Acquired Book By: Quite happily, my path with Ms McGivens crossed in early July, 2021 wherein I messaged her via Twitter and we struck up a conversation which led me to booking her for @SatBookChat and I received her first novel for the Katie Porter Mysteries in the mail. I had fully intended to read and review this novel closer to the time in which I spoke with her during my chat but sadly, that simply wasn’t in the cards. This August I started to resume my readerly life after a difficult Summer wherein I had a complete disconnection with both my reading life and my blogging life. Mysteries, especially Cosy Mysteries have always been the backbone of my readerly interests – thus, I had a feeling that if I returnt to reading this lovely to jump-start my #CrimeFicFridays again alongside other selections I’ve been blogging about during #WWWednesdays, I might find myself in happy cycle of reading more Crime Fiction before year’s end.
I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret at Sunset Hill” direct from the author K.T. McGivens in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I wanted to read The Katie Porter Mysteries;
I was looking at the chapter sampler for the first Katie Porter Mystery “The Secret at Sunset Hill” and I was loving it. I have a soft spot for newspaper reporters… grew up on Lois Lane in one version or another and my fascination always stuck. Plus, like McGivens, I loved Nancy Drew as I cut my teeth on Mysteries quite young devouring the case files and reading the Hardy Boys too. By 8 or 9 I was given my first Miss Marple anthology of stories and I was literally in awe and set for life to be a Mystery, Suspense & Thriller reader. Although, I carry my Cosy sensibility with me as I don’t like anything too overtly violent or graphic, plus I’m not into overly peppered vulgarity in stories either.
And, then when I realised it was going to become a fully developed series with multiple installments, I knew I had to interview Ms McGivens on my chat as I felt this series and Katie Porter in particular would be a wicked good fit for @SatBookChat. As I have had the tendency of focusing on strong women & imploring narratives across genres which interest me most as a reader. There was something wicked clever, too, about Katie Porter – about how she’s quite the everywoman heroine and someone you can relate, too.
Similar in vein to how we all cross-identify with Nancy Drew but also with women like Anna Blanc but in a different capacity of course, as Ms Blanc’s life is a bit grittier than Katie & Nancy’s but evenso, there is a thread of connection between them in finding strong women set in historical eras who were choosing to live their lives on their own terms and just finding themselves able to solve mysteries as if they were bourne to it. Of course, this also brings to thought and mind the characters within Jennifer Lamont Leo’s novels & stories, too!
We could always use another wicked awesome heroine in our lives and for me, right now, that new heroine has arrived in the form of Katie Porter!
Set in year 1947, Katie Porter is a 21 year old newspaper reporter who finds herself caught up in various mysteries while researching and writing articles for her hometown paper, the Fairfield Gazette. Set before modern technology such as cellphones, computers, and the Internet, she must rely on her courage and wits to discover the truth and capture the culprits. She has a wide circle of friends who help her and her adventures are filled with friendship, loyalty, suspense, danger, tenacity, problem solving, and romance! Each book builds on the previous one as the reader helps Katie and her friends solve yet another case. Life in the town of Fairfield and Katie’s ancestral home, Rosegate, is never dull! And the mysteries continue...
1. The Secret at Sunset Hill 2. The Mystery at the Mystic Museum
3. The Plot at the Pearson Playhouse
4. The Ghost of Golden Joe
5. The Murder of Major Pennington
6. The Disappearance of Devlin Douglas
7. The Passing of Preston Peabody
8. The Case of the Casual Killer
9. The Mystery at Maplewood Hall
10. The Incident on Ivory Island 11. The Odd Appearance of Anneliese Abbott
12. The Crime at Covington Corner
13. The Body in Bounty Bay
Converse via: #HistoricalMystery or #CosyMystery
as well as #KatiePorterMysteries
Acquired Book By: Originally, I received this novel “The Living Waters” via a blog tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour which is now a closed blog touring company as they left our bookish community at the conclusion of 2021. This author and duology was my last chance to host for them and it was a pleasure of joy discovering stories, authors and worlds within their catalogue of blog tours. Let me share a bit of the backstory about how I found them and when they entered my bookish life:
During my 3rd Year of co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder, I was able to participate on my first blog tour with Storytellers on Tour which was featuring the author Brianna Sugalski on her “Disenchanted” blog tour. What I appreciated about Storytellers on Tour was their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature (whether they were independently published, self-published or sought hybrid publishing options) and their ability to have found authors who were telling stories in Fantasy which intrigued me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which was why I felt blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I sought out a book to consider for review, I actively enjoyed hosting creative content using book photography and/or featuring their authors in conversation (ie. interviews) or giving them the breadth of joy to write a guest post based on a topic of my choosing. Overall, Storytellers on Tour were dedicated to creating community and for championing those of us who are choosing to share our readerly lives each day we bring content to our book blogs.
Thereby, I received a complimentary copy of “The Living Waters” direct from the author Dan Fitzgerald in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
You won’t be surprised I’ve decided to join my first #SelfPubFanMonth this September, if you’ve been following along with my #WWWWeds posts! As I’ve announced my participation this past week. As I am re-approaching how I read and blog this Autumn, you’ll see that I’m taking the lighter load approach each week – whilst being mindful that if I cannot get to all the stories I want to be reading, just making progress into the stories is my new normal right now.
However, I need to clarify that this particular duology and release by Mr Fitzgerald is NOT a work of self-publication. Usually, I am the one to verify those kinds of details and this particular week, I thought I had double-checked myself before I wrote my #WWWeds post — however, to err is human as the saying goes and I’ve already amended my #WWWeds post to reflect the error as well as apologising to the author directly for mentioning this was self-published when in effect it wasn’t – as it was published via Shadow Spark Publishing.
I can announce other works which will be published by Fitzgerald will be self-published which made me feel a bit better as I moved into re-reading this story during #SelfPubFanMonth as you could consider this highlighting of what is coming next from him as a writer and as a published author.
I knew I wanted to re-connect to “The Living Waters” and this month felt like the right timing to do that as it is a duology which I first learnt about whilst hosting for Storytellers on Tour. I’ve been celebrating Indies & Self-Published authors since I first started book blogging in  as nearly all my most beloved reads in #SpecFic are from those two categories of writers. Continuing to find new ways to send out a signal flare of joy on their behalf is something I am always happy to root out! Thereby, as I try to read as much as I can during #WyrdAndWonder (annually in May) and by extension during #SpooktasticReads (annually in October) — it is now with a bit of joy to finally join the community of Self Pub Fantasy Month which will be seen in other posts which populate onto my blog this September. And, no, I haven’t forgotten about #Mythothon and hope to bring some Mythological stories into my readerly queue as well.
After making my faux pas in claiming this duology was self-published, I decided to feature it during a showcasing of reviews during a newly designated heading of #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday wherein I will be sharing fantastical reads betwixt and between @WyrdAndWonder. It will give me a chance to read more Fantasy each year and during the months I find myself particularly drawn into a story of Fantasy outside of the month of May, I can celebrate finding it whilst helping new Fantasy nerds to find out about the event! Let’s all continue to #EnterTheFantastic, together.
Before I share my fuller ruminations – these were the thoughts I had whilst I concluded my previewing of the novel during the original blog tour in (2021):
It will be interesting to see what becomes of their time together – what they discover about themselves as individuals but also what personal growth is meant to be undertaken as well. I had a feeling that despite the fact they were both put together on this journey, they each had a different path to follow afterwards or at least, perhaps they both had a different destiny to put it that way instead!? I wasn’t entirely convinced they were meant to be together in the traditional sense because I felt this was one journey which would encourage self-awakening discoveries. And, of course the artwork eludes to another conclusion altogether, too!
When two painted-faced nobles take a guided raft trip on a muddy river, they expect to rough it for a few weeks before returning to their life of sheltered ease. But when mysterious swirls start appearing in the water, even their seasoned guides get rattled.
The mystery of the swirls lures them on to seek the mythical wetlands known as the Living Waters. They discover a world beyond their imagining, but stranger still are the worlds they find inside their own minds as they are drawn deep into the troubles of this hidden place.
The Living Waters is a sword-free fantasy novel featuring an ethereal love story, meditation magic, and an ancient book with cryptic marginalia.
An aging alchemist seeks the key to the Universal Tincture said to unlock the Thousand Worlds of the mind, but she never expected to solve the riddle of her hermetic heart.
A meditation acolyte travels the mystical social media known as the Caravan and finds that the Thousand Worlds lie just below the surface, if she can only learn to see the space between the stars.
This steamy romantic fantasy explores the confluence of the physical and the metaphysical through the commingling of bodies and minds.
NOTE: It is independent from the Maer Cycle trilogy, but there are a few points of contact, and both are part of a planned larger universe called the Copper Circle, which will include a trilogy called the Time Before, set 2,000 years before the Maer Cycle. Found this sidenote about the duology from the author’s website and felt it was relevant to share in case others are keen on reading serial fiction with the foreknowledge of how different duologies, trilogies and universes in an author’s collective works interconnect.
Converse via: #Fantasy, #SpeculativeFiction and #FantasyRomance
as well as #WeirdWaterConfluence & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads
About Dan Fitzgerald
Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). The Living Waters comes out October 15, 2021 and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds arrives January 15, 2022, both from Shadow Spark Publishing.
He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.
Welcome to my tour stop for “Someone in Time”! I am a reader who appreciates finding Speculative Fiction anthologies – especially when they are curated anthologies which focus on a particular theme or subject inclusive to all the stories in a collection. I have the tendency of reading more Fantasy anthologies than Science Fiction which is why when I saw this collection was going on a blog tour – I was most excited! Especially as the concept behind the theme was the intriguing concept of time travelling or time shifting – one of my favourite subniches in literature to chase after as there are numerous ways in which time can become ‘bent’ into a story.
The trifecta of time which I regularly have featured on Jorie Loves A Story are the following: time slip, time shift and time travel narratives as each of them holds a different key of entrance for the reader. The trickiest ones of course are the time slip stories wherein your generally slipping in time between two distinctive timescapes whilst each of those eras hold their own secrets and their own timeline of the story as you move betwixt and between their parts. When it came to the concept for this collection – I was hoping the stories wouldn’t be as soul-crushing as “The Time Traveller’s Wife” but would instead be a bit more hopeful and inspiring.
I had fully planned to read through the collection this month but as the hours went forward these latter weeks of May, I realised I needed to push my review into June and spotlight the collection for the blog tour. Between work and my health, I was just stretched a bit thin and this past weekend I’ve been working through a low-grade migraine which hasn’t been the easiest either. Therefore enjoy the extract I’ve chosen to share today and return next month as I expand my thoughts into the collection of stories themselves and see where “Someone in Time” takes me as a reader. Meanwhile, if you are a ready reader of time narratives – I encourage you to share your favourite time bending stories with me and see if perhaps I’ve read or heard of some of them, too!
Whilst you might have noticed I’m focusing on Fantasy throughout the month as well – as I’m co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder. There will be loads of new content featuring those stories as well as we move into our final week and a half of the event. Everyone has been gracious providing content for everyone to enjoy this year across socially bookish channels and we’re all delighted to see the event grow into such a larger and expansive community; similar to how Sci Fi Month found its own wings to fly several years ago.
Time-travel is a way for writers to play with history and imagine different futures – for better, or worse.
When romance is thrown into the mix, time-travel becomes a passionate tool, or heart-breaking weapon. A time agent in the 22nd century puts their whole mission at risk when they fall in love with the wrong person. No matter which part of history a man visits, he cannot not escape his ex. A woman is desperately in love with the time-space continuum, but it doesn’t love her back. As time passes and falls apart, a time-traveller must say goodbye to their soulmate.
With stories from best-selling and award-winning authors such as Seanan McGuire, Alix E. Harrow and Nina Allan, this anthology gives a taste for the rich treasure trove of stories we can imagine with love, loss and reunion across time and space.
Edited by Jonathan Strahan and including stories by: Alix E. Harrow, Zen Cho, Seanan McGuire, Sarah Gailey, Jeffrey Ford, Nina Allan, Elizabeth Hand, Lavanya Lakshminarayan, Catherynne M. Valente, Sam J. Miller, Rowan Coleman, Margo Lanagan, Sameem Siddiqui, Theodora Goss, Carrie Vaughn, Ellen Klages
#WitchyWednesdays is a curated collection of #WitchyReads this Wyrd And Wonder on Jorie Loves A Story. I have long held a fascination with Paranormally inclined stories involving witches and wizards as well as magic schools. I read either Contemporary or Historical releases as well as completely fantastical worlds featuring a Witchy premise and storyline. This year for Wyrd And Wonder, I’m focusing on specific stories I’ve been wanting to share and discuss either during our annual event in May OR our sister event #SpooktasticReads in October. Every Wednesday there will be a new Witchy story to discover as I share my readerly adventures into Witchy Fiction this month. I am considering keeping this a mainstay of focus both during May & October for our events for Wyrd And Wonder.
In regard to the name I chose for this showcase of reviews, I sort of stumbled onto the name when I was deciding which day of the week I wanted to feature Witchy Reads this year. I thought it was original until I ran a search online, I saw others use the #WitchyWednesdays tag however, I did not source an origin of the tag – only a collective recognition for it attributed to different creative projects or venues whilst I didn’t find an actual meme origin for it on a blog or website. If someone knows who started it – kindly let me know so I can add attribution.
Acquired Book By: I have been a reader of Ms Chris’s stories since my first year as a book blogger when I first discovered her Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy with “Blue Spirit”. Over the years, this led to our friendship as we’re both writers and avid readers. I’ve completed my journey with the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy last year during Wyrd And Wonder (see also Review) whilst I gifted myself a copy of “Trans Witch” (in paperback) to celebrate Wyrd And Wonder, Year 4. Whilst I was about to dive into “Trans Witch” the author happily surprised me with an audiobook copy of the novel. Thereby I shifted from reading the story to reading whilst listening to the narrator narrate the story! One of my favourite things to do is to read and hear a narrator’s performance, so this made my final selection for Wyrd And Wonder extra special last year!
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Trans Witch” direct from the author E. Chris Garrison in exchange for an honest review. Whilst the paperback copy I was reading whilst I listened to the audiobook edition was a self-purchase of my own. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I was originally hoping to read & listen to this novel during our 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder (in 2021) however, I was only able to begin the story last May whilst I re-attempted to listen to it during #SpooktasticReads that following October during our sister event for Wyrd And Wonder.
Every year, I feel as if I have a lovely road to walk settling into stories, rooting out new voices in Fantasy and finding myself captured by the stories & characters I’ve read along the route of the event. This year what is brilliant is being able to curl inside stories writ by authors I already know are my top favourites as well as being able to gather books by authors I have genuinely been curious about reading for several years and of whom, I’ve featured their stories in spotlights on my blog but never had the chance to properly read until now.
This was a special addition to my reading stack in 2021, as I hadn’t been aware of “Trans Witch” until just before Wyrd And Wonder began. Thereby when I went on a personal #bookhaul binge to bring more of Ms Chris’s stories into my personal library, I *knew!* Trans Witch had to be among them because I fell in love with the premise quite immediately! Who wouldn’t?
Set within the same Skye-Blue universe I’ve been reading all along, “Trans Witch” is currently a stand-alone novel without a series attachment, however, word on the winds has this earmarked as a potential series but whether we see it develop into one is something we’ll have to wait to find out! Be sure to message the author via Twitter if you’ve picked up a copy of “Trans Witch” and if you’ve enjoyed it – let her know if you’d like more of this world & character in other words! As previous novels were once one-offs too and were developed into series – including the Tipsy Fairy Tale!
Also: leave your comments for Ms Chris on this post as she’ll be checking for your notes throughout Wyrd And Wonder!!
On my connection to Ms Chris (aka E. Chris Garrison):
My path first crossed with Ms Chris through a podcast sponsored by an Indie Speculative Fiction publisher which led me to hosting blog tours which celebrated her stories. 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 Ms Chris 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!).
Why I love reading E. Chris Garrison stories:
Ms Chris has incredible continuity – not just through the Tipsy Fairy Tale series but through all the stories which interconnect into this series as well. It is quite the large universe of stories and characters (as the Road Ghosts series is inter-threaded as well) – seeing how she’s brought everyone back to centre in this story was just wicked brilliant! I even loved seeing Frannie again as I felt she had a bum rap all along and it was good to see her step into her own so to speak at the height of the frenzy! I am so grateful I had the chance to read Blue Spirit all those years ago because it lead me into a series I am blessed to have read start to finish.
The author is transgender which gives her an inside edge towards how to write stories that are highlighting characters like Skye who are trying to lead lives without their sexuality, gender or orientation leading to prejudicial exclusions inside their everyday lives. This is quite apparent when the laws currently in place in the author’s home state are mentioned in Restless Spirit in regards to marriage equality as well as the perceptions of how some of Skye’s friends or friends of her friends view the relationship she has with Annabelle.
The relationship with Skye and Annabelle is more fleshed out and focused on in Mean Spirit – I was celebrating the joy of seeing this inclusive of the narrative because at the heart of the series, I always wanted to see Skye happy and settled into a relationship which was a good fit for her as a character. She’s had such a hard-won journey until now, it was nice to see something in her life was working out. Ms Chris tucked us into those quiet moments between the two women in love and gave us a wink and nod into how their lives were merging together in a way that I think even surprised Skye. It was a wonderful f/f romance inside a paranormal suspense set within an Urban Fantasy world.
I consider this series pro-positive for both LGBTQIA+ and Allies alike, as everything pertinent to this side of Skye’s life is told organically and shifts between being humourous and serious, depending on the nature of the exchange or the situation at hand. This is positive I think as it has a very realistic vibe attached to it. Skye is not afraid to speak her mind or to live her authentic truth, even if others are not as prepared to accept her on her terms, she still lives her life owning the truth she has within her and that’s something to applaud. She has her faults (who doesn’t?) but her strengths are her willingness to take-on challenges head-on and remain faithful to those she cares about whilst sorting out mysteries of the unexplained.
This is definitely an author to bookmark if your seeking #diverselit and stories of Equality where all characters are realistically written and openly honest about expressing their thoughts, views and feelings.
Professor Lily Shelley is frantic to find her wife Penny, who vanished two weeks ago. No one else seems to be looking very hard, not the police or even Penny’s family. As Lily refuses to give up hope, she continues searching for clues, even as she teaches English at Moraine University. In her search, she stumbles into a magical world; a college for wizards hidden in forgotten places at the University. Her favorite students come to her aid, helping her retrace Penny’s steps to learn the secrets of the School of Applied Metaphysics – as well as her newfound powers – in hopes of rescuing her wife.