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.
#WitchyWednesdays is a curated collection of #WitchyReads this Wyrd And Wonder on Jorie Loves A Story. I have long held a fascination with Paranormally inclined stories involving witches and wizards as well as magic schools. I read either Contemporary or Historical releases as well as completely fantastical worlds featuring a Witchy premise and storyline. This year for Wyrd And Wonder, I’m focusing on specific stories I’ve been wanting to share and discuss either during our annual event in May OR our sister event #SpooktasticReads in October. Every Wednesday there will be a new Witchy story to discover as I share my readerly adventures into Witchy Fiction this month. I am considering keeping this a mainstay of focus both during May & October for our events for Wyrd And Wonder.
In regard to the name I chose for this showcase of reviews, I sort of stumbled onto the name when I was deciding which day of the week I wanted to feature Witchy Reads this year. I thought it was original until I ran a search online, I saw others use the #WitchyWednesdays tag however, I did not source an origin of the tag – only a collective recognition for it attributed to different creative projects or venues whilst I didn’t find an actual meme origin for it on a blog or website. If someone knows who started it – kindly let me know so I can add attribution.
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 you’re reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.
Through hosting for the Audiobookworm who is now known as Audiobook Empire, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive and/or CloudLibrary for their digital audiobook catalogues. Aside from my libraries, I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It has been a wonderful journey and one I enjoy sharing – as I am now fully expanding how many audiobooks I listen to per year whilst enjoying being a part of the LibroFM ALC programme and an audiobook reviewer for NetGalley as well.
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Ghosts of Wonky Inn” from the author Jeannie Wycherley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I simply *adore!* the #WonkyInn series:
It is quite hard to keep your composure as your listening to this story, as despite the somberness of attending a funeral at the beginning of this tale, it doesn’t take long for the sarcasm to begin! Especially when Alfhild Daemonne begins to describe her personal style and the choices she makes with her wardrobe! Most women will readily warm to her quirky way of expressing her feelings and thoughts about everything from the colour palette of choice to the fact her clothes hug her figure a bit more than they had when she was younger. On top of which, despite this being a gathering of witches to lay to rest one of their own, it was Alfhild who brought the cheekiness to the program! Complete with casting aside the fact she no longer felt this was part of her ‘life’ per se but rather a blink of a blib on the map of where her journey once had taken her as all the witchy bits felt rather ‘put to bed’ in the past.
It was here where we find the contrast between her and her late mother’s legacies – how people viewed her mother as a giving woman who loved to help people in need. She, on the other hand, had a completely different perspective on her mother’s affairs but of course, she might be bias being her daughter rather than her coven. She was still very much defensive about loving to bake with the normality of ingredients one might expect off the Great British Bake-Off show – wherein, you had a feeling her Mum would have preferred her interests to lie more towards eye of newt! The longer she spoke on behalf of her relationship with her mother, the more you understood why there was a wedge dredged between them! Ironic or not, the way she defends her preference for wearing black (ie. by eye colour or cloth) is quite hilarious – which is only one of the passages which gives you a hearty gigglement of joy to listen too!
Rather cleverly, there is a secret combination of books in the Occult section of a bookshoppe to get you into the alleyway where the witches of this world love to roost and shop for their witchy needs! I liked how Wycherley made this sound like an alternative to the shoppes you’d find in Hogsmeade. The way Alfhild discloses this part of her life, you had a feeling she was feeling constricted by the requirements needed to put her mother to rest. Once the funeral was over, she couldn’t just resume her life from where it was put on pause – mostly because of Penelope Quidwell! She was her Mum’s solicitor who came round to talk to Alfhild about the estate she needed to settle before she could consider the account closed. You had to give her credit – she kept her truer thoughts and feelings at bay from those she interacted with directly, but when it came to listening to the those thoughts in-step with her conversations gave you a wicked good volley of humour! She didn’t mind being blunt if it gave her a way to get her points across and that was what makes her such a winning character, truly!
There are subtle bits and bobbles of magic enveloping through the background of the story – such as the way Penelope’s address claimed the card in Alfhild’s hand! A dash of smoke and a pinch of ink was all it took to give her a place to arrive. What she would find there once she did however was a bit of a alarm as she didn’t give her Mum much credit for having a complicated estate as the best she remembered she lived humbly without too many assets. Before she can get into those particulars though she had to find the solicitor’s office! Laughs. This set into motion a series of laughable moments where she thought she was destined to be coo-coo clocked to death!
What endears you to Alfhild’s journey is how sincere she is making a new life for herself in this place – even if her magical abilities are questionable at best but evenso, she does what she can whenever she can to compensate for it. She sorts out whom she can trust and who are her best allies – for she is working against forces she could not have predicted would interfere with her goodwill. There was a moment where in the height of an uprising she was bringing against these forces where she reconsidered her options before realising there was only one future she would feel comfortable owning as her own. And, that felt like the greater purpose of this installment – of taking control of not just your own destiny but of embracing who you are and the inherent gifts that come with feeling proud of where you’ve come as well.
Sometimes you’re challenged past the point you feel you can overcome what blights onto your path – but as Alfhild found, if you dig deep, stay positive and align yourself with people who give of themselves for the greater good of everyone else – you find a strength you never had. Alfhild’s parents would be wicked proud of her efforts and of the courage she encountered the moment she realised that the power to change her own destiny lay inside the power she had within herself. And, that should be something all readers takeaway from this story – aside from the advice given how to defeat one’s enemies as truly that is one of the oldest pieces of wisdom I think more people ought to be reminded of as so much truth is held within how that is one of the most powerful tools we all have to use ourselves.
If you wanted to get a good view of Wycherley’s humour, the way she paints the life of Alfhild as a witch attempting to live amongst the rest of us as if there was nothing unique or different about her is a proper bang-up riot! She also shows her heart such as the scene where she gives a twenty spot to a witch down on her luck whilst taking the commuter rail. The dialogue is sharp and the quickstep pacing of the story being delivered is a treat for your ears (if your listening to the audiobook, such as I had been) – everything is running a bit on hyper-speed, as the lead character has this hyper personality that comes through quite clearly. It adds to her charm though, because she’s the kind of bold character you look forward to meeting and can’t wait to know further!
The hilarity is in high order- Wycherley has such a prime way of carving out a bang-on brilliant romp of humour, you can’t stop laughing before you run into the next snarky bout of humour arriving in your ears! She’s written a right smart emotionally raw and honest character who speaks her mind, says what she means and means what she thinks who has a way of warming your heart for her forwardness! The way she’s written this Cosy Mystery is a bit unsuspecting as it feels much more like a Women’s Fiction exploit in how to put your life together at an age where everyone expects you to have your druthers in order whilst at the same time, there is a case of mystery right in the midst of Alfhild putting her life back to rights!
The way she’s conceived of this neverending home repair property to rankle the patience of Alfhild is just part of the folly as once you get into the groove of the audiobook, you’ve already embraced her cheeky humour and the dramatic way she involves us into this witchy Cosy!
A note of apology to Ms Wycherley
& an explanation of the delay in this review
being featured on Jorie Loves A Story:
I have been trying to bring this review to Jorie Loves A Story for the last three years as when I originally listened to the story I was unable to compose my thoughts about it directly as I heard it. I was going through quite a lot back then and for whichever reason, listening to a story on audio was far easier than pooling my thoughts about it as I heard it. This novel and the first Trans-Continental novella by E. Chris Garrison (ie. Girl in the Gears) was heard the same year and both are reviews I’ve been wanting to write and share on my blog ever since. Both of them were so wickedly brilliant – both in scope of the writers who wrote the stories and the performances of the narrators who expertly brought both worlds to illuminated light for me.
In different intervals and conversations, I did let both authors know the personal impact these audiobooks had on me but as I’ve become an audiobook listener (and audiophile, let’s be real!) I’ve enjoyed conveying my reactions the listening to stories read aloud, performed by narrators and blogging my thoughts about the joy of hearing a story lit alive through narration. It has been an interesting journey these past six years (since 2016) and I’ve grown a lot as both a reader and as an audiobook listener; even if I feel I have only scratched the surface of genres and literary realms to explore in audio – I’m comfortably confident to say I have curated quite a few favourites along the way! And, these two authors and their narrators are at the top of the expanding list which is now past ten faovurite narrators!!
I’ve tried several times to re-listen to both over the years – tying them into different events (ie. Witchathon, #SpookasticReads or even #WyrdAndWonder or #SciFiMonth) which they would naturally fit inside and yet, it wasn’t until this 5th Year of Wyrd And Wonder where I had conceived of the idea for a #WitchyWednesdays showcase wherein I could tuck closer to the #WitchyReads I love seeking out and talk about those stories directly on a Wednesday. I had planned to feature 4x #WitchyWednesdays this May but as life and work threw me offline more than I expected to be this month, I had to reduce my plans.
However, there is some good news to share! This series has expanded quite a heap since (2019) as back then there were 8x releases and now there are a wickedly brilliant 15x!! Plus, four Christmas Specials which reminds me dearly of my beloved BBC serials which oft do the same! I also noted more of the audiobooks have released which is why between now and October (for our next #SpooktasticReads event hugged into the final fortnight of the month in a chase up to Halloween) I’ll be gathering those audiobooks myself to continue my adventure into a world which bewitched me as soon as I first entered it!
I might have taken the longer road back into the Wonky Inn series but I am evermore grateful to the author who first enchanted me with her series and now has me hungering after new installments! I’ve marked which of the stories are now released into audiobook as well for those who would prefer to listen to the series as I do vs reading them in either print or ebook. I have known ever since I first ‘heard’ Alf that this is a series I have to always listen to in audio – I cannot even fathom how I would read a story set in the Wonky Inn world without Kim Bretton in my ears! Except to say for the Christmas Specials – as I’m uncertain if those are going into audio which is why I noted on this review I’ll be collecting those in print editions. If they do go into audio that would be a wickedly sweet surprise for me!!
I cannot apologise enough to the author for the long gaps in communication and for stalling in my progress to make this review a reality. I cannot wait to listen to the third novel Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn ahead of the Christmas Special and the next two audiobooks in sequence right in time for #SpooktasticReads this October when I resume my #WitchyWednesdays!! The blessing of course is how cosy comfortable this series has become to me and how lovely it is to return as if I’ve simply gone away for a spell and now have chosen to return ‘home’.
I should also mention – portions of this review were previously written during my first listening of the story and also, during my second – whilst this is my third listening of the story and I’ve done my best to make this a cohesive review as I combined all the thoughts I had to share on its behalf.
🎧 The Ghosts of Wonky Inn (book two) → heard thrice!
🎧 Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn (book three) → next in line!
The Witch Who Killed Christmas (A Wonky Inn Christmas Special)
🎧 Fearful Fortunes & Terrible Tarot (book four)
🎧 The Mystery of the Marsh Malaise (book five)
The Mysterious Mr Wylie (book six)
The Great Witchy Cake-Off (book seven)
Vengeful Vampire at Wonky Inn (book eight)
Witching in a Winter Wonklyland
(A Wonky Inn Christmas Cozy Mystery)
A Gaggle of Ghastly Grandmamas (book nine)
Magic, Murder and a Movie Star (book ten)
O Witchy Town of Whittlecombe (A Wonky Inn Christmas Cozy Mystery)
Judge, Jury and Jailhouse Rockcakes (book eleven)
A Midsummer Night’s Wonky (book twelve)
Halloween Heebie-Geebies (book thirteen)
Owl I Want for Witchmas is Hoo:
A Wonky Inn Christmas Cozy Mystery Special
Oh Mummy! (book fourteen)
Pieces of Hate (book fifteen) ← forthcoming August, 2022!
NOTE: I marked which installments are released into audiobook with a headphone emoji whilst I changed the colour of the text to reflect the Christmas Specials which are only currently released into print or ebook formats. I’ll have to gather the print of those stories to read before I proceed forward into the next stories released into audiobook. For instance, I’ll be purchasing my first one after listening to “Weird Wedding Wedding at Wonky Inn” before I purchase a copy of “Fearful Fortunes & Terrible Tarot”.
I believe there is a spin-off series called:
MISTER MAGIGI’S MAGICAL EMPORIUM
Sugarplum Scary (book one)
*as I read somewhere online this is a story connected to Alf
as she asked a favour of the character whose featured
Converse via: #WonkiestWitch + #AudioReads, #Audiobook
and #WitchyWednesdays during #WyrdAndWonder
OR #loveaudiobooks, #Paranormal #CosyCrime
About Jeannie Wycherley
Genre-hopping introvert and word witch living somewhere between the forest and the sea in East Devon, UK.
Jeannie finds inspiration everywhere: in myths, stories and songs, while people watching, a word here, a look there. However, her main inspiration comes from the landscape. Devon has it all - a rocky coastline, pebble and sandy beaches, narrow winding lanes and picture perfect cottages, steep cliffs and an abundance of forest.
A good day for Jeannie means a blustery wind, racing waves and salty rain. She lives with her husband and two dogs, makes a lot of soup, plays too many computer games and loves watching movies.
As you can see – a NEW year of #WyrdAndWonder is upon us – as Imyril, Lisa & Jorie help fill your life with more Fantasy than you can dive into in a singular month – giving you even more reasons why you love disappearing into realms of fantastical delight! This is the singular month which is anchoured to our love of Science Fiction (ie. celebrated during @SciFiMonth) wherein we get to bring everyone together to dip into the waters of Speculative Fiction which tackle thematics, subniches of genre & unique storylines threading through Fantasy.
These stories are generally focused on our readerly lives – as book bloggers Wyrd And Wonder started off as a book blogosphere celebration explosion of #Fantasy Lit love – however, in the ensuing years since we first began this fantastical adventure in  we’ve happily encouraged our participants to celebrate Fantasy wherever they can find it – in walkabout graffiti (see also tweet), in the world of Dungeons & Dragons (see also post) – which are a few examples of this year’s revelations or in any of the numerous motion pictures, television series, sound for motion picture or television, graphic novels, audiobooks, fashion and/or an eclectic mix of artistic expressions, styles and mediums.
And, this of course is only the tip of the iceberg!
Fantasy truly is much more than a genre – it is an exploration of hidden worlds & themes which are universally appealling to a wide audience – crossing through all boundaries and uniting everyone together who finds a niche of Fantasy their jam. This is why we wanted to create a happy space to celebrate this wicked wonderful section of Speculative Fiction – to find the joy in what others are finding for themselves & uniting together to highlight every which way to Sunday Fantasy gives us a burst of #randomJOY and lifts our souls!
This #WyrdAndWonder – I have a key sub-focus on interest in pursuing #dragonfiction & celebrating the #dragons – past & present I’ve either come to love and/or desire to meet & greet in the near future! I am contemplating hosting a readalong for two different novels of dragon fiction as well – whilst I’ll be making my final announcement about this on Monday, 4th May – this weekend, I’m musefully lost in my #WyrdAndWonder TBR!
I have stories leftover from Years One & Two whilst I have a few new additions for Year Three. I’ve been stalked (thanks for the brilliant way of referencing this, Imyril) by my chronic migraines throughout the years and months of Wyrd And Wonder – never letting that stop me from participating – it has had a few wrinkles of angst where I couldn’t always finish the stories and/or posts I had in queue. Last year was quite awful with a high yield of 5x but although this Wyrd And Wonder started off on a two day migraine & severe Spring pollen allergies attacking me head – I’m walking into the event with a chin held high. I mean, alternatively who wants to abandon the joy at this point? Not I. Never! I mean – seriously, migraines & Spring allergies are a part of my life and although they drive me batty I refuse to abort my plans – which is why I’m a diehard Wyrd And Wonder’er every year! Laughs.
I’m taking my cues from this lovely dishy post about ALL the ways in which you can read FANTASY (thanks again to my co-hosts Imyril & Lisa for finding it) – in order to map out my 2020 Wyrd And Wonder TBR! Won’t you join me? Let’s go on a walkabout of fantastical proportions and see where #JorieReads this Wyrd And Wonder as the 3rd Year kicks-off!
Welcome to *Wyrd & Wonder*
Imyril, Lisa and I have delightfully planned a wicked #awesomesauce month of FANTASY celebration for you! This marks our 3rd Year co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder and we couldn’t be happier knowing we have more participants this 3rd Year as well as renewed interest in the events we’ve planned.
Before I share with you what I’ll be reading this lovely Wyrd And Wonder – I wanted to take a moment to tell you which lovely authors I’ll be hosting on my blog and/or through my chat @SatBookChat! This year, I wanted to reach out to authors I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading but am happily discovering through the Indie Publisher @OdysseyBooks (visit their website) – whilst I have the opportunity to read two of their authors and host them during Wyrd And Wonder!
Per my tradition during #WyrdAndWonder – I love to give Indie Fantasy Authors a chance to have their stories showcased – either through my readings of their stories and/or via guest features or chats during #SatBooKChat. This year, I happily am carrying on the tradition whilst giving my heart an uplift as I wasn’t sure until recently if I could pull this part of my plans off! I am so dearly grateful to Odyssey Books and their lovely authors who have been responding to my emails.
The authors by this publisher you’ll happily see on my blog this year are as follows:
One author you’ve might have already caught sharing some of his own fantastical interests via our #WyrdAndWonder feeds is Owen Crane. He reached out to me via my Review Request page directly and this set me on a course to receive his novel to read & review but I’ve also selected him as one of my Fantasy Indie Authors to host during #SatBooKChat! You can follow his feeds via @owencrane.
For those of you who haven’t yet visited with me on Saturdays – I host a Romance & Women’s Fiction book chat called #SatBookChat – we meet-up @ 11a NYC | 4p UK/Ireland | 8a West Coast USA | 1a Australia – wherein this New Year 2020 I decided to enlarge our focus to all stories within all genres which feature strong female characters and/or have a presence within Feminist Fiction. Speculative Fiction is one category next to INSPY I’ve been wanting to grow via @SatBookChat and this 3rd Year of Wyrd And Wonder – I am very close to announcing my schedule for when you’ll be able to interact with the 3x authors I’ve selected to be featured this May!
I am awaiting confirmations on dates – look for a special announcement post & s/o via my Twitter feeds this coming week – as our first guest will be on Saturday, the 9th! What you need to know is to stalk the tag #SatBookChat before your time zone collides with NYC (11a) EST and once the chatter starts to begin – kindly contribute your own questions & happily join the discussion by adding our tag #SatBookChat to your tweets. Unlike in past years, I am not going to have us *thread the convo via #WyrdAndWonder’s tag as it was a bit harder to add both tags into the convo & have the discussion feel uncluttered. I will be archiving the chats again this month – so if you miss the chats as they run, you will have a chance to ‘re-read’ through the archived edition wherein you can respond with the tag to the author and/or the other participants who took part in the chat itself.
I will readily admit, the last time I felt I could dive into my #WitchyReads were not the best months for me – May 2019 was the 2nd Year of #WyrdAndWonder and I began reading the Magical Midway series by Leanne Leeds. I was loving my journey into this witchy world where a magical circus was at the centre of the action and how a witch who wasn’t yet ready to embrace her heritage was the unexpected heroine of the Midway! I was struck down by too many migraines to finish my #mustreads last May and despite trying twice in the Autumnal months to make amends (including our sister event #SpooktasticReads in October, 2019) – it was my health which prevented the revisitations. I’ve been blogging about the whole diabolical cycle of unwellness off/on recently so I’ll spare the repeat here. Just know between month-long illnesses and chronic migraines it was a wicked awful six months from September to February; even if I did carve out a bit of joy at the holidays – I found the beginning of 2020 adverse from several fronts.
When I discovered this readathon I was wicked HAPPY because I’ve been wanting to just hone in on my #WitchyReads and just settle into their worlds with a heart ready to embrace their worlds. One of them I *devoured!* during #SpooktasticReads – this would be the second #WonkyInn – “The Ghosts of Wonky Inn” which arrived in my life at just the right moment to where it was a happy burst of JOY to be listening too! I love the narrator (Kim Bretton) for how she’s crafting this series together – from her performance to her innate ability to understand Alfie – I truly cannot think of a better ‘fit’ for this series than Ms Bretton because of how she’s approached voicing the lead character! Not to mention at the pen of the author – you’re in wicked good hands! The humour stitched into this series will keep your spirits lifted irregardless of what chaos is alighting in your life! Specifically this is keen to mention as we all have a tipped scale of woes if you consider the newsfeeds out there! Best to tuck into a series that will make you LAUGH more than feel unsettled by anxiety!
The more challenging story on my list is “The Black Talisman” as I was struggling a bit to get into the rhythm of the story. I am not sure if it was the timing of when I first attempted to listen to it or if I just couldn’t connect to the plot. Whichever way – the truth will let out this week because I am re-listening to this story and will see what I make of it now. The rest I look forward to discussing with you about why I’m happy their on my TBR this #WitchAThon! I did hold back one series of Witchy Reads for the next #WitchAThon – which are penned by Suzanne Palmieri.
If you missed my first #MagicalMidway review – kindly catch up to know why I love the series:
The *official!* challenges for #WitchAThon this March:
Spring means rain, pick a book that involves water… on the cover, in the title, or as part of the story!
Ostara is a sabbat of rebirth, and accepting oneself as trans (including non-binary & other gender marginalizations) is often an experience of rebirth… choose a book with a trans MC!
Pan is a god of Spring, wildness, & nature, select a book where the theme of survival in nature is prominent
The light is coming back this season, let it lighten your load! choose a novella
Ostara brings about color in the natural world, choose a graphic novel!!
If you can, plant a seed of some kind and begin tending to it… if you cannot commit to plant parentage, try planting something new at a park or nature preserve (a plant that is compatible with that ecosystem)
Read the group book: THE BLACK GOD’S DRUMS by P. Djèlí Clark
I had already picked my stories to read for this #WitchAThon which is why I am unsure if any of my selections are going to match with the challenges this month. I’ll have to see as I’m reading if any of them might match the prompts in one way or another – a part of me thinks either *Anni Moon!* or *Magical Midway* might qualify for an elemental element of ‘water’ but outside of those two stories/series I am unsure if anything else would work. Will be interesting when I go to write my wrap-up post at the end of the readathon to see the results!