lateron? If any?

Maggert responds: Do not overlook the staff of the diner. That’s all I will say at this time.

(rubs hands together) Ooh, now how did I know you’d say this!? No, seriously. I never overlooked the staff – it was almost as if they were hiding in plain sight for a reason and you never quite overly relate their personal lives in each of the stories either. Just drawing out a general scope of who they are and why they love to work there… hmm…

Gus plays such an important role in Carlie’s life – being a cat lover yourself – how did you pull together the personality of Gus to such a heightened level of realism he appears to meow off the page? Is he a composite of your own cats or was he inspired by one in particular?

Maggert responds: He’s an amalgam of two of mine (Jimmy and Stinker). Let’s face it, cats are remarkably consistent. They’re judgmental, independent, and loving all at once. Gus is all that, simply. . .larger. He’s twenty-five pounds, whereas his ideological forefathers Jimmy and Stinker are around seventeen pounds each. I upgraded for fictional purposes.

I smiled reading this response. Being a cat lover and one who cannot live without cats, I just loved it!

If you had to pick one gift of the paranormal to embrace yourself, what would you choose!?

Maggert responds: Reading minds. Is that altruistic? Not entirely, although I would like to know when people are hurting, so that I might help a bit. Could I profit? Of course. I would know– in advance– when people are going to take the last slice of pizza. We won’t be having any more of that nonsense, now will we?

Telepathy. I could see that. In some ways, you offer this talent to the readers because your stories are internally and externally interconnected to your characters. Almost as if the ‘narrator’ of the story is the telepath and is guiding us all forward through what he observes and intones.

What uplifts your spirit the most when you’re not researching or writing your next story?

Maggert responds: There is a moment,every morning, where I get to wake up my son. It’s electrifying to look at this human and realize he’s ours– sure, he belongs to himself, but for now? His simple presence is a tonic to anything else that might ever trouble me. A sleeping kid is the pinnacle of peace, and that image will go with me for good.

A blessed answer and one I was honoured you shared. I look forward to mumhood; one day I shall celebrate being an Adoptive Mum, until then, I can enjoy my nieces and nephews. Children are beautiful lights of how we carry on in this world long after we’ve left; they carry our hearts, memories and the love we endeared to give them as a way to live fully in an uncertain world. To inspire them and to guide them is not just an honour but a gift.

About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Thank you, Mr Maggert for sharing a bit of your writerly life with all of us today! And, thank you for giving us such evoking worlds of where humanity and ancient truths walk hand in hand. I cannot wait to see where you round out the Halfway Witchy series – if you do cap it at six novels – I have a feeling the ending might be harder to read than the beginning! Thanks for inspiring so many lovely hours of listening blissitude!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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Whilst participating on:

Halfway Hunted blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsI will be sharing my review of ‘Halfway Hunted’ tomorrow. My listening hours of this lovely series ran a bit too close to the deadline as my connectivity with the internet was vexed with issues last week and on top of that technologic nightmare, I had other things going on personally which seemed to eat away the free hours I had to listen to this lovely third installment. Therefore, instead of posting my interview and review in tandem, they will be separated a bit by a day. I look forward to your return visit and be sure to *leave your comments!* for Mr Magget in the threads below!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Halfway Hunted”, collage graphic of the Halfway Witchy series, book synopsis, author biography, author photo, Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Conversations with the Bookish Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Apothecary, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Author Interview, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction