Genre: Re-telling &/or Sequel

#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)

Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I’ve been blessed by meeting authors via #bookishTwitter for five years now. I love the #writingcommunity in the twitterverse as the writers who are publishing and/or of whom like me are still on their publishing journey are approachable, relatable and keenly conversational which is wicked brill. When my path crossed with this lovely author what truly humbled my heart and gave me such a lift of joy is the fact she was able to send me an ARC of her novel in printed form. She understood why I couldn’t read an ecopy of the novel and I am the proud owner of a spiral bound ARC!

I received a complimentary spiral bound ARC copy of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” direct from the author Estella Mirai in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly excited about reading this re-telling of ‘Phantom of the Opera’:

You might remember, last year I read “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb which was her self-published re-telling of the same story. She was also who chose to self-publish her novel in lieu of seeking (or being able to seek) traditional publication for her story. It is rather unique I think, a year later I am celebrating the discovery of a second novel based on this Classical story which had to take an Indie route to reach reader’s hands!

I’ve truly have had a love affair with the music of ‘Phantom’ ever since I was a young girl – I grew up with an appreciation of the arts at a very young age. My parents encouraged me to seek out theatre, symphonies and listen to orchestrations via vinyl records at home. I also was actively engaged with programming on PBS as much as I loved the local arts community in my metropolis – not just limited to musical routes of enjoyment but also fine art and other exhibits or old world arts & crafts fairs/festivals. In essence, I was surrounded by the arts across mediums of influence whilst I was musically introduced to such a hearty variety of sounds & soundscapes, it turnt me into a lifelong appreciator of musical compositions.

I loved Classical compositions as much as Contemporary – however, I had a special place in my heart for sound for motion picture and the Broadway Musical scores and soundtracks. There was something rather intimate about Original Cast Recordings when it comes to a Musical – you can feel the intensity of the performance and you can paint the scenes alive in your mind as soon as you hear the music begin. Which is what I was trying to capture last year when I mentioned this ahead of sharing my review of “The Phantom’s Apprentice”:

The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.

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I also went on to mention how long I’ve been connected to ‘Phantom’:

I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.

I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.

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In effect, this is a story which is simply a ‘part of me’ and it was an honour to have the chance to see this story & its characters re-imagined into an m/m romantic arc set in Tokyo, Japan. For those who read and visit my blog regularly, you already know of my admiration on behalf of Susan Spann’s Hiro Hattori novels – though set in 16th Century Japan, the point here is the fact I love visiting the country in fiction. In the past, I had several friends who lived in different parts of Japan inasmuch of the fact one of my favourite Winter Olympics were the Nagano Games. My grandparents helped encourage my fascination & love of Japan as they themselves loves the country, through their art (sculpture) and musicians especially.

In essence, it feels like ‘coming home’ whenever I consider reading a story set in Japan – it is a beautifully lovely country full of Mystic roots, humbling traditions and a wonderful cultural heritage.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)The Stars May Rise and Fall
by Estella Mirai
Source: Direct from Author

Teru came to Tokyo with dreams of making it big in the glam-metal visual kei scene, but three years later, all he has to show for it is a head of hot pink hair and some skill with an eyeliner pencil. He may look the part, but he doesn’t sound it, and constant bickering among his bandmates has him worried about his future. When he finds a mysterious business card in his bag, he’s willing to take any help he can get.

Help comes in the form of Rei, a crippled, disfigured composer whose own career was ended by an accident before it had really begun. With Teru’s voice and looks, and Rei’s money and songwriting skills, both of their dreams seem about to come true – but a forbidden kiss and a late-night confession threaten to tear it all apart. Now Teru, who has spent most of his life denying his attraction to men, and Rei, who vowed long ago never to love again, must reconcile their feelings with their careers – and with their carefully constructed ideas of themselves.

THE STARS MAY RISE AND FALL is an M/M retelling of Phantom of the Opera, set in Tokyo at the turn of the millennium. It comes with a healthy dose of angst and a dollop of nostalgia, as well as an age-difference romance, a physically disabled love interest, and memorable characters who will stay with you long after the pages are closed.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781684547715

Genres: After Canons, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Japanese Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Romance Fiction


Setting: Toyko, Japan


Published by Self Published Author

on 11th December, 2018

Format: Spiral Bound ARC

Pages: 309

Self Published Author

This is a Digital First Release – other formats will be forthcoming such as print

Converse via: #PhantomOfTheOpera retell, #LGBTQ, #Contemporary Romance

About Estella Mirai

Estella Mirai lives just outside of Tokyo with her human family and a very spoiled lap cat. When she isn’t reading or writing, she works in editing and translation—which means that 99% percent of her day is usually words. In her minimal free time, she enjoys watching musicals, cooking (badly), and slaughtering power ballads at karaoke.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Composer, Creative Arts, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Horror-Lite, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Japan, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Audiobook Blog Tour | feat. a new installment of Sherlock Holmes “Murder in Keswick” writ by William Todd, narrated by Ben Werling – the duo I previously enjoyed listening to earlier in [2018]! feat. during #cloakanddaggerchristmas

Posted Wednesday, 5 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Murder in Keswick” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with William Todd on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to listen to ‘Murder at Keswick’:

As soon as you hear Mr Werling’s voice inside your headphones as your listening to A Reflection of Evil – you can denote how authentically Holmes is being portrayed in this story! There is a particular appeal for me to find another writer who can give us more of the cases Holmes might have investigated as I do love how Holmes worked out the methodologies of the cases he took on as he truly had a brilliant mind; all of us can agree about that. Yet, there is a particular voice to Holmes and I was quite wicked happy finding it coming through so very loud and clear!

We are given a short introduction of the current state of affairs by Dr Watson, who of course, is setting the stage for how this mystery shall unfold. Apparently they had recently been passing through a rather somber period of where no new mysteries were needing to be solved and in essence, the two of them were occupying their hours in wait for one to arrive post haste. It is 1896, the cusp of a new century is about to burst on the horizon – where Watson was seeking something out of the paper to draw Holmes out of his reverie. In true Holmes nature, it didn’t surprise me the reasons he gave Watson for downplaying the urgency of finding ‘lost dogs’ as you can tell how this would be beneath the great detective as it wouldn’t exercise his need to sleuth out the clues to the caliber he was used to experiencing.

In true Holmes fashion, he likes to entertain himself by solving something he finds imperative to understand – here we find him messing about with locking mechanisms which of course proved to be quite interesting as he was about to have an unexpected visitor. For some reason, this brought to mind many a scene from Elementary where Watson would find herself encircled by a project Holmes had strewn throughout the house in order to gain a better perspective about whatever it was which made sense only to his eyes of thought. Even finding Mrs Hudson had a strong voice and the personality of having long weathered Holmes demands felt fitting – as she had to put up with so much when it came to Holmes hearing him dictate the things he wanted at the market was not a shocked surprise!

-quoted from my review of A Reflection of Evil

As soon as I started listening to this audiobook series, I *knew!* I had found another after canon for Holmes I could stand behind and cheer the author on as he continues to develop these stories! There is something innately authentic about them – you’ll notice it as soon as you hear and/or read them and I, for one, am thankful I had the chance to listen to another one so soon after the first! As I started off the year on such a strong footing of #newtomeauthors and it is lovely I get to end the year on a similar note!

If you are unfamiliar with Mr Todd’s spin on Holmes, you might enjoy knowing I had this to stay about his adaptive styling of a Sherlockian story:

I truly loved the language and articulation of the characters’ thoughts as spirited through how Mr Todd etched out a familiar dialogue of a traditional Holmes story-line. You can find this tale could be easily inserted into the canon, to offer a clue to some of the missing cases Holmes could have tackled during those moments we were unfamiliar with his wanderings. Even the way in which he had Holmes and Watson conferring with each other was quite lovely as they were acting in the manners in which we’ve grown accustomed to them being found.

It was just the focus on Holmes himself which endeared me to this story, but rather how equal I found Watson being focused upon as well. Watson sometimes can become overshadowed by Holmes, but in this novella, it felt as if Watson had his equal due of the spotlight which was wonderful as you get to see how he thinks out what he’s observing whilst you get a small insight how he is as a doctor when a crisis an arise. I truly enjoyed getting to know Watson a bit better in this vein of light and of seeing how the duality of the narrative shifting between both his and Holmes’ perspectives were aptly handled by Mr Todd.

Everything about this novella felt true to the spirit of Holmes, which is what I was hoping to find inside it. I enjoyed watching how Mr Todd pulled everything together – from how he moved from changing the points of view between the characters we all know and love and the new ones who were giving Holmes quite a good chase! I am looking forward to seeing more by Mr Todd where he embraces his Holmes inclinations and gives us all a lovely collection of stories we can read alongside the original canon with a heap of joy.

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Audiobook Blog Tour | feat. a new installment of Sherlock Holmes “Murder in Keswick” writ by William Todd, narrated by Ben Werling – the duo I previously enjoyed listening to earlier in [2018]! feat. during #cloakanddaggerchristmasMurder in Keswick
by William Todd
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Ben Werling

While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite. As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head!

And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves. She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe.

Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy. Follow Holmes, Watson, and the local constable Mr. Wickham as they untangle the mystery surrounding a Murder in Keswick.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07J9Q7GXN

Also by this author: Guest Post about A Reflection in Evil, Sherlock Holmes in a Reflection in Evil

Also in this series: Sherlock Holmes in a Reflection in Evil


Genres: After Canons, Classic Detective, Classical Literature, Crime Fiction, Literary Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 16th October, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 2 hours and 38 minutes (unabridged)

Self Published Audiobook

William Todd’s Sherlock Holmes stories:

Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Broken Window

Sherlock Holmes and the Murder at Keswick

Formats Available: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About William Todd

William Todd

I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on.

I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP.

After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just released Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 5 December, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Literary Fiction