Source: Direct from Author

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | The final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy “Mean Spirit” by E. Chris Garrison

Posted Saturday, 29 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have remained in contact with the author through the years as I truly love reading her stories and hearing about her current projects. This particular story has a long journey towards publication and in truth, I haven’t read an installment of this series in five years (since 2016). I have waited on pins and needles to await the fate of Skye and all the characters I came to know in the series – when Ms Chris approached me about the final chapter of the trilogy was being published last year (2020) I was overjoyed as it felt like such a good time to read it. However, I hadn’t foreseen how difficult May & September would be for my chronic migraines – whilst I also found myself pulling out of reading more than I felt attached to it throughout 2020 as a whole.

I decided to push forward my review for this final novel until Wyrd And Wonder, May 2021 as I wanted to share my thoughts with the wider community of #WyrdAndWonder especially for those who might not have seen my previous reviews of her stories or participated in @SatBookChat’s conversation with her as well during #SciFiMonth, 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of “Mean Spirit” direct from the author E. Chris Garrison in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I knew I wanted to finish my readings for #WyrdAndWonder with a few select reads which would occupy my final joys of the event this Year 4. Hence why I held off reading “Mean Spirit”, “Esme’s Gift” & “Trans Witch” as I wanted my final #weekendreads for Wyrd and Wonder to be consumed by stories I knew I wouldn’t be able to put down. I had no idea at the time when I purchased “Trans Witch” it was within the Skye-Blue-universe – somehow that felt fittingly brilliant to me. And, in regards to “Esme’s Gift” – you might want to visit my review for “Esme’s Wish” to see why I am enraptured with that series as much as I am with this one.

I had to ‘let go’ of some of the stories I had planned to read this month – as I simply ran out of the hours whilst I was able to dodge a few migraines which thankfully didn’t fully take root to derail my efforts, I still took ill for a few days this last week of May to where only rest & copious amounts of herbal tea was able to reset me. Those other stories will be coming to Jorie Loves A Story during different events from June-November – however, as this is the final weekend for Wyrd And Wonder – I simply want to say how wicked happy I am to have been blessed to read the stories I could and to spend time with writers who are elevating our joys as we adventure through the wonderment & enchanting niches of genre throughout Fantasy. It is a credit to each of them for giving us a chance to see their own visions for their worlds & to entreat into the footsteps of their characters,… wherein our heart continues to expand with the experiences we can never forget taking with them.

Today, I embarked on saying ‘goodbye’ to a series I’ve felt has been a part of my journey as a book blogger only to remind myself that its never quite a final ‘goodbye’ when it comes to stories,… they are simply awaiting the next moment we re-open the door and walk through their worlds. Here’s to each of us adventuring & discovering & celebrating everything we’ve found this fourth year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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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!).

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Why I love reading the Tipsy Fairy Tales:

One of the best bits of all though were the classic ways in which the Zombies were a key part of the story and how un-Zombie-like they were as it wasn’t so much of a story of the undead but rather a story of manipulation, altered states of awareness and the transitional pursuits of someone whose bent on power and control but hasn’t the proper sense to realise how ill-fated that would make his destiny. Of all the stories I could have read involving Zombies, I am so wicked thankful it was one by Ms Chris!

The tipsy side of Skye’s life soon became a double-edged sword we all knew could turn on her as soon as she let her guard down to notice the implications of leading a life that was quite out of control by most people’s standards. There were consequences she was not prepared for even if she presumed they were possible, yet through it all, she kept moving forward, kept fighting and willing herself to see the endgame was worth the heartaches along the way. This story is paramount to her evolving story-line where she has to make better choices for her future whilst realising that sometimes the hasty choices made on the fly might not be the best advantage in the long-term especially if you burn more bridges than you can handle all at once. Relationships are built on trust and this is one cardinal flaw on Skye’s behalf – she never realised how much trust she had with those she needed most until the day arrived where her restless urgency to ‘do something’ good with her paratalents took away the one thing that anchoured her most in life. To see where she goes from here is going to be interesting as in many regards, she has to rebuild the way in which she manages her impulses whilst becoming the better half of whom she is meant to be.

There were quiet moments of repose to reflect on Skye’s history and on Phil’s where other characters that cross between Ms Chris and Mr Sullivan’s story arcs come into centre play and knowledge. They have a unique working relationship where they ‘borrow’ characters and each have their own unique spin on how those characters are presented. I spoke about this on my review for Blue Spirit in case you’d like a refresher. Ms Chris is one of those authors who has such a clarity about her writerly voice, she can insert ‘background’ on her characters and previous stories (or Mr Sullivan’s) without it sounding like the ‘insert previous information here’ variety of narrative. I applaud that, as sometimes I notice authors overwork the obvious or take you out of the current story to opt to fill in those who read series out of order.

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.

-quoted from my review of Restless Spirit

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | The final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy “Mean Spirit” by E. Chris GarrisonMean Spirit
Subtitle: A Tipsy Fairy Tale
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of Silly Hat Books
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Direct from Author

All her fault. How did it go so wrong?

What was supposed to be a fun, exciting convention weekend has turned terribly tragic. All Skye MacLeod had to do was look pretty in a fantasy costume and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Instead, she got cocky and took matters into her own hands. Death and destruction followed. Now Skye's burying another friend, she's broken trusts, and she isn't sure how to make things right again.

Skye's trying her best. She's quit drinking (giving up her powers in the process) and she's trying to make up for her reckless behavior and stay out of trouble, but something big is happening among the fairy Lords and Ladies of the Circle City. All the major players warn Skye to stay away. So why does she find herself swept up in the middle of things anyway? How will she regain her honor and the trust of the people around her when every choice before her seems wrong?

The exciting conclusion to the Tipsy Fairy Tales Trilogy.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Stories of the FAE, Urban Fantasy, Genre-bender



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1953763228

Series: Tipsy Fairy Tale


Published by Silly Hat Books

on 4th August, 2020

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 234

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The Tipsy Fairy Tale Trilogy:

Blue Spirit by E. Chris GarrisonRestless Spirit by E. Chris GarrisonMean Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

Blue Spirit (book one) | see also Review

Restless Spirit (book two) | see also Review

Mean Spirit (book three)

(*) previously these were published elsewhere but all titles
by this author in all formats are published by Silly Hat Books

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Converse on Twitter: #TipsyFairyTaleSeries & #SillyHatBooks

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 29 May, 2021 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Silly Hat Books, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Time Shift, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Zombies

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | feat. #IndieFantasy novelist Kira Weston with “The Fighter of Aldea” the first installment in this trilogy!

Posted Tuesday, 25 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: In  Spring (2019) I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Kira Weston – her s/o about the novel on Twitter was most enticing (see also tweet) but it was the premise which captured me the most – elemental sorcery, strong female lead, a world without electricity and the complexities of the relationships between the sorcerers and the humans! All knitted up together in a #YAFantasy which felt like a wicked good read if you ask me! The fact she was keenly open to sending out print copies of the novel touched my heart as not every author can send them.

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Fighter of Aldea” direct from the author Kira Weston in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: I received this novel for review in [2019] however due to five migraines throughout Wyrd And Wonder, I was unable to finish my readings in May. I re-attempted to read this during different portions of late Summer and mid-Autumn, finding myself unable to re-attach into the story. Fast forward through several months of migraines and illnesses (September-December, 2019) and the entire Spring of 2020 – it wasn’t until our 4th Wyrd And Wonder (May 2021) I could resume my readings of this novel with wicked sweet enjoyment! Thereby, over 25% of this was writ in May, 2019 and the rest was finalised in May, 2021.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Finding an entry of #YAFantasy during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

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ahead of accepting my #reviewpit selections
I enquired about the stories:

Whenever I am about to read a #newtomeauthor, I like to get a feel for their writing style and how they are approaching their genre of interest. It is part of my due diligence as a reader and as a book blogger – however, I do not always have the pleasure nor luxury of interacting with an author directly ahead of accepting a novel for review consideration. This is why the event #ReviewPit is such a wicked lovely idea – as it encourages direct communication between the novelist and the book blogger and/or reviewer.

I have the same general questions about all the STORIES I am keenly interested in reading – this was the series of questions I asked on behalf of Kira Weston who happily gave me a lovely response in return: The YA I love the most is writ clean without explicit vulgarity, overt sensuality and without graphic violence; I know some authors write those into their stories which makes me feel their more Upper YA than traditional YA; overall I’m not a fan despite a few exceptions to that rule where I read stories involving mental health or other harder topics.

Overall, I would say my book is pretty mild and would be considered more traditional than upper YA. There is nothing particularly vulgar or sensual in the novel, and the violence that is in the book (mostly battle violence) isn’t particularly graphic. I’ve had a few 13-year-old readers without any complaints/concerns from them or their parents.

I wanted to share with you my dear heart readers the information I was given per book during my #ReviewPit queries in case one of the lovelies I’ve been reading this #WyrdAndWonder is catching your own eye of curiosity! This way, you’ll see the process I went through to accept the stories and what I was most concerned about prior to reading them. As you can see – the author’s response on behalf of The Fighter of Aldea fell within my personal preferences and layers of acceptance.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design: 

The cover art really hones in on Lydia and how she wants herself to be known – she’s a fighter, yes, but her passion is for archery. I can understand her preference with a bow and arrow; as archery is a sport in of itself but also a challenge to the archer for both accuracy and power within the strength of how you use the bow itself. I liked the look of Lydia on the cover but also how this is a crucial piece of insight into the world she lives in as well.

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | feat. #IndieFantasy novelist Kira Weston with “The Fighter of Aldea” the first installment in this trilogy!The Fighter of Aldea
by Kira Weston
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

It’s the year 2216, and ever since Lydia Humsworth was little, she’s heard stories about electricity that used to light up skylines and planes that soared through the sky like birds. There were also stories about The Shift, which plunged the world into darkness nearly two hundred years ago and gave some people magical abilities. These people came to call themselves sorcerers.

Now, in the small village of Aldea, sixteen-year-old Lydia is training to be a Fighter in hopes of one day protecting her village. Her best friend, Daniel, spends his days working long hard hours on the farm. Humans and sorcerers have always seemed to coexist peacefully, but when a deranged sorcerer by the name of Leonardo Kinch starts a war against humans, nothing is as they believed.

When war rages across the country, Lydia and Daniel must do everything they can to stop Kinch and stay alive, or risk the human race falling into extinction.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781732254800

Published by Cool Cat Publishing

on 15th October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 364

Published by: Cool Cat Publishing

Discover MORE about this novel on the author’s site!

The sequel will be called: The Sorcerer of Vantana!

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Kira Weston

Kira Weston

Kira Weston writes Young Adult fiction, often day-dreaming the what-ifs of magic and science fiction, and how they might affect the world. Her debut novel, The Fighter of Aldea, is available now. Kira grew up in Las Vegas, NV under the hot sun and the distant lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip, and now resides in Colorado, which is much cooler—most of the time.

When she's not writing, she spends her time befriending cats, hoping for rain, drinking mochas, and listening to music.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

a short extract from “The Fighter of Aldea”:

Quote The Fighter of Aldea provided by the author and is used with permission.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Tuesday, 25 May, 2021 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Elves & the Elven, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Mythological Societies, Self-Published Author, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | a King Arthurian Historical Fantasy within “Bel Nemeton” (Book One: Bel Nemeton series) by Jon Black

Posted Monday, 24 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: The author approached me about this novel whilst I was preparing for #Mythothon (2019). At the time, I thought for sure I’d be able to read this novel as I was excited about reading stories involving another spin on Arthurian lore as I had read the Guinevere Trilogy by Nicole Evelina as much as I had read “Sign of the White Foal” by Chris Thorndycroft. Evelina took us through a Feminist portal into Arthurian lore focusing on Guinevere whilst Thorndycroft took a masculine perspective into Arthur himself. To follow those readings with “Bel Nemeton” which focuses on Merlin felt like the right ‘next read’ for me as I am completely caught inside this niche of interest when it comes to combining elements of Historical Fiction, Arthurian lore and Historical Fantasy.

For a variety of reasons, I was not able to read this when I expected nor was I able to read it during #WyrdAndWonder or #Mythothon (2020). This is why I slated it to be read this May, as it is the first May in four years where I’ve been migraine-free during Wyrd And Wonder. I knew it was time to soak into this story and see where Black was going to take us into this part of the continuing story set round Arthur and the rest of the characters we’ve come to know so dearly well.

I received a complimentary copy of “Bel Nemeton” by the author Jon Black in exchange for an honest review. I I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

What an interesting Wyrd And Wonder it has been this May, hasn’t it?

It has been quite a few years since I’ve had the chance to revisit my curiosity and interest in Arthurian lore and legend. I had intended to re-open this door during one of the past years’ #Mythothon, however, several cycles of @Mythothon have come and gone and I’ve not had the chance to pick up any stories even remotely mythological! I am hoping to change this come September as I plan to take part in #Mythothon once again wherein despite seeking out the group read for the RAL, I am also hoping to make progress into my readings of Norse Mythologies courtesy of this novel.

This month, I wanted to attempt to read some of the stories in my backlogue which are stories within the scope of what we love to celebrate during Wyrd And Wonder. Where genres can become bent into Fantasy and where the fantastical doesn’t have to be through a portal or dimensional shift but quietly sneak into the narrative – whether that is through Magical Realism or Historical Fantasy or another gentler route which gives just as much Fantasy for the reader as any other story. Those are the kinds of stories I was seeking out to read myself this month and I’ve found them looping back into the contemporary and modern world – as you’ve might have taken stock of  my readings for Cassandra and Tree Magic

Coming up lateron this week, will be my readings of the collective works of E. Chris Garrison wherein I get to read the final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tales (ie. “Mean Spirit”) and the next story set in the same universe “Trans Witch”. Those also parlay between Fantasy and our modern world – through the realms of Urban Fantasy whereas the other two selections relied more on Magical Realism to set their foundations.

For me, “Bel Nemeton” occupies the other side of the ledger, which is Historical Fantasy – wherein, most of the story is rooted in a time slip narrative shifting between the historical past and re-aligning us with our modern world today as an academic is in pursuit of the truth behind the archaeological discoveries being made now which reflect new interest in the 6th Century.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | a King Arthurian Historical Fantasy within “Bel Nemeton” (Book One: Bel Nemeton series) by Jon BlackBel Nemeton
by Jon Black
Source: Direct from Author

Jon Black’s award-winning novel Bel Nemeton combines 6th century Arthurian historical fantasy with brainy 21st century pulp.

After Arthur’s death, Camelot’s fall, and his final break with Nimue, Merlin of Camelot is left with only his thirst for knowledge, hunger for new experiences, and a desire to forget. The great druid and sage leaves Britain’s shores behind, wandering the world of the 6th century. Merlin’s travels take him to the wild unknown of Dark Ages Europe, a wizardly duel deep in the Arabian Desert, the exotic riches of the Silk Road, the pomp and pageantry of the Sui Emperor’s court, and beyond.

Fifteen centuries later, time has obliterated all traces of Merlin and his journey. Almost. A chance discovery at archeological excavation in Central Asia leaves Dr. Vivian Cuinnsey, professor of Celtic linguistics, wondering if Camelot’s great druid was more man than myth. Traveling to Uzbekistan to discover the truth for herself, she is immersed in a web of intrigue revealing there are those who will kill to learn Merlin’s secret. Teaming up with morally-ambiguous treasure hunter Jake Booker, they begin their own globe-trotting adventure, racing all comers to discover the location of Merlin’s tomb. And his treasure.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1946033055

Published by 18th Wall Publications

on 16th April, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 210

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The Bel Nemeton series:

Bel Nemeton (book one)

Caledfwlch (book two) ← pub’d 30th December, 2020!
( the name refers to Arthurs sword Excalibur)

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Published by: 18th Wall Publications

Converse via: #HistoricalFantasy, #BelNemeton
as well as #KingArthur & #WyrdAndWonder

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Monday, 24 May, 2021 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Arthurian Legend, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Colton on the Run” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first Contemporary Romantic Suspense novel by Ms Stewart also marked my first time reading their non-Love Inspired imprint of Suspense novels. I began with the series Honour Bound which ‘Gone in the Night’ and ‘Guarding His Midnight Witness’ are attached too. I held off reading the latter to await my interlibrary loan for ‘Gone in the Night’ which blessedly has finally arrived! (eek!) Thereby, I’ll be featuring those novels next – however, whilst I had that particular series on hold I decided to pick up ‘Undercover Heat’ and today’s featured novel ‘Colton on the Run’!!

Undercover Heat by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

Let me share with you a few reasons why ‘Undercover Heat’ became such a wicked #unputdownable read for me and why I believe ANY reader who loves both police procedural novels and second chance romances will fall in LOVE with Tatum and Cruz:

Guilt and remorse can wreck a guy – which is why I felt sympathetic to Cruz’s internal struggles in being Tatum as she was giving him a reason to question everything in his life. From the choices he was making about his personal life to the choices he was making about how he was able to function after the losses he’s sustained; the one thing he never seemed to give himself was the freedom to live. He was constantly awash with memory and trauma to where it was hard for Cruz to separate the past and the present. Something Stewart did a smashing job at showing as she built his character inside and out. She painted in the rougher bits of his personality with a rock solid passion for law and justice whilst tempering it with family and the compassions of a bloke who cares about his community. In essence, Cruz was a complicated character with a past which was trying to overtake his future.

Tatum on the other hand was raised to rise through her adversities and to seek a way to stabalise her present without forsaking the future. You could see the differences in their personalities almost immediately as for Tatum, her love of cooking and feeding people outweighed the hurt of her own losses. She wanted to move forward as a mark of honour rather than to avoid what she loved most in life. For her, moving forward meant a way of giving peace to her heart and a way of finding a way to continue to celebrate the persons she had lost. Whereas I felt Cruz wanted to punish himself for things he needed to forgive himself for rather than carry on the load of anguish he was supporting on his shoulders.

This novel is definitely for anyone who gets caught inside the movement of a service at any restaurant they dine as Stewart has created such a lively environment for us to explore! From how the staff interacts with each other to how they put the food out the kitchen; all those details you ache to know about whenever your eating out is included. Whilst it also gives you the strong impression that all kitchens big or small should operate on the efficiency and expedited scale as True! (big smiles) However, its not without its hidden dangers and bouts of suspenseful shock which make you itch to turn the pages! Especially when Stewart conceived of the idea for the refrigerator scene – she definitely knew how to stop your pulse for a few beats!

There is something wickedly brilliant about how a character can be surprised by her mother and Aunt! I loved how Stewart placed Tatum in a situation which tested both her patience and her sense of humour – especially considering how humourous Cruz felt the situation was for them both. Her Mum and Aunt ware good-natured and truly care about Tatum but to say they have tact and respect for her privacy is asking a bit too much from them! Laughs. I felt it was all in good folly but the reaction of Tatum put it all in a different kind of perspective because I think she likes to keep this part of her life separate from the eyes of her family; at least until she’s ready herself to share the details and that in of itself is what I felt ribbed her the most from the intrusion.

The scene where Tatum is fondly remembering her father whilst surprising Cruz with an unexpected foodie experience was one of my top favourite scenes. There was such a stirring of heart and emotions in this scene – where you could see Tatum in a different ray of light than the one she presents to her colleagues and for Cruz, I felt it was humbling for him to realise why she had brought him to that place on that particular night. Tatum was definitely her father’s daughter – she wanted to nurse the emotional wounds she couldn’t fix any other way with a meal which would warm the soul and then soothe the heart. There is something to be said for that kind of nurturing instinct and I loved how the scene played out.

From this moment in the story until the very last page, I was completely glued to the pages!! I loved how Stewart kept this centred on Tatum and Cruz; how she pulled us emotionally through the hurdles of an undercover investigation and how even at the end – I wasn’t sure I was prepared to see how this would conclude! Tatum and Cruz were both put through the ringer for different reasons – each of them, putting their personal and professional lives on the edge of what they felt they could handle in order to secure the truth. And, even then, I am not sure either of them were ready for what was revealled! It was one highly suspenseful romantic story which leaves you aching for more by Stewart! I’m not sure if this storyline can become revisited in a future installment of this particular series, but I’d love to know what ‘came next’ for Tatum and Cruz after this part of their story concluded.

The scenes with January (Tatum’s sister) were well timed as well. Tatum had a very close relationship with her family as much as Cruz did himself with his and it was great to have those extra moments hugging close to their families during quieter moments in the story itself. Most of this novel is set at such a high octane pace of delivery, you barely get to rest on the joys as their arriving into the scenes because something ’round the corner’ is going to be affecting the well-being of the characters you feel so close to as if they were already in your life!

The dizzying effect of unravelling the plot right alongside Stewart was brilliant on the part of how tightly she wound the suspenseful mystery behind the restaurant and of whom she put into position to have the great effect on the reader once the truth let out! I was beyond captivated by the plot and the persons she ferreted out at the end. It is definitely the kind of police procedural you hope to find and one that you love afterwards for having read. The ending of course was a complete nail-biter and I loved reading it because it was such a fitting conclusion to the story!! Definitely an #unputdownable read!!

-quoted from my review of Undercover Heat

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The next reviews you’ll see from me will be for “Gone in the Night” and “Guarding His Midnight Witness” before I move into reading the Butterfly Harbour series by Ms Stewart! I decided to push forward those readings in order to read the Romantic Suspense ones back to back especially after my ILL request came in so quickly! Those will be peppering through my featured reviews during #WyrdAndWonder wherein you’ll find 31 days of Fantasy being happily showcased, discussed and championed on Jorie Loves A Story! Plus, of course, a few other genres as well – as I had some scheduled blog tours as well running in the foreground of the event, too!

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run
Subtitle: The Coltons of Roaring Springs
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

Where is Skye Colton?

One woman’s disappearance rocks Roaring Springs

When he finds a half-dead woman stranded in his barn, rancher Leo Slattery feels his blood run cold. Though she can’t remember who she is, she insists someone is trying to kill her. With his strong protective streak, Leo brings her into the fold and helps her heal. As they begin to solve the mystery of Jane Doe’s identity, a would-be killer works to eliminate her—forever.

Genres: African-American Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Ranches & Cowboys



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
four-half-flames

ISBN: 9781488041433

Also by this author: Undercover Heat

Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: As your reading this story, you can tell the characters would have preferred this not to be a slow burning romance – as they knew how they felt about each other quite early-on, however, it didn’t fit within the constructs of the story given the circumstances. This romance has even more ‘heat’ inside it than ‘Undercover Heat’ and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance.

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The Coltons of Roaring Springs series:

Colton Cowboy Standoff by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Colton Under Fire by Cindy Dees (book two)

Colton’s Convenient Bride by Jennifer Morey (book three)

Colton’s Secret Bodyguard by Jane Godman (book four)

A Colton Target by Beverly Long (book five)

Colton’s Covert Baby by Lara Lacombe (book six) 

Colton’s Mistaken Identity by Geri Krotow (book seven) 

The Colton Sheriff by Addison Fox (book eight)

Colton on the Run by Anna J. Stewart (book nine)

? *there are more titles in this series!* ?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #ColtonsOfRoaringSprings

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Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense