Genre: Cosy Horror

#PubDay Book Review | “Masks and Shadows” by Stephanie Burgis

Posted Tuesday, 12 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a 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 ARC copy of “Masks and Shadows” 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 ‘Masks and Shadows’:

For the fuller story behind my forthcoming reviews on behalf of Prometheus Books, kindly read my story about becoming a reviewer for them on my End of the Year Survey, 2015. I was quite delighted by receiving an email from the publicist I am working with at Prometheus Books, as before I had the proper chance to start my reviews, she instinctively knew how much I love reading Historical Fiction! This title stood out to me for several reasons: it’s the first adult novel by it’s author who has a penchant for writing Middle Grade stories; it’s set during the 18th Century one of my most beloved centuries to explore; there is a Musical Historical backdrop to the evolving story and it’s centred at court!

High society and life at Court are two of my favourite historical veins of interest – the court has a way of enlightening you inside a portion of the historical past where innuendo reigned supreme. I have read a few musical driven plots since I’ve become a book blogger and as I enter into my 3rd Year, I’m appreciating being able to re-examine certain styles of stories which I itch to read more of.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art Design: On display in the cover art are all the key marks of the story: from the ethereal smoke snaking it’s way into view to the masquerade mask(s) and the setting for the folly itself: Eszterháza Palace. The colours themselves lend such an enriched cover palette but it’s the fullness of the cover design to evoke out a recognition of the story’s internal elements that struck me as being quite bang-on brilliant as you can foretell a bit from it’s artwork.

#PubDay Book Review | “Masks and Shadows” by Stephanie BurgisMasks and Shadows
by Stephanie Burgis
Source: Direct from Publisher

The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress—a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881327

Also by this author: Congress of Secrets

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


Published by Pyr

on 12th April, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 300

Published By: Pyr (@Pyr_Books)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Read the back-story about Masks and Shadows!

Read about the author’s next novel Congress of Secrets publishing November 2016!

Converse via: #MasksAndShadows

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

My Review of Masks and Shadows:

Charlotte has decided to visit her younger sister Sophie whilst she’s ensconced in a decidedly different affair than her sister allocated at being proper but evenso, as sister’s go, Sophie has such a spirit about her to charm Charlotte into staying with her even if she’s troubled by the truth of what she’s found out. The differences are a bit great given their time of living, as Charlotte believed Sophie was attached to Court in a proper fashion not as the known mistress to a Prince, especially as she’s married yet her husband has carted off someplace Charlotte couldn’t help but wonder as to where. We enter their conversation as if we’re their long lost friends as they reveal a bit of their personalities whilst trying to sort each other out. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 12 April, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Alternative History, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host, Castles & Estates, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Opera, Prometheus Books, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Worlds of Ink and Shadow” by Lena Coakley The Brontes arrive on #JLASblog, in this aptly atmospheric and wicked emotionally dramatic inspired-by young adult novel!

Posted Sunday, 24 January, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Chapter by Chapter, where I receive opportunities to host Cover Reveals & Author Guest Features on behalf of the Indie Publisher Month9Books. I began hosting another Indie Publisher: Rebelight Publishing of whom I love the stories by their Middle Grade & YA authors during 2015.

This time around, it’s a new publisher who offered the chance to read an exciting new young adult novel inspired by the Brontë siblings: Charlotte (of whom I’m reading ‘Jane Eyre’), Branwell (of whom I never knew existed!), Emily and Anne. I am appreciating the diversity of choices being offered through Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, as I am not only getting the chance to become introduced to new Indie Publishers but new writers of wicked good fiction for young readers! This is most inspiring as I love re-connecting with this generation of stories directly being crafted to readers of MG & YA from a Prospective Adoptive Mum and current Auntie of nieces/nephews point of view; inasmuch as a reader who found herself re-inspired by what she found inside the novels!

I received a complimentary copy of “Worlds by Ink and Shadow” direct from the publisher Amulet Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A note about Charlotte and why I love Gothic Lit:

For a girl who has not yet finished her proper first reading of Jane Eyre it might seem a bit shocking to learn that Charlotte Brontë is amongst my favourite Classical authors to read! I appreciate a wide spectrum of literature as a rule, however, when it comes to the structure of Gothic Literature (both in Classical Lit and in Southern Gothic Lit) there is an undertone of suspense that lends itself towards the psychological analysis of fear and what can be perceived as fear by those who are placed inside a story whose narrative is meant to surprise it’s reader in more than one vein of thought.

I appreciate Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Psychological Suspense (including those stories that are bent more readily towards Cosy Horror) in equal measures due to the nature of how intricate the writers who craft stories inside these layers of genre endeavour to take you on a visceral journey you may or may not imagine outside of their own vision. Gothic Lit for me is quite well suited to my appreciation for the mysterious and to be suspended inside a story that brokers itself to be equal parts fantastical and psychologically spellbinding.

I like to see where writers will take a Gothic tale – will they yield to the suspense within the hidden in-between or will they break my tolerance levels and go a bit too hard into the visual realms? I am quite Hitchcockian in wanting to keep quite a bit outside of view and fully feel the emotional anguish and the undercurrents of suspense by what can only be imagined. It isn’t oft I am in a position to explore a work of Gothic Lit, which is why each time I am able to pick up a work of narrative that befits this arm of literature, I am beyond delighted for the respite inside it’s story.

Notation about the Cover Art: I’ve blogged and actively tweeted about how ‘cover art’ by itself doesn’t sway me one way or another to read a novel; to be honest, if the premise of a story isn’t fetching in of itself, the cover art will not be the swing vote to convince me to read it. I have to feel something before I read a story: be that curiosity or a perk of interest towards seeing where the journey of a character takes me, *something!* must yield a flickerment of earnest desire to ‘know’ what happens as I open the pages of a novel. Stories are such personal experiences – however, I normally do not cross-compare a cover to another cover. Except to say, I truly much prefer this one on the Canadian edition over the American one I received:

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Simply because I think it warms you to the spirit of the character of whom it’s based upon; Charlotte is such a well-known authoress who has inspired readers throughout centuries of literary wanderings. It provides a proper rooting of the narrative’s voice; and goodness! how clever too, with the dual portraits within the whole of the frame? I love cross-overlays and curious nods to narratives! The cover art on the American one is a bit too vague, but I do give them full props of gratitude for making the interior pages so very enticing to turn! Especially if your a writer who appreciates old world things such as ink wells, parchment paper, wax seals and those blessed ‘ink splotches’ from quill pens!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Worlds of Ink and Shadow” by Lena Coakley The Brontes arrive on #JLASblog, in this aptly atmospheric and wicked emotionally dramatic inspired-by young adult novel!Worlds of Ink and Shadow
Subtitle: A Novel of the Brontes
by Lena Coakley
Source: Publisher via Chapter by Chapter

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781419710346

Genres: Canadian Lit, Cosy Horror, Genre-bender, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Metafiction, Suspense, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Amulet Books

on 5th January, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 352

Published By: Amulet Books

an imprint of Abrams (@abramskids)

a division of La Martiniere Groupe

Cross-released with HarperCollins Canada (@HarperCollinsCa)

Converse via: #WorldsOfInkAndShadow & #YALit OR #CanLit
Available Formats: Hardcover and Ebook

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

About Lena Coakley

Lena Coakley

Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In High School, Creative Writing was the only course she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Toronto, Canada. Witchlanders was her debut novel.

Photo Credit: Emma-Lee Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 24 January, 2016 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Anne Bronte, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Bookish Discussions, Branwell Bronte, Brothers and Sisters, Canadian Literature, Castles & Estates, Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, Charlotte Bronte, Childhood Friendship, Classical Literature, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Crime Fiction, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Emily Bronte, England, Fantasy Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Folklore, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Metafiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, the Victorian era, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Book Review | “CORVIDAE: an #anthology of corvids” [edited by] Rhonda Parrish published by #IndiePub World Weaver Press

Posted Saturday, 21 November, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Did you ever grow curious about a new publisher who produces science fiction, fantasy, and horror genre selections in both novel length and short stories? Did you ever decide to enquire with the publisher you’ve found to see if they were open to book blogger requests to read and review their selections!? This is the situation I found myself in as I was quite mystified by the offerings of World Weaver Press! Such a delightful discovery on my behalf, and a website full of inspiring reads across SFF!

When the publicist at the Press realised my passionate reaction on behalf of FAE (Volume One of this serial collection of anthologies) she instinctively knew I’d appreciate the next two in line! I received a complimentary copy of “CORVIDAE” direct from the publisher World Weaver Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Keen interest in the world of Speculative Fiction | side note: creatures:

I regularly attend #CreatureChat on Twitter wherein I get to be amongst Fantasy writers who appreciate writing creatures into the forefront of their stories. I, entered the chat as a reader who happens to be a writer of non-creature stories of SFF. Except for the surprise encouragement I had one fateful chat to write dragon fiction of which I am passionately seeking out to read more of by the authors who write dragons in a style and method I enjoy reading.

On occasion, I am happily surprised by the breadth of their creative voices for the Fantasy genre, including how they write the back-stories for their species (as they are not all dragons who gather!) and the layers upon which they give a depth to their world-building. I hadn’t set a time to think about it previously but I do happen to enjoy reading about fantastical creatures, something that came forefront to mind when I picked up CORVIDAE. I love little insights into ourselves as we read!

Book Review | “CORVIDAE: an #anthology of corvids” [edited by] Rhonda Parrish published by #IndiePub World Weaver PressCorvidae
Subtitle: A flock of shiny stories!
by (Editor) Rhonda Parrish
Source: Direct from Publisher

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

List of Stories included in this anthology:

“Introduction” by Rhonda Parrish
“A Murder of Crows” by Jane Yolen
“Whistles and Trills” by Kat Otis
“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell
“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol
“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack
“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal
“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen
“What Is Owed” by C.S.E. Cooney
“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft
“The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence” by Michael M. Rader
“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix)” by Sara Puls
“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas
“Postcards from the Abyss” by Jane Yolen
“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz
“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt
“Flight” by Angela Slatter

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0692430217

Also by this author: FAE, Scarecrow

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller


Published by World Weaver Press

on 7th July 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 234

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

Published By: World Weaver Press (@WorldWeaver_wwp)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

Genre(s): Fantasy | Horror | Speculative | Stories of the Corvidae

War Drama | Steampunk | Folklore | Ghost Story

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Collection No.1 in this series is FAE | Info on Editor’s Blog | Info on Pub | my review

Collection No.3 in this series is Scarecrow | Info on Editor’s Blog | Info on Pub

Collection No. 4 in this series is SIRENS (click banner for info, scroll a bit)

SIRENS Anthology Submissions for Volume 3 Rhonda Parrish Magical Menageries by World Weaver Press.

Converse via: #DiverseSFF, #SFF, #scifi, #Fantasy & #anthology

+ #MagicalMenageries (the series tag!)

About (Editor) Rhonda Parrish

Rhonda Parrish

Rhonda Parrish is a master procrastinator and nap connoisseur but despite that she somehow manages a full professional life. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing.

Starting July 1, 2014, Rhonda Parrish will be reading for Corvidae and Scarecrow, two new anthologies in the same series as Fae. Like Fae, each of these new anthologies will focus on a single construct treated in many varied and enthralling ways by new speculative fiction short stories.

The twin anthologies also present a unique opportunity: to create a conversation between the two volumes, between the crows and the straw-men, between the bird tales of Corvidae and the totem tales of Scarecrow. Anthologies to be published in 2015. More information at WorldWeaverPress.com.

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Posted Saturday, 21 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Castles & Estates, Cliffhanger Ending, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Horror, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Parapsychological Suspense, Short Stories or Essays, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature, World Weaver Press