In Autumn , 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 in , even though I took it as a success – as not only did I read some rather spookified tales but I found myself wholly intrigued by the stories I was selecting to read!
By  whilst helping develop and co-host @WyrdAndWonder, I put forth the idea to name our first mini-event for #WyrdAndWonder – wherein I was hoping to let this small idea I had in  take flight, reach a bigger audience and find readers who might find their own definition of #SpooktasticReads befitting their own readerly life! Which of course meant – re-defining it to include what it celebrates now as a mainstay: Cosy Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Witchy Reads, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy and even Gothic Romance or other such tales. I still have the tendency to read Cosy Crime, Suspense and Thrillers throughout Autumn and into Winter as well.
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. The truer beauty of Wyrd And Wonder and SpooktasticReads is the ability for each participant to find their own readerly path and find what gives them JOY to celebrate the events we’re hosting through social and the book blogosphere.
Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.
What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.
I received a complimentary copy of “The Artist Colony” from the publisher She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
NOTE: Once upon a time, I was a reviewer with SparkPress and their imprints as well as a participant in their Summer reading challenges. However, quite a few of those selections I had made in the past ended up on my backlogue of reviews; due to different adversities afflicting during those years – from my chronic migraines and other health ailments as well as my father’s recovery years from his moderate bilateral stroke in late 2016. Each year I grow closer to reading my backlogue – yet, despite falling behind on those reads, I’ve never lost my affinity of appreciation for SparkPress as a publisher or for She Writes Press. A few times since those years, I’ve had the pleasure of hosting their authors again and it isn’t something I take for granted. It is an honour and I love how they focus on stories which are inventively invigorating to be read as much as they stimulate conversation and carry forward a light for inspiring deeper readings and keenly intuitive thinkers.
On what drew my curious eye towards this novel:
Admittedly, this hasn’t been the best readerly year for me as a Historical Fiction reader. Each year, I try to chronicle my readings into the Historical past through the historical reading challenge hosted every year by Amy @ Passages to the Past (also the wicked awesome owner of HFVBTs!) – yet, this particular year, I’ve written more preview stylised posts (ie. #My25PagePreview) than I have longer reviews. Partially, it was a timing issue for me and yet, some of it seemed like 2021 was just a harder won year than 2020 which in all actuality seems a bit impressive to say considering what the former year was like to live through. Laughter aside, as soon as I learnt about the back-history about the artist cottage and how the cottage in Carmel was linked to the author – it felt like such an introspective kind of read.
I used to study art when I was younger and art has languished in my life for a few decades off/on now. I’d love to find a keenly approachable teacher to help me find my muse again when it comes to drawing as I’d love to pursue watercolours eventually – however, my main pursuit and passion of the past several years (err, a bit longer than that) has been knitting. With a new yarn destination closer than previous years, there is a strong chance I’ll be back at the needles before Autumn grips my weather patterns! And, wouldn’t that be a treasured blessing!? However, until then, I still think about traditional art mediums and how wonderful it would be to have a place to focus on art for the sake of discovering not just want moves me as an artist but what inspires me, too. It is a bit why I have always loved pursuing photography – you just have to step out your door and you’ll find inspiration. Photography was something I could maintain throughout my life and I’m blessed for it. Whereas art, in the more traditional sense backslid a bit and became out of focus.
I’m also one part of my family’s ancestral sleuths team – wherein, I inherited a love of Biographical Fiction stories from my Mum. She has a fierce passion for Non-Fiction in regards to Biographical & Autobiographical stories, but for me, I struggled to lock my mind round those selections. Until I tapped into a niche corner of Historical Fiction and found stories which are either directly derived from a person’s actual lived life OR they are an impression of that life wherein liberties were taken to fill in the missing gaps of their known histories. Both are appreciated by curious mind and I love seeing how authors tackle their subjects and how they extend the lives of the persons once lived.
On that note, I liked how The Artist Colony was first inspired by Fitzpatrick’s Great-Aunt Ada Belle and from that forethought on inspiration – came the story we’re all reading today. It is also a curious antidote of how to pierce together familiar history and enfold a relative of ours into a bit of an expansive story which can chart its own course; either following the line of history for that person or taking a new kind of trajectory which is befitting of the story as it became untangled into the pages it now lives upon. It gives me food for thought every time I see an author utilising this technique and perhaps one day, it might lay down a foundation of a story drawn out of my own living tree of ancestral roots. Until then, I chase after the historical past every which way to Sunday as it is such an intriguing place to revisit time after time, as each story is its own unique portal towards seeing History through a new pair of lens.
Sarah, a young Modernist painter, receives a cable from California. Her estranged older sister, Ada Belle, has died under suspicious circumstances. When she arrives two weeks later at San Francisco’s Union Station, Sarah is confronted by a newspaper headline: “Inquest Verdict: Artist Commits Suicide.”
Sarah remembers the last haunting words Ada Belle said to her: “Ars longa, vita brevis: Art is long, life is short.” But Ada Belle’s work is selling, and her upcoming exhibition of portraitures would bring her even wider recognition. Why would she kill herself? Sarah’s quest to find the truth of what happened to Ada Belle leads her to join the bucolic artist colony to look for clues. As she delves into her sister’s underworld, tensions surface. The darker things get, the closer she comes to terrible danger. How far will a killer go before he kills again?
Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov or #HistoricalFiction
+ #TheArtistColony and #HFVBT
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
About Joanna FitzPatrick
Joanna FitzPatrick was born and raised in Hollywood. She started her writing habit by applying her orange fountain pen and a wild imagination to screenplays, which led her early on to produce the film White Lilacs and Pink Champagne. At Sarah Lawrence College, she wrote her MFA thesis Sha La La: Live for Today about her life as a rock ’n’ roll star’s wife. Her more recent work includes two novels, Katherine Mansfield and The Drummer’s Widow. The Artist Colony is her third book. Presently, FitzPatrick divides her time between a mountaintop cottage in Northern California and a small hameau in Southern France where she begins all her book projects.
In keeping in step with my announcements about being a new influencer for #bookboxes & book subscription services, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the #unboxing photographs I took for my 2nd Crime Fiction Subscription Box as well as talk about my *excitement!* over which books were enclosed and why I think these are going to become wicked good reads for me as a reader who loves her journey into Cosy Crime & Crime Fiction narratives!
[ be sure to read my ANNOUNCEMENT to find out which niches of this genre
I prefer to read & which ones I am hoping to continue discovering! ]
I’ve had to sit on this news and this reveal ever since I first received the lovely #bookbox in the mail! I was able to release a vlog #unboxing video which I happily tweeted closer to the time the box arrived – however, life and tides, health afflictions and an inability to find the words to blog these past few months left this lovely post in my drafts queue to be published. I decided to create a new sub-feature of Jorie Loves A Story – to inspire me into diving back into Crime Fiction whilst at the same time, finding traction with how to blog, read and discuss the lovely #newtomeauthors the #CrimeFictionBox has delivered to my postbox!!
In case you’ve missed my first announcement –
here is what you can expect from receiving your very own #CrimeFictionBox:
→ One small switch from my first announcement: The #CrimeFictionBox NOW ships within a week of being ordered! No time delays for receiving your book box!
→ Remember: if a customer emails and asks for specific authors and/or types of stories not to be included they will do their best to fulfill those requests. They’re a small outfit so it’s not an issue.
→ If someone has a bad experience with the books, we just add an additional book the following month. No returns on books received.
→ They offer monthly, yearly and a bookcase option on their Boxes Page! You can choose from receiving 2x books per month (ie. Main Box) OR 3x books per month (ie. Big Box). Those subscriptions are also calculated for yearly subscriptions vs monthly installments. There is also a Large Print #bookbox option for both!
→ One aspect of this subscription service I *loved!* most is that they champion #CanLit Authors! You can request to receive Canadian Authors in your boxes and for me that is the best component of the box itself because I’ve been wanting to source and read more #CanLit Authors for such a long time!
→ In regards to the Crime Fiction novelists being featured in the #CrimeFictionBox: I had a curious itch to know the answer to this question as I read and follow so many who write these kinds of stories – I know some might visit my post out of curiosity… the answer was a sweet one: #CrimeFictionBox is OPEN to featuring world-wide authors of Crime!! Isn’t that beyond fab!?!
→ Shipping is FREE for North America. Seriously. I think that’s a game changer for most considering how steep shipping and handling fees are these days!
→ Before you ask – there aren’t ‘extras’ or swag or other inclusions right now currently in the boxes. There are plans being developed towards that end – however, wait til you read my REVEAL post and realise how *fab!* these boxes are even without some of the ‘extras’ you might be familiar with in other subscription boxes. REMEMBER these are tailored to your readerly interests and thereby not the traditional subscription box service.
→ Father’s Day Special: 3x month subscription, 2x books per month!
(*) Due Note: I am a promotional #partner and/or Influencer with Crime Fiction Subscription Box but similar to how I receive books from publishers, authors & publicists or early review programs – I am not being monetarily compensated for sharing my experiences, impressions, reviews or the links to their website on my blog Jorie Loves A Story nor on my feeds on Twitter (@joriestory). Nor for the coupon code which is a discount for new subscribers to the Crime Fiction Subscription Box service.
IF you’d like to order your own Crime Fiction Subscription box,
you can use my coupon code → 25%JORIE
→ *This applies to your first order only.
And, reflects ONLY on the Main Box & Big Box Monthly subscriptions.*
You might be aware of my *slight!* addiction to reading #LoveINSPIRED Suspense novels?!
I generally gush over this imprint & the authors who pen the stories being published by Love Inspired during the Summer – specifically during *July!* as there is an INSPY readathon I’ve found I love to join which is a celebration of INSPY Lit wherein it is the kind of readathon where you can read at your own pace whilst marking off certain goals which allow you to put your hat into the giveaways which run all month long enabling you to potentially win a few new books by INSPY authors you might not have read as of yet! For me, its a win-win – as I love celebrating INSPY authors and I love reading Love Inspired! (big smiles)
Only a few times as a book blogger I’ve had the proper chance to champion the authors of this imprint by hosting one of their lovely blog tours. One in particular I was able to read & review – which was “No Safe Place” by Sherri Shackelford for Prism Book Tours. Thus, when I saw the “Border Breach” tour was accepting bloggers who wanted to interview the author – I knew I had to sign on as a potential host as next to reading the books, I love being able to interact with the authors directly!
Let’s talk moment about why I *love!* Love Inspired Suspense and the kinds of stories and/or series I’ve had the joy of discovering as I read my way through their backlist and frontlist titles! As this has become a bit of a passion project of joy between Mum and I – we love gathering new books by Love Inspired Suspense authors we’ve previously read or are curiously wanting to be reading next – and by ‘new’ books, I’m referring to us giving the books a bit more love themselves as the books are gently used and/or previously loved copies we’ve found via our local used book resources. These books sometimes have their spines damaged but the pages inside are clean and crisp and/or they are lovingly read so many times the pages feel textually touched by the many different readers who’ve found them before us!
Originally, I wanted to find a way for Mum to have a small break on her 12 hours shifts – as she’s in Home Health working with seniors and during the early years of my Dad’s stroke recovery she was working round the clock and on a seven day cycle whilst I was Dad’s caregiver helping him with his needs post-stroke (this was throughout 2017). I knew she loved reading the short novellas and novels from the previous publisher we both enjoyed for INSPY Fiction – which was known as Heartsong Presents – this predates the Love Inspired imprints by Harlequin! Knowing this – I thought maybe she might like a break from reading Contemporary & Historical traditional INSPY narratives and suggested she give Love Inspired Suspense a bit of a go!
The result was smashing as we both found a new imprint to LOVE reading together whilst we were discovering authors like Elizabeth Goddard (Mum’s top favourite), Laura Scott, Susan Sleeman (Mum enjoys her stories a bit more than I do), Lisa Harris, Lenora Worth and several others as we move in and out of their mini-series for Love Inspired Suspense and read their one-offs as well which are not serialised. Each time we find a new story or a new series – we get wicked giddy – wondering if it will be a new beloved author! For a good example – it is the Callahan Confidential series we both gush over the most (writ by Laura Scott) when it comes to getting the chance to tag team reading one of the series!
So you can understand why I was wicked thankful to be selected for this lovely blog tour! I was delighted having the chance to interview one of the authors and I am hoping to find a copy of her novel “Border Breach” at some point in the near future as it would be a delight of joy to read the book after hosting her interview! For now, I hope I’ve tempted you with a bit of curiosity about these Romantic Suspense novelists and their stories which are giving us more wicked good reads as a Mum and daughter reading team!
When drugs are smuggled across the border it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.
Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?
Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in  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.
By hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, 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 in particular). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library via 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 began to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.
Through hosting with Audiobookworm Promotions, I crossed paths with Mr Urry, as my first audiobook review was for “The Cryptic Lines” – a story I listened to at least four times, as I was simply captivated by both the story and the narrator! This was back in  and in this small frame of time, Mr Urry has remained my favourite narrator of Suspense – although my short-list now includes Moira Quirk (of Anna Blanc series) and Alison Campbell (of Kay Hunter series) – as well as the other lovely narrators I mentioned in this tweet s/o of narrator appreciation!
In early 2018, Mr Urry approached me about considering his titles for review – I was able to select which titles interested me, even though I think he knew I was keen on hearing the next installment of this particular series (Ruritanian Rogues) as I enjoyed the first story and was interested in seeing what the next chapter would reveal. In regards to my second choice, I wanted to try a different kind of Suspense story which was slightly unique in concept and plot direction which is why I selected “The Tesla Gate”. This marks my first review working directly with Mr Urry – as I have three planned to be featured during #SpooktasticReads Year II with a fourth following suit in early November.
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Nest of Vipers” from the narrator Jake Urry in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
What I loved about ‘A Looming of Vultures’:
aside from my obvious appreciation of: Storry & Urry!
It surprises me not, this story begins with a dash of prose – of poetic insinuation to set the tone of the story yet to be told. Storry has a curiously instinctive way of placing you exactly where you need to be at the beginning of his stories – of enveloping you in the ominously unknown setting you’ve not yet had a proper glimpse of but one you can feel is lurking there – slightly shadowed and held back from your direct observation; lingering a bit to give you a fuller breadth of why this story needs to be one you must hear. He builds the curiosity by slowly shifting your perspective into his world-view – combined with the gentle nudging by Urry, to guide you within these realms, whose voice is as alluring and addictive as your favourite actor whose transformation confirms the role he’s taken on – the stage is magnificently set for your immersion.
There is a metaphoric overlay about vultures – of their creature specific personalities and how they appear in the sky, as their flights are of particular choosing – where only their motivations for going where they go is not as well known to those who observe them. They seek their own way, of choosing to visit certain places for specific reasons – whether to eat what was left behind for them to consume (as they were scavengers; part of the team of the nature’s world band of undertakers) or whether their presence was needed for something else entirely. They had keen minds, nothing escaped their attention, where their olfactory senses were intensively attuned to their environment.
With reasons to avoid human encampments – it was curious to find one such creature was more daringly moving in circles of closeness to where the humans were already gathered. His patience was part of his fortitude, his mannerisms held their own truths but his eyes drank in everything moving in front of him; to be dissected for what it would yield for his own means of enjoyment.
There are a lot of layers to this story – as you peer into each of them, you start to see things differently than what you first hear the first time round. However, having said this – one of the joys is observing the thief – the gull this person has at keeping their promises to carry out their plans, but also, how passionate they are in being able to carry off whatever they deem is worthy of their time. One of my favourite scenes was actually a moment where the thief was nearly found out – because it showed the other side of thieving – of how close one can become to being caught! Mind you, this person is so blinded by their pursuit of what they want – they can’t process any other observation on their actions!
I truly loved how Storry makes this an immersive experience for the reader – you get to feel guided a bit by how he’s setting everything up to be followed in direct pursuit of his characters, but there are moments where even the characters themselves are not as certain about where they are going – as they have to move through their setting as if visiting it for the first time, to navigate themselves out of it. There is a particular moment where you felt most intrigued for how little elements are knitted into the background each step of the way, as there are remnants of the historical era of this story here and there; little touches of grounding you in a time-line which makes sense for the general awareness of ‘when’ we’ve been transported.
And, in regards to Mr Urry’s narration:
This is dearly theatrical because you get caught up in the height of how each character is presented – they are so very well attuned to their distinct personalities, you can listen to how they are dimensionally being portrayed. In this kind of performance it is easier to alight inside the narrative because you can see each of the characters in turn, their voices altering between each other and this never sounds like a novel being voiced by one narrator. The joyful bit is unravelling the plot through what your listening too – as Mr Urry gives such depth to everyone he’s portraying as it automatically thickens the plot because your feeling your way through the story the same way you do as your reading a book in print. This is why I love listening to how he narrates his stories!
A string of unexplained, gruesome deaths brings fear and uncertainty to the streets of Ruritania’s capital.
And it could not have happened at a worse time. The planned visit by the Vice Chancellor of Jermania to commence peace talks is thrown into jeopardy. Will all the preparation for the negotiations come to nothing? Will the brutal war between the two nations escalate once again?
Meanwhile, the spate of thefts from wealthy homes continues. Who is responsible? And how can they be stopped?
And who is the mysterious figure who continually gains illegal access to the city apothecary?
With many conflicting and intertwining agendas, this proud and noble city faces the very real danger of becoming a nest of vipers.