Genre: Short Story or Novella

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan Risher

Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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 this unique collection of stories hosted by iRead Book Tours. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, outside of the fact I did host the Marilyn Wilson blog tour as it was her second release. I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. When I came across ‘Old Algiers’ I thought it was such an interesting collection of personal history, experience, reflective insight and philosophical enquiry – it was something I was keenly looking forward to reading.

I received a complimentary copy of Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers direct from the author Jan Risher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was eager for this book & how life interfered with my plans in

reading ‘Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers’:

When I first learnt about this collection of stories – I thought it would be wicked interesting to read which is why I was excited about signing on for the blog tour! I had wanted to read the stories and curate a conversation with the author to coincide with my review, however, a few things ended up derailing all my lovely plans for this blog tour – which is in effect, why I am posting off-tour instead. In fact, I’ve been attempting to get this review put to order since a week ago Friday, except to say, my physical unwellness has been a bit extreme these past three weeks ever since I came down with a beast of a Winter virus. Secondly, my father had a medical emergency where we spent 4+ hours in the ER which rattled my nerves and my emotions never did quite settle down that particular week until the start of the next one. My father, is fine – thankfully, the fall was not serious but we had to ensure it was nothing major as Thanksgiving weekend marked his 2nd year past his stroke.

To return back into reading, I had to wait til a) my health was less stricken and b) my mind could re-attach into reading and blogging. It wasn’t until Sunday (last weekend) where I felt well enough to resume where I had left off with a lot of different stories but my return has been slow going which is why my posts are populating at a bit of an odd rate of progression. This review is one I wanted to finish earlier in the week, but I’ve literally been plagued with health issues and honestly, it took extra time to compose.

Having said that, I decided to make my journey into this book a bit uniquely different than most readers might have approached it. I knew in my heart I couldn’t traditionally read this start to finish, as I just didn’t have the capacity to do that right now – therefore, I hope you’ll enjoy the notes, ruminative reflections and takeaways I am sharing on behalf of Old Algiers!

Likewise, I am hoping my note of apology reached the author – somehow, for whichever reason, life became a bit of a determining factor of how I was unable to release this review in step with the blog tour itself whilst I had to realise also, the conversation would have to remain unknown as just to get this featured before the New Year I felt was more priority after having missed the blog tour.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan RisherLooking to the Stars from Old Algiers
Subtitle: And Other Long Stories Short
by Jan Risher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Jan Risher took the long way to get from Mississippi to Louisiana with stops in between in Slovakia, Mexica, China, Burkina Faso and more than 40 other countries. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been a Sunday columnist for The Daily Advertiser and has written a column every single Sunday since 2002.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is the collection of columns written over 15 years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman's aim to build her family, build up her community and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.

From her family's move to Louisiana, adoption of a daughter from China, covering Hurricane Katrina, travels near and far, author Jan Risher attempts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, to do her small part to make the world a better place.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946160331

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Lafayette Press, Sans Souci Books, University of Louisiana

on 11th September, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 312

Published by: Sans Souci Books

an imprint of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction & #ShortStories

About Jan Risher

Jan Risher

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. She was managing editor of The Times of Acadiana. Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was an English teacher. She has taught English near and far, in its most basic and most lyrical forms. She continues her career as a freelance writer and now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm. She, her husband and their two daughters have made their home on the banks of the Vermilion River.

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Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Daily Devotions of Inspiration from Life, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Publishing Industry & Trade, Short Stories or Essays, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Stories of Adoption, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

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

#SpooktasticReads | a mini-event of #WyrdAndWonder named after an event Jorie conceived in [2017] but wished to expound upon her idea to reach a wider audience who could re-interpret the event for themselves with a #wyrdandwonder twist!

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2018 by jorielov , 2 Comments

#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission.

Last Autumn, you might remember I conceived of this idea to re-start my readings into the spooktacular worlds of chilling Thrillers, Suspense, Mysteries and the Paranormal (with just a dash of love for Cosy Horror!) – wherein I conceived of spending a fortnight reading such lovelies and enjoying a personal readathon leading into Halloween! I fell a bit short of my goals last year, though I took it as a success – as not only did I read some rather spookified tales which I’ll be re-promoting these last days of October but I found myself wholly intrigued by the stories I was selecting to read!

This year, I helped name our first mini-event for #WyrdAndWonder – wherein I was hoping to let this small idea I had last year take flight, reach a bigger audience and find readers who might find their own definition of #SpooktasticReads befitting their own readerly life! I was originally going to only slate myself to read two Dark Fantasy selections for our event this October, but then, I re-read over my post from last year and realised all the chilling stories I was reading for different events in the book blogosphere this year aptly cross-apply to the essence of what we’re reading for #SpooktasticReads as a Fantasy loving reading group! Some of the stories of course play the theme up quite a bit for the spookier side of the genres, some of which may or may not directly (or indirectly) relate to Fantasy per se but this is one of those readathons which is open to both interpretation and the joy of having free reign to enjoy the readathon in a way each reader wants to approach it!

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A Spooktastic reading binge for Psychological Suspense & Gothic Tales!

Autumn for me is a time in the year where I simply like to read a curated collection of stories which fall under different categories of mutual interest: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic or Paranormally inclined and Cosy Horror.

This year [2018] as I co-host my own mini-event celebrating the 13 days leading into Halloween with #SpooktasticReads, I am also happily reading a Cosy Mystery about a witch for my first ever #CozyMysteryBookClub selection via audiobook whilst finding the joy of participating in both #SCAREtober and #HorrorOctober as those reading (and blogging!) challenges compliment my readings for #SpooktasticReads whilst the few stories I have slated for #Victober also work well with the context of what I’m focusing on this year! I decided to ‘let go’ of the idea of reading individual stories for each theme of challenge and get into the randomness of finding the stories which not just cross-relate but I can talk to the readers of all the challenges who are seeking the same stories I am!

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If other book bloggers or readers want to join us, please link to your blog, Twitter, Riffle List, LibraryThing List or other ‘space’ online where you are updating about what your reading – such as Instagram or Vlog (YouTube) in the Comments section below!

Use the tag: #SpooktasticReads & link back to this post – as I will happily be sharing what your doing for this lovely #WyrdAndWonder mini-event! Plus, I love hearing what others are reading in case something they discover would be a good fit for me as well!

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Posted Monday, 22 October, 2018 by jorielov in Bookish Discussions, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Parapsychological Gifts, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense