The Electricity Fairy

The Electricity Fairy
by Alex Mar

The inspiring true story of Loïe Fuller, a radical nineteenth-century art nouveau icon who turned artificial light into performance art and became the incandescent inventor of modern dance.

In a new era lit by Edison bulbs, Loïe Fuller was the quicksilver that connected scientific and artistic inspiration. In a flurry of shifting lights and serpentine spins, she inspired the earliest films of Georges Méliès and held Jean Cocteau spellbound. She even sought out the Curies for a radioactive showstopper. In this transportive and hypnotic historical narrative, the uninhibited Folies Bergère superstar la fée lumière is finally restored to her shimmering, glorious place in modern history.

The Electricity Fairy is part of Inventions: Untold Stories of the Beautiful Era, a collection of incredible true stories from the belle epoque, an age of innovation, daring, bluster, and beauty when anything seemed possible. Each piece can be read, listened to, and marveled at in a single sitting.

Amazon’s Inventions: Untold Stories of the Beautiful Era collection may be my favorite discovery of 2019. It consists of three nonfiction novellas covering the inventions and discoveries of the early 1900s. I listened to the audiobook versions which were an interesting mix of audiobook and podcast. Actually, I often felt as if I was listening to a radio broadcast of the events. I enjoyed the format as a nonfiction lover and I feel it will make nonfiction more accessible for those new to the genre.

I started with listening to The Electricity Fairy, and am not ashamed to say I picked it because I thought it would be about the electricity wars between Edison and Tesla. (Nope…didn’t even bother to read the story summary.) I was pleasantly surprised to find myself learning about the life of Loie Fuller, dancer and harnesser of light. This was a historic figure/story that I knew NOTHING about…I GET TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW! That is why we read nonfiction right?

Loie Fuller, the Electricity Fairy, was a dancer who combined flowing fabric and colored lights to create mesmerizing performances. She was driven by the effects of light and motion, and was innovative in her use of extensive moving light rigs to produce her desired illusions. But The Electricity Fairy covers more than just dance and fancy lighting. This story introduces readers to Marie Currie’s research on radium and Edison’s push towards moving pictures through our artist’s personal association with the scientists. Readers are also provided a detailed description of period artistic movements, with Fuller’s activities highlighting how art mixed with industrial innovation to influence the society growing around the advancements.

The information presented in The Electricity Fairy was well researched and presented in an easy to read format. It is a wonderfully engaging mix of light, dance, and science.

Let me know if you have listened to the Inventions collection and happy reading!

Lindsay

Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming

Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming

by Kathleen Bacus

19220600

WHAT DO YOU CALL A BLONDE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET?

LAST YEAR’S HIDE ‘N’ SEEK CHAMP

It’s autumn in the heartland, when football rules and homecoming royalty reigns–and full moons don’t just mean a passing high school varsity bus. But this year, Tressa Jayne Turner can’t seem to get into the ‘spirit’ of the season. Our intrepid young reporter is trying to recover from a ten day run at the State Fair. After being stalked by a psycho dunk-tank clown, all she wants is a slower pace, some candy corn, popcorn balls, and caramel apples–and a serious story she can sniff out on her own.

And guess what. She’s in luck! Eccentric and reclusive bestselling writer Elizabeth Courtney Howard is coming to little ol’ Grandville to conduct some family business and finish her latest book. So, what’s stopping Tressa from getting the goods on the mysterious mystery author–besides a blackmailing six-foot-two-inch homecoming queen candidate with all the charm of Frankenstien in taffeta, a rival reporter out to scoop the competition, a seance-hosting roommate who happens to be her grandmother, and a Natural Resources Ranger-type who could make a nun reconsider her vows? Only the fact that the skeletons to uncover are all in a closet in Haunted Holloway Hall–a house only Norman Bates could love.

I found Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun for my Nook for super cheap a few years back. I didn’t get around to reading it, which is unfortunately an all too common occurrence, until this year. When looking at Bacus’ website I realized the story had been republished under a new name and with new cover art. I am not a fan of the current cover art because it leaves the novel feeling super low budget. But I do like the new name! Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming just fits.

I’m glad I finally read Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming because I absolutely loved the quirky characters. Tressa Jayne and I share a similar smart a#* sense of humor and love for all things snack food. I love the relationship she shares with her hellion of a grandma and the reluctant friendship she develops with the towering Shelby Lynn. The characters are well developed and the storyline is intriguing. Yes, I figured out what was happening with reclusive writer Elizabeth Courtney Howard early on but I’m ok with that when reading a cozy mystery. The characters, humor, and small town setting are what make this book worth the read!

Now the characters might be a miss for you because they are all pretty quirky. I definitely do no recommend Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming for those wanting a serious read. This is not the book for you. Each character can be a little over the top and most people will quickly tire of Tressa Jayne’s obsession with food. Plus, the alliterating nicknames can get old…Hellion Hannah, Jolting Joe, etc. I even got a little sick of it. My only real complaint is the novel needed one good last edit before being published. There were a number of sentences that were poorly structured and characters repeated themselves multiple times. Shelby Lynn threatening to take her story to the other newspaper every few pages was annoying. 

There were a number of grammatical and format errors. Words appeared twice or were sometimes missing all together. The formatting was all off. Of course this was just my copy, so hopefully the glitches have been fixed with the republication. I have a number of self published friends and I’ve heard how frustrating it is to format for ebook. So just know there may be formatting errors.

Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming made me laugh and that’s what I needed! It is book 3 in the series but you do not have to read the first two to enjoy this one. However, I’ll probably read the rest of the series because I loved the characters so much! Have you read anything by Kathleen Bacus? Share your thoughts!

Lindsay