Blog Book Tour | “The Breedling and The City in the Garden” by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Posted Friday, 9 December, 2016 by jorielov , , , 8 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for The Breedling & the City in the Garden hosted by iRead Book Tours. I was blessed to be able to receive a print copy of this novel in order to review it for the blog tour as I cannot read digital copies of novels due to chronic migraines; I do offset my reading ques now with audiobooks which is working brilliantly towards lessening the onset of them. This was a surprise for me – to be able to read and review the novel, as I originally thought I could only interview the author. Truly blessed by the author’s kindness. Secondly, I am thankful for the author’s grace in understanding why I had to push my review forward and why reading whilst blogging took a backseat in my life since Black Friday. iReads was one of the touring companies I work with who was able to accommodate a change of schedule last minute, for which I was full of gratitude as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Breedling & the City in the Garden” direct from the author Kimberlee Ann Bastian in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I am drawn to curiously curious genre-benders of a certain variety:

Three stories came immediately to mind whilst I was setting my sights on participating on this particular blog tour – they were as follows: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Merriweather Lewis by Andra Watkins (see Review); The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (see Review); and Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman (see Review). They are united in their individuality and their unique literary voicing of both their characterisations and of the layers of world-building their writers spun into their pages. They also happen to be three of the books I loved reading (despite my indifference to which ‘category’ of literature Angel of Losses was classified) which did not quite as ring as wicked brilliant to other readers – they were either a big hit or a bit of a miss with readers I’ve encountered of late – with the exception of Wecker’s novel, which seemed to gain the most traction overall. I’m one of the few readers whose anxiously awaiting her ‘next chapter’ of the Jinni in 2018!

I love finding stories which etch out their own niche in literature whilst curating an experience within an adventure which truth be told are set to their own wicked beat of literary exploration. There are other stories I’ve read (some I’ve even blogged about!) which fit within this nifty niche of stories, too – however, these three percolated in my memory because of how interestingly unique they were imagined and how their writers craftly write Speculative stories within quasi-mainstream genres or at least, which were recognisd by quasi-mainstream genres! lol I personally love different designations of genres in literature – not so much as a be all / end all route of where I will go visually through literature as my mind expands itself around the sphere of a story but rather, a bit of a road map of where I’d like to travel at any given point of time in my reading life. I love sorting out the different variances of how genre can become bent (in theory, you already know dedicated readers how much I love seeing how ‘time’ is bent: i.e. time shift, time travel and time slip are all readily explored on my blog!) whilst seeing how wickedly inventive writers are at curating their own spin on an established genre by re-creating what is plausible within it’s folds.

I think it has a lot to do with how I personally write my own fiction (something I explored in an essay via Priya’s blog [originally written in 2015] wherein I talked about being a ‘writer’ whose moonlighting as a book blogger) – I like to see where my muse can lead me and how the stories ‘talk’ to us as we’re creating the words to paint the palette of where our stories are guiding us to traverse.

It also speaks to my bookish heart firmly attached to Speculative Fiction – as first and foremost, the very first manuscript I dreamt into existence was Science Fiction based on Science Fact. I lean towards what is futuristically possible by what could be considered improbably impossible today – whilst keenly invested in the imaginative innovation of where our creativity can take us through the written vortex of worlds spun out our imaginations daring to ask the questions of ‘what if’ and chart new horizons where readers can continue to travel with us on this journey through stories.

This is one reason why I love participating in Sci-Fi November and the Sci-Fi Experience – even if my participation can get off-track due to illness or life’s unexpected emergencies – the joy I have for the Speculative heart of fiction is hardcore. I love finding the dreamspinners of inverted and invented genres who provide an unknown niche of literature by how their stories transcend through the needle of time in proportion to character driven literature. This is simply my ‘next find’ in a lifelong pursuit of originality and bookish joy in discovering the niche makers.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Breedling and The City in the Garden” by Kimberlee Ann BastianThe Breedling and the City in the Garden
Subtitle: The Element Odysseys : Book One
by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.

​These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.

He chose defiance.

Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.

Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781945769047

Also by this author: Author Interview (Kimberlee Ann Bastian)

Genres: Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism


Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

on 20th September, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 280

 Published By: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (@Wiseink)

Quite fittingly, I started 2016 by reading ‘Becoming George Washington’ by this publisher and I am now featuring a second title by them in the closing chapter of December. How wicked is that!?

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a unique love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. This melting pot of elements is what prompted the creation of her epic ELEMENT ODYSSEYS series, starting with the reboot of her debut novel now titled THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN.

When she is not in her writer's room, working her current "day job", or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of your Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture. ​

my review of the breedling and the city in the garden:

Such a curious opening sequence – where we meet quite the interesting two characters – of whom start to set the tone for the story itself. The Tales Teller is an interesting character because she embodies the history of the origins within her mind and is electrically charged through her emotional angst for not being able to contain herself when she’s feeling vexed; despite the curiously magical situations surrounding her – such as self-brewing calming vapors by an apothecarist whose own intentions are as masked as her own. From the angle of entrance into this world, we’re curious to know more about the original origins of the Elements and how everything was first spun into orbit before it outspun itself into chaos – there was an organisation shift and a purposeful distortion of order causing a catalyst of after effects.

The back history itself reads similar to Earth’s own origins – about how natural elements are as important as the mathematical language which speaks for the universal codes. Elemental magic and elemental biochemistry are quite fascinating sub-focuses in scientific history but it’s how these particular elements were divided and then segregated away from each other that was most telling in the opening chapter to prove how disportioned this particular world had become since it was first conceived. There are only four elements hanging in the balance: Flame (in lieu of Fire), Wind (in lieu of Air), Earth (as itself), and Sea (in lieu of Water) who are being manipulated to exist outside of their own natural instincts. The spirit realm or the area known as Heaven (otherwise known as Aether outside of religious thought) is not separated into a fifth element but rather drawn into Wind – as Wind was cast out into Heaven whereas Flame was sent to Hell. Bastian has created an abridged origins story for her world which runs parallel to contemporary understandings of religious history through the eye of spirituality with takeaways from natural religious orders and the Far East. Metal and Wood are sometimes additional elements used to speak to the origins of balance in the natural world, however, they were not highlighted in this story.

There are twofolds to the story – the organisational backstory of the Elements themselves and how they influence and effect life in human society. Those who exist in the Elemental side of the world have a certain structure of duties and expectations – they are sent with specific goals in mind to carry out the will of those of whom control their actions, but what they hadn’t expected is one of their own to go against their rules and draw his own conclusions about what his purpose in his life was going to be outside of their controlling mandate.

We enter Chicago within the footsteps of tragic loss as two young boys have lost more than their fair share in their short lives. Charlie and Jimmy were anchoured together out of the fire that claimed their family; they were each others’ support team. Having transitioned to living in the city the ill-fated orphanage was set by arson, claiming young Jimmy as Charlie tried to save him. Charlie’s full weight of guilt and anguish was clearly visible despite his fortitude of strength to continue to exit the burning structure carrying Bartholomew – the very person the Tales Teller and the Apothcarist were speaking about at the start of the novel. He was the one who had cast his destiny askew by refusing orders and by withdrawing from his set course of action. Charlie has lost everything and yet, his refusal to succumb to the shattering reality of injustice around him is part of his survival instinct. He pushes forward even if he wants to tuck into his emotions and feel the overwhelming loss without worrying about wasting hours on self-pity. Except to say, Charlie is truly grounded – as he lamented about how one can never let go of Hope even in the hours of your greatest despair as he was trying to become better acquainted with Bartholomew of whom he named Buck for easier reference to those they might encounter.

Buck at this point was trying to sort out what to share with Charlie and what to withhold, including how his presence in Charlie’s life was affecting the next life of Jimmy’s. As there is an invisible line drawn between mortals and immortals – how the interactions of each can affect each other and everything else tied to the two dimensions of existence as well. Buck’s sudden presence back at the orphanage disrupted Jimmy’s path and now was left with an uncertain ‘next step’. However, Buck chose not to tell Charlie any of this for fear that it was a bit out of the depth of what Charlie could conceptionalise or understand; yet if you looked at how Charlie was speaking to Buck – how much he had matured past most of his age, you’d think Buck could have given him the benefit of the doubt in that regard.

Although I knew going into reading this novel it was loosely based on the Irish folktale of Stingy Jack – the only mentions of the fellow is fleeting on the outskirts of where Buck and Charlie are moving the story forward – even the Elements themselves have taken a backseat, allowing what happens in Chicago to become center-point to the evolving drama. Not that this is necessarily a negative but I did find it quite interesting how much time was spent on developing Charlie’s character – he’s very much well-defined and fleshed out, whereas Buck is loosely patched together with only a few inklings of his heritage and origin pierced together from the opening to the short revelations he’s giving to Charlie or the reader; as part of his point of view is in the narrative itself. You almost have to ‘take out’ the folklore origin story and follow Charlie on his path – as he’s the main character of the novel, which surprised me in a way, as I thought it would be Buck (given the title) but instead, I found myself drawn more to Charlie’s plight than worrying about what would become of Buck at this junction until the last quarter of the novel.

This is where Bastian pulled together why Buck was different from others like him and why Charlie and the Priest Charlie befriended were so very important to Buck – each of them were providing Buck with one piece of a puzzle only he could solve. There are great forces of good and evil weaving around the evolving plot as it thickens in and out of preference to continue telling Charlie’s story. Charlie’s story is very much hinged to Buck’s in a way that surprised Buck in the end as it was not what he was expecting to be true. Bastian wants her readers to read between the lines inasmuch as pay attention to the details she’s giving out in measured installments – you can tell she spent a great deal of time setting the scope of the series whilst sorting out what needed to be present and what could wait to be seen lateron.

You find yourself pulled into a story of ethics and morals – of sorting through the will of one vs the will of the majority and who decides what is right for themselves. There is far more to this story than what you first think is going to be revealled because Buck is set on a journey towards understanding why he alone is set apart from his kin and how his evolution away from tradition is a marked fixture of how time is yielding to reveall something altogether new to the Elements who until this point in time were a bit dormant in power. Bastian has written a story that encourages you to think back on what was revealled and when each revelation changed the perception of each character affected by the hidden truths of her world.

on the speculative & magical realism styling of Ms bastian:

One cheeky inclusion was the Chicago motto to promote parks and natural areas on the cover of the novel: Urbs in Horto directly translates to City in a Garden; of which of course is the latter half of the title with one word altered.

Bastian does not reveall too much about the arc of the series in this first installment but rather pulls the reader through her characters’ individual journeys – first it was by setting the tide for how Bartholomew needed to find his footing in Chicago in order to right the wrongs of his own past or at least understand the greater scope of what was happening by his actions whereas Charlie needed to find the wings to carry on despite great  personal loss. Charlie’s point of view is not only compelling on the onset but dearly tragic and emotionally gutting at first to read – you felt the two young boys had a chance to survive the fire, until of course, it was clear only one of them could make it through. The tragedy of course compounding the fire is how much shock young Jimmy had experienced in his life and how the fire itself had paralyzed his actions to flee.  By tracing through how these lives are interconnected and threaded together, Bastian sets the tone for her series.

The parts that I felt were best defined as Magical Realism could have been a bit increased to make Chicago a bit more elementally centred but as Bastian writes character driven stories, I could understand why she wanted Charlie to have his time to lead the story rather than to over insert the Elements and the concerns of their Fates into the historical setting of Chicago during Charlie’s lifetime. The parts that were included were quite lovely, as Bastian found ways to insert her ethereal characters at moments that felt natural for them to be included. I do agree with some readers about how it would have been lovely to have ‘more’ rather than ‘less’ magical elements of the supernatural textured into the threads of the story-line rather than focusing more on the mortal end of the series at this first installment but again, it’s a judgement call on how a story can be told.

I do agree – I love the fantastical knitted and hugged close to the narrative, where there is this blurring texture of where a Magical Realism novel can transport you. Almost as if you cannot see the lines of where one part of the story’s world intercepts with the supernatural; each bending and yielding to each other in a harmonic dance of balance. I saw pieces of this novel catching that beautiful weaving of textures, but there were times where I felt we were more directly driven to follow a traditional historical narrative arc than a Magical Realism genre-bender series.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 9 December, 2016 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Magical Realism, Orphans & Guardians, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction

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8 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “The Breedling and The City in the Garden” by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

  1. Ah! You said you had a no-glare screen, so I thought you have some kind of an e-book solution. Well, older kindles have absolutely no glare, so they’re really good. Older ones can read back to you as well. I loved that on my old one.

    Also, there are certain apps that can read back to you! And not the robotic voice either. The Google woman reader is quite a pleasant voice :) I’ve recently found an app that can just read back the NetGalley books to me. I listened to Miranda and Caliban while doing dishes and even taking showers or doing stretches :D truestory! So you could brave NetGalley that way if you wanted.

    That said, I am jealous of physical copies! In a friendly way, that is :)

    The reason I haven’t checked out the story yet us because I have over 30 titles piling up from NetGalley. So it’s kind of a deep bog right now. One thing with e-books is that you can’t feel the volume and can get carried away requesting.

    And yep, I checked, I found you through bloglovin :)

    • I had meant to follow-up with you shortly after you replied, Avalinah but I lost track of the hours! I wanted to say, my migraines are triggered a bit differently than most who suffer with them, as the type of screen I use does help reduce a few of my issues using a digital screen but reading in any amount of length digitally still is a problem for me, which is why I only read books in print or listen to audiobooks. Yes, I have explored how you can have a computer ‘narrate’ digital text but for me personally, it’s simply not the same as a bonefide audiobook or picking up the print copy to read in person. I might not have the same capabilities you do, to have the computer ‘read to me’ as the few times I attempted it, the voice did not follow the text very well and skipped around a bit. I’m happy reading books and stories the way I am – I’ll leave NetGalley to those who enjoy reading digitally.

      We all have to do what is best for us and since I’ve been faltering a bit just to find joy in reading this New Year, I am simply thankful I have stories on my shelf to read which will draw my focus back to the craft of story-telling. I understand – it’s hard to come by print books sometimes as a blogger and as my purchasing budget doesn’t allow me to buy every book I wish to read, I do rely a lot on my local library. Either through the books in their card catalogue or the books which I can ‘borrow’ through inter-library loan. My best ‘new books’ are actually bargain finds at dollar stores or used books at thrift shoppes! :) I’ll be getting into those selections towards Summer, as like you, I have amassed a bit of a backlogue myself! :( I simply fell behind due to circumstances a year and a half ago and it just sort of snowballed. *le sigh* I definitely understand why your working on your ‘queue’ before adding more to your load!!

      Ooh, how brilliant! :) I wondered who had found me via bloglovin!

  2. I’m so sorry about your dad! Brings me back to memories about grandpa (who incidentally I had a dream about just last night).
    No worries about visiting my blog :)
    Why don’t you use NetGalley, by the way?

    I have not checked out this book yet, but I think I should, you have totally reminded me to. I had forgotten again :D typical.

    I have also been busy lately, so I’m extremely behind on my GoodReads goal :( better keep reading! Haha.

    Is your blog on bloglovin? I don’t remember currently, I’ll have to check if I’m following you, but I think it might be where I found your blog in the first place :) or maybe Twitter…

    • Hallo again, Avalinah!

      I appreciate your quick response! :) I wish I had dreams about my grandparents; I do miss them ever so much. I can sympathise. I’m thankful Dad is still with us and is continuing to be able to be part of my life. We just never know the future and the present has become even more important as of late. Thanks for understanding why I hadn’t had the chance to get over to your blog.

      Oh! NetGalley is only for e-book readers (from what I gather) which wouldn’t work for me as I can only read books in print or audio versions. Laughs. You made me smile! Ah, so you haven ‘t attempted the story yet! lol So thankful I responded to your lovely comment, today then! Laughs. Don’t worry – we all have a lot on our minds time to time, and sometimes stories fall out of view. I’ll look forward to discussing it with you after you’ve had the chance to dig into it. :)

      Oy. I set some reading challenge goals recently (over here) but I fear if I can only read half of those selections, I’ll consider it a ‘win’ by the end of the year! Maybe I’ll surprise myself!? Who knows!! So I hear you on the GR goal!

      Yes! I am on bloglovin – I added it to the header bar, the bottom of my posts and in my footer. You can click this link to follow me on bloglovin! So happy you asked! I wouldn’t be surprised if you found me either on here or Twitter; most readers love to follow me on both, which I am thankful to hear.

  3. I basically skimmed through because I have this book waiting to be read on my own TBR! Got it on NetGalley. Seems like I should get to reading it sooner rather than later!

    I have chronic migraines as well, but I’ve noticed reading on e-ink readers doesn’t give me headaches. Which is great since most DRCs I get are electronic :) really lovely of the publishers to send you a real copy though! Real copies have their charm, don’t they.

    • Hallo, Hallo Avalinah,

      *waves!* THANK YOU, for leaving me commentary whilst you are visiting my blog! :) I cannot tell you how much this was appreciated as I do not always receive feedback regarding my posts. It is such a joy to get to ‘see’ one of my visitors or dedicated readers sharing their point of view and reaction to something I’ve blogged! I do apologise my response time has been remiss lately as the past several months were transitional months for me, as I re-adjusted to life after my father’s stroke (Thanksgiving weekend – Nov 2016). Did you read this story yet!? I need to visit your blog to find out! lol I had meant to start visiting you sooner – but I honestly haven’t been my usual chatty self. Just to return to blogging has been a bit of struggle as I find a new kind of balance in my everyday reality. Reading is still on the fringes of my focus at the moment. I’m hoping by the end of February, I’ll find more solace in being able to read and keep focused on the stories once again. It just takes time.

      Yes, NetGalley is one resource I cannot use. I do use Edelweiss to contact publishers – this is how I started working with Prometheus Books (for instance), however, my enquiries are print based rather than digital. I am thankful to hear your migraines are not triggered by the e-ink screens – I have to be so very careful the type of screens I read on – as I have a non-glare screen myself (unsure how else to describe it?) plus I limit how long I am online.

      Ooh don’t they ever!? Print copies (real copies, as you say!) are a balm to my bookish soul! I get ever so excited when I see the parcels arriving by Post! I just opened up a short stack of lovelies today which arrived the past few weeks, too. It’s quite exciting being a blogger – despite the migraines for both of us – of which I hope for us both are limited this year! Thank you for your comment and I look forward to visiting with you as much as seeing you alight again on my blog! Happy reading!!

  4. Kimberlee

    Jorie, I am simply in awe by your words. So stunned in fact, it nearly brought me to tears. Your analysis approach to your review of my novel is one I hope will be the first of many to come. Also, I do promise more magical realism will be present in book two, which I am diligently working on right now. Thank you every so kindly for being apart of my blog tour and for your time.

    Happy Reading and continual thoughts to you and your family.
    Regards,
    Kimberlee

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Bastian,

      I felt equally as humbled by your comments in regards to my approach to book blogging and in effect, how I approach reviewing the stories I am reading. I wanted to approach it differently than other bloggers I had run across prior to starting my own blog. I wanted to dig a bit deeper and blog the heart out about the stories which moved me or frustrated me – I write openly and honestly about each story I read, ergo I never know the result of the post I am writing because I blog as I’m reading – to keep my reactions as raw as they are in the moment I am reading but also, to show a proper first ‘impression’ of how a story settles round my mind’s eye.

      Yes, I would like to continue my journey with your stories – I have already pre-planned to re-examine this first novel when the second releases. I was thankful I could lay thought and mind on it this past December (considering everything) but I wanted to give it a proper re-read before moving forward into the next installments all the same. I am also thankful how I articulated my thoughts resonated with you. All of my posts are written as letters back to the authors – as they are the little footnotes of one reader’s journey with the stories an author has written. I appreciate your visit and am thankful you’ve read what I’ve left behind – not just for your eyes or my readers, but for all readers who might one day stumble upon this review and start to seek out an incredibly layered story-teller in the Magical Realism section of the craft!

      I look forward to finding your updates and for keeping tabs on your writing progress. Thank you for being kind and considerate regarding my personal situation this past holiday season; you truly uplifted my spirits and gave me a burst of support when I was truly not in a good place emotionally. Your notes were a kind grace during a raging storm of chaos. I hope you know how much it meant to receive them and may you be twice blessed in return for sharing your caring heart.

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