Source: Won a Bookaway

#SpooktasticReads Book Review | “#Paranormal Texas: Your travel guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Forth Worth” by Tui Snider

Posted Thursday, 19 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I used to attend two weekly chats quite regularly when I first joined Twitter in late Autumn 2013, extending into 2014 and 2015; by 2016 I started to withdraw from the chat community on Twitter due to the increases in my chronic migraines. Whilst I was attending #K8Chat (hosted by Kate Tilton) in 2014, I won one of the weekly bookaways whilst being asked by the author if I would like a second book by her to consider for review purposes. Therefore, I received two books in the Post: “Paranormal Texas” and “Unexpected Texas”; this marks the first of two reviews I am showcasing this year during my fortnight of Spooktastic Reads! Thereby, I received a complimentary copy of “Paranormal Texas” direct from the author Tui Snider without obligation to post a review; I decided to post one for my own edification and to share with my readers what I found within this lovely Guide! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Being a former chatter during #StoryDam & why these books interested me:

I cannot remember exactly if I first crossed paths with Tui Snider during #StoryDam and/or #K8Chat; the latter was disbanded a few weeks ‘before’ I was going to return to the chat after taking a sabbatical (due to my migraines). I was crestfallen by the news but fully understood why Ms Tilton decided to ‘move on’. There are seasons in everything in life, including the chats which are happily taking their entrances and exits on Twitter!

I believe I lamented on my #SpooktasticReads post we first met during #StoryDam – either way you slice it, the reason I was most keen on her Non-Fiction works is because we share an interest in the following things:

*paranormal shows (fiction & non-fiction)

*paranormal fiction

*haunted houses

*the unexplained

Finding Ms Snider was a blessing in my life – as I previously mentioned, she has the kind of spirit your hoping to find online – one which is accepting and encouraging whilst having a bubbly personality who makes you feel welcome as soon as you start to chat with her! The best part of course of crossing her path was becoming attuned to the Non-Fiction works she was developing which speak to the heart of another love we share: stories of the Historical Past which are still being discovered today!

Despite the time delay in reading her books and posting my ruminative thoughts, one thing which staid with me is the manner in which she wrote them! She makes them a lively romp through unexpected historical notations on both the living persons who lived interesting lives and the ‘afterlife’ adventures of those spirits who have not yet crossed into the Light! These are the spirits who I am sure “The Ghost Whisperer” would love to chat with and find out their ‘true story’ of why they feel they need to stay ‘inbetween’. If you loved the series as much as I did, you are surely going to love Ms Snider’s companionable way of entertaining your curiosity with newfound lore, legend and the mysteriously interesting incidents which make North Texas a keen place to visit!

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#SpooktasticReads Book Review | “#Paranormal Texas: Your travel guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Forth Worth” by Tui SniderParanormal Texas
Subtitle: Your travel guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Forth Worth
by Tui Snider
Source: Direct from Author, Won a Bookaway

Why creep around at night when so many haunted places in north Texas are open to the public & active during the day?

Not only does Tui Snider explain the intriguing stories behind the paranormal activity in the Dallas - Ft. Worth area, but she gives directions to places you can visit in person, such as the:

* Serial Killer’s Grave where EVP’s & Anomalous Photos are common
* Amusement Park where a Little Girl Haunts the Candy Store
* Country Graveyard with a Mysteriously Glowing Tombstone
* Hotel so Haunted that a University teaches Parapsychology there
* Historic Cemetery where people get EVP’s and Orbs in Broad Daylight
* Ghost Town with an Operatic Apparition & a Haunted Restaurant
* B&B with a Gentlemanly Ghost who seems Protective of Women
* Theatre that kept it’s Resident Ghost in mind when remodeling
* Historic Town Squares where nearly Every Shop has a Ghost!

… & much more!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1500766085

Genres: Current Events, Ghost Story, Gothic Literature, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by Self Published Author

on 19th August, 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 183

Self-Published Non-Fiction

The two books I am reading by Ms Snider this October:

Paranormal Texas by Tui SniderUnexpected Texas by Tui Snider

1. Tui’s first book, Unexpected Texas,  is a travel guide to quirky, offbeat and overlooked places within easy reach of the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex. It was released on March 2, 2014 and remains a bestseller in Dallas – Fort Worth Travel on Amazon. In 2015, this book won first place in the North Texas Book Festival.

2. Tui’s second book, Paranormal Texas is a travel guide to haunted places in north Texas. It was released in October 2014 and also remains an Amazon bestseller.

3. Tui’s third book, The Lynching of the Santa Bank Robber, is a strange-but-true tale of West Texas history. This book was released in March of 2016, and came in 2nd place in the North Texas Book Festival that year.

4. Tui’s fourth book, Come to My Senses, is a companion book of lyrics and photos for the dream pop CD she released in conjunction with her first photography exhibit and writing residency for Tarleton State University’s Langdon Review in 2016.

5. Tui’s fifth book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Workbook for Exploring Historic Graveyards, is being cross-released as both a paperback and an ebook.The book officially released on August 19, 2017.

Converse via: #TexasHistory, #Paranormal, #Ghosts & #NonFiction

About Tui Snider

Tui Snider

Tui Snider is an award-winning author, speaker, photographer, and musician who specializes in quirky, offbeat and overlooked places, historic graveyards, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”

After living in Belgium, Italy, and a tiny island with a population of 7, Tui now calls the state of Texas her home. Even so, she has experienced as much culture shock in the Lone Star State as she ever did overseas!

For Tui, travel is a mindset. Her motto is “Even home is a travel destination,” and she believes “The world is only boring if you take everyone else’s word for it.”

Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, and Unexpected Texas.

In August 2017, Tui Snider released her 5th book called Understanding Cemetery Symbols, this book is a guide to the forgotten meaning of symbols and acronyms our ancestors left on their headstones. Preorder sales went so well Understanding Cemetery Symbols became an Amazon best seller!

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. In 2016, she was the writer-in-residence for Tarleton State University’s Langdon Review. In 2017, she taught a series of courses at Texas Christian University based on her books.

Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of publications, including Coast to Coast AM, FOX Travel News, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and many more.

In addition, Tui is a singer/songwriter who plays several instruments. Listeners frequently describe her dream pop album, Come to My Senses, as “mystical” and “magical.”

Tui has worn a lot of hats in her life – literally – and is especially fond of berets. In addition to writing and music, she is an avid photographer.

Snider has several more books in progress, and is working on her next album. She enjoys connecting with writers and readers all over the globe through social media, her newsletter and her website.

Read More

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Posted Thursday, 19 October, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, History, Modern Day, Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Small Towne USA, Travel, Travel Writing, Travelogue

#BlogBirthday Book Review | “The Gravity of Birds” by Tracy Guzeman A very special reading as it’s representative of a debut author launching her story to the world on the same day a reader became a book blogger!

Posted Sunday, 6 August, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been attending the #HistoricalFix chats since they originated as the #IShall chat celebrating the release of Erin Lindsay McCabe’s “I Shall Be Near to You”. Throughout the past two years since the quarterly chats began, I have found a tribe of like-minded bookish souls who celebrate the devourment of compelling historical fiction in all it’s variant creations (from traditional to romance to suspense to biographical #HistFic & everything in-between!). During the chats, there are a flood of questions and happy chatter surrounding the ‘honoured guests’ of the hour wherein you have the opportunity to win a novel by one of the authors. I happily won “The Gravity of Birds” during the March 2015 #HistoricalFix chat on Twitter.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gravity of Birds” UK edition direct from the author Tracy Guzeman without obligation to post a review. I had the option to receive the UK edition of the novel, which I happily received. My edition comes with a lovely author Q&A after the story which I look forward to reading in full! I wanted to post my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and to share my impressions with the readers of  my blog. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

How a book’s birthday healed my heart about the day
I launched #JLASblog!

Quite curiously, despite the fact I *launched!* Jorie Loves A Story on the 6th of August, 2013 after exhausting myself the previous month of July to make sure it was ‘audience ready’ – I had a bit of grievance with myself over the selection of the ‘date’. Silly, I realise it might sound aloud to reveall that tidbit, but there it is! I was caught up in the numerical identity of my blog’s history as even though it was missing a few digits, I have oft felt a “7” is stronger than a “6”. It’s a matter of faith & a personal quirk of mine, apparently! I still compose interview questions in increments of 5 or 7 rather than 6; even though recovering a better perspective on my blog’s birthday has been a lift of joy.

It wasn’t until I attended the #HistoricalFix chat in March of 2015 where I crossed paths with Ms Guzeman where I realised something quite extraordinary! I had only been looking at this from a linear prospective of where my perception of the 6th of August was a bit slated against my own misgivings rather than seeking to find *something!* which anchoured the day to a happier memory than whether or not I should have waited 24 hours to launch the site live! OY vie. The things we humans subject ourselves too!

In case your wondering – I created Jorie Loves A Story on the 31st of March, 2013 (my blogoversary) whilst I consider the day it launched live to the world on the 6th of August, 2013 to be my blog’s birthday – two special days per annum where I remember & celebrate the origins of my blog whilst embracing the memories of the stories, writers, conversations & adventures of being the bookish soul behind the bookish blog. Mind you, I need to remember my Twitterversary is on the 13th of November, 2013! These days are as special to me as my own birthday!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Here are my responses to her question pertaining to the thematic of her story:

Art,  Song & Dance evoke such a harmonic cognition inside me,

it’s felt by heart, mind & soul; beauty (lies) in art (see tweet)

Love fantasy art such as SteelGoddess (etsy)

who bridge the natural world w/ the fantastic; joy (resides) in nature (see tweet)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I fell in love with the artistry of SteelGoddess whilst finding her shoppe on Etsy for artistic stationery which I knew would give me such a lot of inspiration whilst composing thoughts to articulate to my friends through postal correspondence!

I haven’t been on Etsy in quite a few years, as I’ve been focusing on building my reading audience on jorielovesastory.com whilst defining my blogosphere presence as a whole. I’ve also been taking the past four years to address how I want to re-define and develop this space of mine into more than just a repository of book showcases & guest author features, as I’m a writer whose in the transitional period of re-focusing on her own stories.

Whilst at the same time, I want to share other interests of mine (i.e. knitting) which are creatively enriching to me as they divert my attention a bit from the bookish world & help me re-balance myself in other pursuits! Therefore, I had *no idea!* the happy news, of the SteelGoddess’s shoppe going through a re-genesis of it’s own: check out the newly launched Cheryl Baker Art!

As a good primer to understand what draws me to her artwork & stationery goods, kindly take a look-see at this beautiful new stationery set of papers! Her main website is one of enchantment & inspiring joy, as well! Honestly, I think I’ll order directly from her website in the future & help celebrate the natural world she brings to the world of art!

As you well see, the artist I found on Etsy had a profound affect on me – as I felt as soon as I saw her woodland creatures, I had encapsulated a piece of my walks in nature in such an expression of enchanted art as to fuse my experience through her artistic imagery. This is why I knew the answer to Ms Guzeman’s question was partially inspired by my own adventures and the ones I feel I’ve lived through Ms Baker’s artwork!

Did it really!? I never knew the ‘day’ Gravity of Birds published, but if it were the 6th, it feels kismet! I had no idea my blog’s birthday (as I separate the two days: blogoversary for the day I created it; birthday for the day it went live; a bit like a book birthday = publication day?) had such a special ‘attachment’ to an author! I love finding this out because there are always interesting stories behind things in life; and clearly I was meant to read this novel! :)

-my initial reaction to the publication date of The Gravity of Birds

and I had this to say in relation to when Ms Guzeman picked up on the fact I write in my own personally stylised AmeriBritish vernacular:

You’re quite apt at seeing the differences in how I spelt my words, but actually, it’s a choice I made to limit my dyslexic slips whilst writing and communicating by written dialogue! I expound a bit on this under “My Bookish Life” where I talk a bit openly about my path as a writer and as a book blogger, but suffice to say, my UK heritage allowed me a grace in understanding how words appear in context to what I want to articulate as previously I stumbled in how to formulate the expressions.

Moreso as an adult rather than as a child, I have found my dyslexia to become a bit of an issue nowadays vs when I was in school. Coincidentally, through a bit of online research, I uncovered a quirky revelation: I was led to believe I had mild dyslexia as a child but according to my research I am severely dyslexic! 

I had a bit of a bubble of a laugh at first because I’ve grown so accustomed to compensating for my learning difficulties, it did not feel revolutionary to me. It did help me understand a few things which make me a bit unique or how I perceive things might be considered unique, but in the end, I am who I am, someone I was always proud of being. I found dyslexia a gift but understanding my limitations as a writer and compensating by exchanging my American English for my Ancestral British turnt out to be the biggest blessing I could receive!
 
I’m named after my maternal grandmother who was of British and Irish descent. I’m British doubly over as my father’s side of the family has UK roots as well, spilt between England & Scotland. I have a heap ‘more’ in me as well, but these are quite dominant.

The language of the Brits feels right to me, and each new word or phrase I have learnt, becomes fuell to my own imagination as far as where I can take my own writings in the future.

As you can imagine – winning a copy of “The Gravity of Birds” took on a whole new level of joy & creative curiosity! I am naturally drawn to reading stories from the UK – not only because I am wickedly addicted to reading authors who reside in the UK, but because, I personally *love!* the tangible fluid nature of how British English evolves through the descriptive narrative! I watch a high volume of British (& Canadian) television serials & films as well, which parlays concurrently with my literary wanderings!

When Ms Guzeman offered me the chance to read the UK edition of this novel, my heart swooned in joy! I did not even think this was a possibility but a welcomed unexpected bookish slice of happiness! One day I’m looking forward to when there is an online bookshoppe in the UK who will ship UK editions to American readers who crave their fix of UK authors! (technically, I know of one in the stages of doing this!)

Til then, I am blessed to have a copy of The Gravity of Birds and be a reviewer for UK-based publishers! Conversely, even if a novel is written by an American author such as this one, my first preference is to seek out the UK edition as it’s one of the editions outside of it’s original printing I am most desiring to read! Even if the language isn’t full-on Brit, it’s having an edition published outside my own country which makes it a special treat – as book covers are unique to their country of origin..

Through this experience, I realised the date I selected to launch my blog was ‘meant to be’ – not only because it shares a very special book birthday with an author I would one day cross paths with to discover, but because sometimes the ‘timing’ which is best in our lives to experience something is not of our choosing.

Life has a way of blissfully keeping us in suspended joy arriving in unexpected moments which provide us an incredible level of happiness. Here’s to remaining open to where our hours lead us to traverse & keeping the door open to the unexpected!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

The Gravity of Birds
by Tracy Guzeman
Source: Won a Bookaway

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780007488391

Genres: Art & Art History, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Literary Fiction, Suspense, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Published by Harper Books, HarperCollins UK

on 6th August, 2013 (USA) | 15th August, 2016 (UK)

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 382

Published By: Harper (@harperbooks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers UK (@HarperCollinsUK)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

The UK edition released 9 days after the 6th of August, 2013!

The American debut was published by Simon & Schuster!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Links: Site | Twitter | GoodReads | wicked good Interview!

more insight behind ‘the book’ | Book Discussion on Book Browse w/ Author Q&A

Converse via: #GravityOfBirds + #TimeShift

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Posted Sunday, 6 August, 2017 by jorielov in #HistoricalFix, 20th Century, Art, Art History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Films, Coming-Of Age, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Good vs. Evil, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Literary Fiction, Poetry, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Seventies, The Sixties, Time Shift, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Wildlife Artwork, Women's Health

Book Review | “Haunted” (Book No.1 of the Arnaud Legacy) by Lynn Carthage

Posted Monday, 31 October, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Winning the bookaway attached to #HistoricalFix (see Info) when we talked about Cosy Horror & Historical Fiction stories – of which Haunted was one of the featured stories! The chat took place on 20th of October, 2015 and yielded a HUGE List of Next Reads suggested by everyone who took part in the chat itself! Cat Winters and Katherine Howe also attended giving me such a wicked awesome chat to participate inside as I have been wanting to read Howe & Winters for awhile! Ms Carthage and I enjoyed meeting up as well, due to our like-minded interests. The books given away during the chat are part of the fun and are always unexpected as they are essay-based where you have to respond to Questions; best replies win.

I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein nor was I obligated to post a review on behalf of “Haunted”. I am posting this review for my own personal edification after having enjoyed reading the story.

A bit of a backstory:

Originally, when I first caught sight of the Haunted blog tour being adverted as an upcoming event this Spring 2015, there was a strong draw for me to want to participate on it! After all, I have shared my first review on reading ghost stories (The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton), joined my first Horror October, expressed why I’m a Cosy Horror Girl, shared my top favourite Classic Horror Motion Pictures, and compiled a list of book series which are definitely bent towards the paranormal! As you will see from those previous blog posts I’ve written, there are aspects of the Horror genre I never quite realised I was enthralled with myself, as I always felt I was living outside the genre completely! Sometimes it takes an event like Horror October hosted by the girls @ Oh, the Books! to set your mind straight! Laughs.

Instinctively, I hopped on Twitter to see if Ms Carthage was online (not that instant, but in general!), as I have come to appreciate finding authors I am keen on reading are participating in reader to author connections via Twitter; as it allows the readers (such as I) to ask pertinent questions which might arise out of reading a book synopsis or an excerpt (if one is available). What followed was a happenstance conversation, where a reader enjoyed getting to know an author outside the scope of being able to read the novel! I asked a few direct questions, as I was a bit on the fence as whether or not I could read this novel as it might take me too far outside my comfort zones along the lines of what is seen or unseen in the novel itself.

I’m definitely *the Cosy Horror Girl* at heart, as I have to weigh what I want to read with what I can handle as I have a sensitive heart. Always feeling being honest about this upfront is best, I did share my concerns, and as we talked a bit more about Haunted and our personal likes in books, I decided I truly felt I would love to interview Ms Carthage in lieu of reading the book for her blog tour! The elements of the paranormal within the series is still keenly intriguing to me, and there was a heap about the setting and atmosphere she stitched into it which lit my imagination aflame with curiosity!

The book cover art alone has all the lovely bits I appreciate about what can be considered an epic Gothic suspense, as you have the house barely seen through the misty fog, the young protagonist’s field of vision not focused on what is in front of her but what is unseen to the side, and the colour dimensions give it a purely haunting feel, encouraging your will to want to read this in order to see where the layers enfold and retreat from what is visually representative in the art itself!

Therefore, I am quite happy to bring to you, dear hearts, the conversation I pulled together out of inspiration from our original twitterverse convo intermixed with bits and bobbles I discovered about her book series whilst composing my thoughts on this interview! I hope you enjoy the conversation!

-originally shared on my Interview with Ms Carthage

However, this wasn’t the end of my connection with the book, the series or the author! We honestly liked talking to each other, not just in the interview but in the twitterverse, too! As the moons aligned, guess what happened?! We both found ourselves happily engaged inside the #HistoricalFix chats hosted by Ms McCabe (of the novel I Shall Shall Be Near to You) wherein we were participating in a chat that felt like it was primed to be exactly set for readers like us who love cosing up to a wicked Gothic story where hauntings, the supernatural and everything that makes you feel spooky are par for course!

I should say, the #HistoricalFix chats have become my tribe of like-minded bookish souls who hunger for captivating next reads, challenging historical fiction and stories that will tuck themselves into our hearts. We chat as if we’ve known each other for centuries rather than a mere year or so, where we only gather each quarter to chat up our latest reads, decipher the latest releases that have charmed our curiosities and exchange all the bookish delights you’d find at a book club!

Snippets of last October’s #HistoricalFix are captured below, along with the convo I had with Ms Carthage about her novel and Cosy Horror in general! ENJOY!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

(tweets to return soon)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Something quite wicked happened during that particular #HistoricalFix – I changed my opinion about not reading HAUNTED and dearly wanted to read it afterall! This is why I participated in the essay-based bookaway challenge to see if I could add my hat to the mix! I was truly overjoyed and quite shocked I had won – it was one of the happiest moments truly, as it was such a lovely capstone to the chat! I had wanted to read the book soon after I had found it in my postbox, however, time and tides had a way of working against me last year – to where I took great care to make sure HAUNTED was part of my #HalloweenReads in 2016!

Lest I mention, the author enscribed a note to me in the book on Halloween, 2015!? The very day one year later I pick it up to read having forgotten she had done that!? SPOOKY!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art Design: I immediately loved what the cover evoked about the setting, the Gothic nature of the tale and the way in which you can be haunted in a hauntingly ethereal setting! I also started to notice the girl on the cover was being featured on other books as well; something I had mentioned to the author. Apparently others had noticed too, which is why there was a big celebration of sorts about this girl and her hair recently that drew attention not only to HAUNTED but two other novels who featured her. One thing I liked even more than the exterior design is the interior mirror that graces the chapter pages! There is something about that design and the way in which it presents itself that just felt ‘authentic’ to this story!

Book Review | “Haunted” (Book No.1 of the Arnaud Legacy) by Lynn CarthageHaunted
Subtitle: The Arnaud Legacy
by Lynn Carthage
Source: Won a Bookaway

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Irving has traded life in San Francisco for her stepfather’s ancestral mansion in rural England. It’s supposed to be the new start her family needs. But from the moment she crosses the threshold into the ancient estate, Phoebe senses something ominous. Then again, she’s a little sensitive lately—not surprising when her parents are oblivious to her, her old life is six thousand miles away, and the only guy around is completely gorgeous but giving her mixed messages.

But at least Miles doesn’t laugh at Phoebe’s growing fears. And she can trust him…maybe. The locals whisper about the manor’s infamous original owner, Madame Arnaud, and tell grim stories of missing children and vengeful spirits. Phoebe is determined to protect her loved ones—especially her little sister, Tabby. But even amidst the manor’s dark shadows, the deepest mysteries may involve Phoebe herself…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781617736261

Also by this author:

Also in this series:


Genres: Ghost Story, Gothic Literature, Upper YA Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 24th February, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 288

Published By: Kensington Publishing Corp. ()
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

The Arnaund Legacy series:

Book 1: Haunted

Book 2: Betrayed (Synopsis)

Book 3: Avenged (Synopsis)

Read about the particulars of the series!

Converse on Twitter via: #Haunted & #arnaudlegacy

About Lynn Carthage

Lynn Carthage

Lynn Carthage is a novelist living in Sacramento, California, near where the Gold Rush launched. Under her real name, she was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. Born in Vermont, Lynn has lived in Maine, Ireland, and Arizona. She reads voraciously, loves anything French, gets “itchy feet” to travel on a regular basis, and finds peace in the woods, in meadows, in nature. She has always been fascinated by how history allows us to imagine how people of the past lived and breathed and felt.

HAUNTED is her first young adult novel, and will be followed by the next two books in the Arnaud Legacy trilogy.

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Posted Monday, 31 October, 2016 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Castles & Estates, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Fly in the Ointment, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Indie Author, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance

*Blog Book Tour*: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Posted Monday, 13 January, 2014 by jorielov , , 6 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment Tour via HFVBT

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Author Connections: Facebook | Site | Blog

Converse on Twitter: #GodsOfHeavenlyPunishment | #GodsOfHeavenlyPunishmentTour
OR Tweet @JennCodyEpstein

Published by:
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
, 11 March 2013 [hardback] | Page Count: 384
13th January 2014 [paperback]
| Page Count: 400

Available Format: Hardback | Paperback | E-book 


Acquired Book By:

I participated in the blog book tour for the hardback edition of “The Gods of Heavenly Punishment” by visiting the various stops on the original HFVBT route! Whilst making my rounds, I entered to win a copy of the novel! Whereupon I received such wonderfully brilliant news that I had indeed won a copy via Unabridged Chick’s blog in October of 2013! I received the book direct from the publisher without obligation to post a review.

Afterwards, whilst seeing there was a new tour for the paperback release of the same title, I requested to be placed on the tour! I decided that it was one book I hadn’t wanted to wait to read and being on a tour would be quite lovely! I was selected to be a stop on “The Gods of Heavenly Punishment” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by HFVBT, in which I am reading the hardback edition rather than the paperback. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I originally came to know of this novel through reading one of my bi-weekly newsletters of “Shelf-Awareness for Readers”, whereupon I had entered to win a copy of this book in March of 2013 sending my entry directly to the author Ms. Epstein as requested. I did not receive a reply as the contest win went to someone else. However, I shared my thoughts, observations, and feelings about Japan inside my entry which went to the heart of why I was inspired to read the story contained within. These were those thoughts:

I have known about the effects of the World War on Hiroshima and Okinawa, exclusively through girls that I befriended who lived there, even if over the years, our friendships have all but faded. The girl in Hiroshima grew into a woman who had to marry, and I noticed that in marriage she wasn’t able to write as much, so we lost contact. I will never forget her kindness and her acceptance of what had happened, as she didn’t have conflict but rather a lot of peace! She was the one who originally told me about the Peace Crane project and of the statue. Through my friend in Okinawa I saw a different side of the war, one where the Japanese were welcoming to our soldiers and men, and how thankful they were for their presence.

I realise not everything that happened has a happy ending, as my friends are the same age as me, thus, we’re a few generations removed from the original events, and perhaps, as time is a healer of hearts and minds,… maybe its due to time that their memories are different than those who lived through everything first hand. I was reading my Friday edition of Shelf Awareness, and once more I felt a stirring inside me to know this particular story,… Japan has been on my mind + heart for years,… even in childhood as my grandparents loved Japanese art and culture, as much as I was drawn to everything else that encompasses the country. I have always found the Japanese to be hearty, fiercely strong, and devoted to faith, family, and survival. They have a genuine happy spirit about themselves, and they appreciate all of life, but most especially the joys and the unexpected bliss that unravel as we live.

Having said that, I never heard of the plight of Tokyo, in the war! I only know of what Tokyo is facing today, and how much it grieved me {and the rest of the world} that this nuclear meltdown was causing such added strife and sorrow…. I even feared for my friends’ I have long since lost, as I knew they were in and around the general prefects of Tokyo.

I would be honoured to read this story and open my eyes to more of the real picture of what residents of Tokyo and the rest of Japan have not only lived through but have had to overcome. There are always two sides to every story, and as time folds back on itself and shifts forward, I do find that not every element of historical truth is known until a writer has the courage to pen the story that needs to be heard. Thank you for being one of the brave ones and thank you for giving us a story to change our perspective and deepen our empathy.

{note} The contest ran in a Tuesday edition, but I waited until Friday’s edition to respond.

Whilst I was entering to win the book on Unabridged Chick’s blog I had this to say after having read Audra’s review:

I murmur your thoughts on this section of literature,… I am drawn into war stories myself, especially those stories that etch into the heart of the two couples struggling to keep their connection & make sense of everything that is happening around them. I don’t believe everyone who reads this part of literature is necessarily advocating for war, rather instead, they are appreciative of the stories that speak to the human heart and the bond that threads through us all!

I liked how you expressed the book unique style of settling the story into your mind and leaving it there a bit wantonly afterwards! You gave me the impression that the characters I’d find inside will stir my heart and leave me museful after I encounter them! Always an inclination I am in search of!


Synopsis of the Story:

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody EpsteinOne summer night in prewar Japan, eleven-year-old Billy Reynolds takes snapshots at his parent’s dinner party. That same evening his father Anton–a prominent American architect–begins a torrid affair with the wife of his master carpenter. A world away in New York, Cameron Richards rides a Ferris Wheel with his sweetheart and dreams about flying a plane. Though seemingly disparate moments, they will all draw together to shape the fate of a young girl caught in the midst of one of WWII’s most horrific events–the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.

Exquisitely-rendered, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the stories of families on both sides of the Pacific: their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses–and their shared connection to one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.

Author’s Biography:

Jennifer EpsteinJennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two daughters and especially needy Springer Spaniel.

For more information, please visit Jennifer Cody Epstein’s website and blog.  You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


A measure of innocence, ahead of stark cold reality:

Epstein opens her novel through the lens of projecting the innocence of youth, as evidenced by the opening sequences of introducing the reader to Cam and Lacy. Two university co-eds enjoying a date at a carnival in 1935, far ahead of the pending World War, of which I had suspected had a precursory quality about its delivery. To give a measure of innocence ahead of the stark cold reality which would settle in once the events of the attack on Tokyo were fully realised and turnt inward in the story. She juxtapositions straight into Japan, where we meet Billy the budding photographer whose confidence could use a nudging. Yoshi is the tender-hearted six-year-old whose Mum Hana is at a cross-roads of examining her life’s choices and the wayward path her life has taken her. Reflections on choices she erred in believing were true only to be turnt to falsehood by the man she laid her mistrust. Yoshi is a precocious child whose mastery of three languages rises her above her young years with a maturity she has not yet discovered inside her.

Hana is married to Kenji, a man she hadn’t quite chosen to wed and one who wasn’t quite her equal match. She questions the merit of their marriage as much as the depth of his understanding of her. She was carted off to different countries so frequently in her growing years, she is a woman of the world rather than the traditional Japanese wife he was expecting her to become. She held herself with a different countenance than others in her generation, and strove to keep her individual identity intact. Her state of premonitions in regards to overwhelming grief and tragedy keep an edge inside her which hasn’t a release of calm to give.

My Review of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment:

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment begins slowly as though your about to enter a dance where the music is set low in order to intone and inflect the seriousness of the movements thus forthcoming. Epstein has mastered the gift of easing her audience into the heart of her tale by misleading their confidence in seeing how each of the lives in the story are surrounded in their own waves of normalcy ahead of the terror. You gently enter their lives as though you were the unspoken observer, cleverly intuitive and receptive to their most intimate of affairs. You glide alongside their shadows, taking in the truths they would rather etch away and instill in your own mind what their realities are preparing for them to yield. She is presenting a study of soliloquy of cultural traditions against the backdrop of sociological warfare.

By 1942, Cam is fully grown and awaiting orders for a mission he would take whilst hinted at those years ago at the carnival whilst his eyes were skyward watching the planes in the sky. His letter to Lacy diverge the ominous events still yet to come. The mingling joy of their days prior to his dispatchment were long since dissolved, whilst his fear of the unknown worked to overtake his last nerve. Epstein doesn’t shy or yield away from what Cam would be hearing and seeing as he was starting to live through the horror of what was on the edges of his sight. A fighter pilot would always be pitted against the odds which would extinguish a life without a passing thought as dogfights rendered logic elsewhere.

I am not sure how I came to feel the story inside would be a far different one than the one I encountered, but suffice it to say, my forethought of reason to read the novel was intermixed with the pages giving my eyes and mind far more to ponder than I could have felt possible. The raw realities of this slice of the World War was a bit more than I was willing or able to handle, which is why I had to force myself to read ahead. This is one instance where I honestly couldn’t carry forward with the story, as it was wrenching me on the insides to the brink that I was not able to feel anything but discomfort and misery. I always approach each novel I open with an open-mind and heart, but this one touched on more than I could overcome.  I honestly could not finish this one nor can I give it a full review of what the author intended to leave behind for readers to experience.

Fly in the Ointment:

Switching point of views was a bit awkward, as your feeling as though your re-reading the same passage without the foreshadow of why it would be repeated at all. The limited windows of revelation of how the other characters were taking in the scene on the porch when Yoshi came running the hill were off-set against the inability to sort through why full dialogue and action were truth and bone intact. The initial start of the novel gave the impression of the novel heading in one particular direction with a tone altogether different than the one that veers off around page 45. I had a strugglement in following the author’s guiding hand as pieces of the narrative felt a bit choppy to me rather than maintaining their flucidity.


Virtual Road Map for
“The Gods of Heavenly Punishment” Blog Tour:

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment Tour via HFVBT

Be sure to scope out my
Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva
to mark your calendars!!
As well as to see which events I will be hosting with:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT{SOURCES: Author photograph, Book Synopsis, Author Biography, Book Cover “The Gods of Heavenly Punishment”,  tour badge & HFVBT badge were provided by HFVBT and were used by permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Absorbing and Thoughtful Interview with Author Jennifer Cody Epstein: Asian Culture, Women’s Rights, and Sea Urchin – (hookofabook.wordpress.com)

Interview with Jennifer Cody Epstein – (unabridged-expression.blogspot.com)

Celebrating the Paperback Release of Jennifer Cody Epstein’s The Gods of Heavenly Punishment – (womensfictionwriters.wordpress.com)

Jennifer Cody Epstein Shows Literary Excellence in Historical Fiction Novel Centered in WWII called The Gods of Heavenly Punishment – (hookofabook.wordpress.com)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Monday, 13 January, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cultural Heritage, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Japan, Japanese History, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Shelf Awareness, the Forties, The World Wars