#WaitingOnWednesday No.3 | “The Crowns of Croswald” (Book No.1 of the Croswald series) by D.E. Night (aka. Jorie’s magically lovely mystery #bookmail which gave her this beautifully fantastical story!)

Posted Wednesday, 19 July, 2017 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 4th Year Book Blogger. I was approached to receive a mystery book mail box from a debut YA author (D.E. Night) in conjunction with her release The Crowns of Croswald wherein I would have a lovely bookish box to open, photograph and share with my readers the impressions it gave me ahead of reading the novel! This review comes after showcasing my #unboxing during last Wednesday’s #WaitingOnWednesday showcase as a follow-up and surprise for my readers!

I received my complimentary ARC copy of “The Crowns of Croswald” from D.E. Night courtesy of the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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a word about ‘waiting on Wednesday’:

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

I have decided to start participating in this book blogsphere meme with a few small changes of how it’s regularly blogged about by my fellow book bloggers. I will either be introducing my current reads of upcoming releases as I am in the process of reading them and/or I might be releasing a book review about a forthcoming title by which I had been blessed to read ahead of publication. The main purpose behind the meme is to encourage readers and your fellow book bloggers to become aware of new books being released which caught your eye and which held your interest to read. Sometimes if your still in the process of reading the books, its the titles which encouraged your bookish heart. I look forward to spending the next seasons of the year, talking about the books I have on hand to read, the books I’ve been reading and the books I might not even have a copy to read but which are of wicked sweet interest to become a #nextread of mine.

Thus, this book review is showcasing a title which is set to release in a few short days (21st July)! This review is an anchour to my #unboxing post about the same book & author wherein I had a bit of magical joy in sharing how I opened the book parcel which gave me such a delightfully magical reading experience! I must admit, both experiences for me has been wonderful and I would not be surprised if this is only one of several unboxings you might see flutter onto Jorie Loves A Story!

This is my  3rd #WaitingOnWednesday showcase, be sure to visit my 1st & my 2nd!

A new meme inspired by Waiting on Wednesday is Can’t Wait Wednesday for which this marks my first #WaitingOnWednesday post I’ve been able to share with the bloggers following this version of the meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings! (Tressa introduces her meme) Here is the post by which I shared my link. Be sure to find out which book bloggers I visited who helped ADD to my #TBRList by finding my blog hop route below this showcase!!

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be sure to visit my #unboxing to understand why I became so dearly attached to Croswald ahead of reading it’s debut to Middle grade fantasy:

Unboxing DE Night debut novel bookmail. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

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#WaitingOnWednesday No.3 | “The Crowns of Croswald” (Book No.1 of the Croswald series) by D.E. Night (aka. Jorie’s magically lovely mystery #bookmail  which gave her this beautifully fantastical story!)The Crowns of Croswald

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald's mysterious gems.

When Ivy's magic - and her life- is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-0-9969486-5-4

on 21st July, 2017

Pages: 314

Published By:  Self Published / Stories Untold Press

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #CrownsOfCroswald or #CroswaldSeries + #MGFantasy

OR #MiddleGrade + #Fantasy

About D.E. Night

D.E. Night lives, dreams, and writes in South Florida amid her menagerie – two dogs and two cats – with her husband.

“The Crowns of Croswald” is her first book. She draws inspiration from silver-screen storytellers, magical imaginings, and her younger brothers. A day spent in Croswald, or another whimsical world, is her favorite kind of day.

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Entering ‘Croswald’:

The fey are called ‘Hairies’ and they remind me of Trolls (ie. the cheeky dolls recently starring in their anime film which honestly wasn’t my cuppa?) – they have seriously long hair and the ability to :blink: from sight simply by extending their ‘hair’. I can see how they came to have their nickname! And, here dear hearts is where things start to get interesting – because within my #bookmail parcel, was a piece of the newsprint Derwin is referencing in the Prologue! (I kid you NOT!) I can now see how ingenius my little magical parcel was – it wasn’t just a clever way of giving a reader a magical mystery to unbox, no, it was literally giving a reader bits and bobbles of Croswald itself! To take the world out of it’s dimensional space and inserting it into our own – crossing the gap between the imagined and the tangible! Now, that’s seriously wicked clever!

I readily could drink in the setting – where umbrellas try to block the falling snow and where guardians of magical scholarly pursuits are awaiting their ‘placements’ whilst the Hairies themselves are still floating inside their lanterns, curious about what is happening outside the glass which houses them! It’s a sight for sure – why are the Scriveners separate from Hairies and what pray tell did the Hairies do to anyone to be captured and kept in such a way!? I nearly felt my breath against the air – as I too, felt as if I were standing close-by to Derwin, awaiting to see what would be announced!

Ooh, my goodness – to scriven is to cast magic? I could definitely see myself celebrating graduation by fluttering about the crowd and casting a flowery spell like another young female graduate was doing! I could just relate to her sense of liberation! Once your out of school, there is nothing sweeter than the first smell of freedom! No more droll and obligatory obligations of studious intentions – your simply free to live, breathe and do as you’ve learnt! Oh, my, what a scene is taking shape, indeed! My Ravenclaw heart was keenly invested and I wasn’t even on page five yet!

There is something quite extraordinary about connecting the act of ascribing words and the creation of magic – of how knitted together the elements of magic are with the confluence of intellectual curiosity inked out of the words by which are sorted by the flickerings of a quill?

And, those rhino-carriages are the cabs!? The ones from the author’s site so exquisitely brought to life? Ooh, I feel as if I’ve crossed into the Croswald dimension – of where time is not winding down in the usual fashion off the clock but perhaps is noting the subtle changes between this time and Croswald time – of where the blurred realities of their world and ours are merging into a finely tuned presentation of how easily it is to step into the portal a writer presents to you whilst giving you a firm grounding of what is necessary to know before you embark on your journey! I feel as giddy as Hermoine when she first went to Hogwarts! I mean, seriously!!

Definitely a new spin and take on ‘storm systems’ in the upper atmosphere! I can lament about my own consternation for the intensity of lightning and the extreme energy collecting inside each bolt whose density of depth and width is enough to lend anyone a cautionary reprieve from tempting their own fate under the shrouded skies of blackened clouds and hauntingly red glows of the upper atmosphere turning foul in the presence of a system barking out it’s own angst for being too electrically charged to be of any use to the ground! (of which you can gather is eager for a good watering the rain could have given had it been present) To re-capture the same visual reference but to spin it alternatively to reflect a ‘smoke and mirrors’ effect to ‘hide’ in plain sight the rhino-carriages touting off their charges to points unknown is quite the clever elemental surprise!

my review of the crowns of croswald:

Ooh, my dear Jupiter moons! This lovely novel is illustrated with such surprises as a feathered quill pen alighting across the opening pages wherein you read “The Scrivenist” as this eludes to not only how this world was built and envisioned but it offers a Prologue of a treat to kick-off your reading of the novel itself! I love pen and ink illustrations – this is beyond lovely! The details on the feathery pen are ‘touch tangible’ – you nearly feel their soft feathery essence against your fingers,..

A towne hidden as elusively as a misplaced key? This is enticing as it bespeaks to not just the mysterious origins of this world but it is an ancient adage about having exclusive knowledge about a place which has a particular interest in keeping hidden from outside eyes. Oh! oh! OH! The pen name of the author is the scrivenist of the story!? For it couldn’t be coincidental the key character we first meet inside this novel is named: Derwin Edgar Night? (aka D.E. Night) Now, this is cleverly curious, dear hearts! An interesting new layer of curious curiosity for this reader, that’s for sure! Especially – did the writer find inspiration in her pen name by her character or did the character derive his name from the writer’s initials? What writerly folly!

I could see why Ivy snuck off – not only to meet with her dear friend Rimbrick, a dwarf who took a liking to her and whose friendship was mutually respected and cherished – but to find a way to carve out a space separate from her job; of where she could be ‘Ivy’ and not the expected servant whose place was carved out of responsibilities and duty to someone other than herself. She was not her own person in status nor in place; there was an order to Croswald inasmuch as there were in the Victorian, Regency & Edwardian eras of England (of which I love to disappear instead inasmuch as I do SFF!). The fact she’s a natural bourne artist and an insightfully intuitive soul who understood more than what perhaps was expected of her station – made it even more delightful to ‘meet’ her.

Ivy works with specially bred dragons of whom are responsible for how things are cooked inside the castles on Croswald – imagine? I felt my inward breath draw – I am always a bit on pins how dragons are presented and treated in fiction; I am definitely one for humane treatment of animals in stories and this especially is true of dragons who I feel too often get painted in the wrong ray of light in Fantasy stories. In this one, though, it felt more like they had a duty to perform and Ivy, being the one who understood their nature was employed to help them succeed. What took me by such a grand surprise – is how a caldron dragon is used as I initially thought it was their fiery breath which acted as the catalyst to cook or bake! I loved how Ivy interacted with the dear beasts, too! She truly loved them and was a wicked good keeper – she was mindful of their needs but it’s how she choose to interact with them which warmed my heart!

There is a critical scene where a dragon is quite unwell and where Ivy champions his cause to be rescued (even if it put her own life in critical danger!); it was within this sequence you can see Ivy’s purity of heart and of how brave she honestly is in the face of danger. As sometimes, the most dangerous situation is when something unexpected happens whilst your in the middle of just another ordinary day – full of routine and duty, but without the stagnant stasis you were accustomed too! As sometimes the day where your routine is broken is the greatest day of change for your life!

When the cabby came for Ivy – you could feel the electric swirl of change surrounding her – as you understood the storm better than she in that moment but of the changes coming to her; those were only the ones you could hope she’d not just embrace but find would bring her full circle into her own niche of magical ingenuity! Ivy is the type of girl who others might second-guess as being of worth, as she’s humble and settled in her skin with an ease of familiarity for her circumstances but there is something else just underneath the image of what she projects to the world: perhaps even, a piece of herself is not yet even aware of.

Mr Munson, bless him, is what any 1st Year might hope to find in their first shoppe of supplies – but with the added layer of suspenseful oddities thrown in for good measure as he’s not one to over explain things you are unaware of existing! His curiously inept attempt to supply Ivy with the books and things she needs left me in chuckles of delight; he acts a bit strange, but you can tell he loves his job of outfitting the students! His greater concern of course, is why Croswald’s Dark Queen had darkened his shoppe’s exterior; a rumoured woman of power of whom no one truly know the identity of nor of the extent of her powers; yet she could stir trouble simply by arriving unannounced!

Shortly after her escapades to properly outfit her year at the Halls, what pray tell happens?! She’s run straight out of Town by an army of ‘chasing quills’! Whichever reason their intentions drove them to such insanity, it provided a way for Ivy to make her first ‘discovery’; of finding that not everything imagined is unreal and not everything dreamt is cast out into the ether by the break of day! She had the joy of finding the blurred line between dreamscapes and reality; of where dreams and wishes were only a stone’s throw from conjuring an image out of memory rather than imagination!

There was a moment when Ivy first arrived at the Halls where I wondered if Ms Night had been inspired by a scene in The Witches (one of my favourite films of childhood!) – as they both involved ‘a painting’.

The more she learnt at the Halls, the more Ivy recongised how uniquely different she was from her peers; including the faculty at one point, as where everything affected everyone else on an equal level, Ivy was left unaffected. She could remember things others would presume to forget (for security reasons; or so they said) and never wonder why things felt different than what had just transpired. Almost as if she were stepping through time and outside of time at the same moment everyone else was not transitioning at the same rate of speed she was herself. It’s hard to put into words – as your reading the novel, you’re picking up on so many different things all at once – from the quirky behaviour of her teachers to the shyness of her peer group and to how some of her peers are overly confident which might mark them for needing to be a bit more humble. All the while, it’s Ivy whose noticing the most changes – from how the books are self-erasing to how what she knows to be true is being masked out of the sight of others completely! This is most intriguing because as you follow in Ivy’s footsteps – your growing more dearly curious about what is evolving outside of her perspective on what is being shrouded in Croswald. Because you can sense something is being hidden; rather purposefully, too!

Next to Rimbrick, Fyn has to be my second favourite character aside from Ivy; as similar to Rimbrick he is placed on Ivy’s path for a reason! He has this cheeky way of being present whenever he is needed most and he has the ability like Rimbrick to know exactly what to say to give Ivy a bit of a smile and a jolt of laughter! He helps her ease out of her nerves and find the joy despite the hurdles stacking against her as she doesn’t quite fit in with the others at the Halls. Although Rebecca is the kind of sisterhood friend Ivy could use as neither of them had much in common with their classmates.

Winsome is a character you like instantly because of how approachable he is and how authentic he is about conveying what is on his mind. He’s one of the few who has answers to Ivy’s questions – further still, he is providing Ivy with a few keys about her past and of her truer origins. Without his presence, I am unsure if Ivy would have connected the dots as quickly as she started too once his influence had revealled more than a few secrets she had been left in the dark about all the years of her life. It was almost as thought he had opened the door which allowed Ivy’s true nature and true identity to have the freedom she never knew she had sought to find.

Ivy had to find the courage within herself to seek out the truth which not only was purposely being hidden from sight but out of mind and memory. There is a danger of erasing the truth from those who need to understand their past – to know of who they were and why they are who they are in the future. It is interesting how this story was not just about a girl coming into her own but of a girl who could seek to find a way to reunite her world with the truth it had been forced to forget! Croswald charms you by it’s endurance to understand what is forgotten and by the ingenuity of how it’s story is told. The best part of the magic within this world is how it is contained in the spirit of the person who can scriven magic as easily as they can breathe because true magic is within us all.

ivy lovely & those wickedly glowing bottles:

It was Ivy’s thirst for knowledge through the art of reading and research which warmed me instantly to her as she took after my own bookish heart, to be honest! Her genuine friendship with an unexpectedly kind dwarf (of whom you can discern knows more than he’s letting on!) who encourages her curiosity whilst he cautions her to be aware of her surroundings; best not to let others find out what she does on her ‘down’ time for fear of what it could mean for her well-being. She’s one of those curiously in-tune creatives, who doesn’t quite have her self-confidence to fully understand the talent she can give and what she can bring to the world based on her inherit gifts. Rimbrick feels more like a guardian and a guide – someone who can help plant the seed of ideas about her (potential) future whilst giving her the time she needs to accept not everything is quite as it seems; at least, not in regards to what Ivy Lovely should be doing with her life.

Her world was truly separated by class, station and decree – only the royals were able to receive formal education to advance as either scrivenists or how to use the stones embedded into their crowns. It is here where I started to understand the legacy, lore and purpose behind the title of the novel – for you see, the crowns hold more than magic within their design. Though willing, Ivy was cast-out of contention for this honour, as she is both orphan and servant; an unwanted presence wherein others who know of her do not see her potential, only what she is worth as a person who serves their needs over her own.

I don’t know about you – but when I read the syllabus for Ivy’s 1st Year at the Hall of Ivy – I was tickled with excitement on her behalf! Especially as her class schedule felt more adventurously enticing than my own years of schooling provided! There was even a bit of flexibility for independent study and self-directed excursions of discovery! Who wouldn’t want to attend a school set-up to be not only centred on it’s students but to allow the students to dictate how far they could educate themselves by listening to their own conscience and choose the path right for them to walk?

I must admit – when Ivy first arrived inside her glanagerie class, I was most keen to learn all about these wonderfully enticing glowing bottles! The interesting bit is how the magic is contained inside them and what the magic is used for – as it’s quite an interesting puzzle to root out in one’s mind! The bottle itself is not as quaint in size as you observe and the ways in which the bottles can be used do not have a limited arsenal of ideas! At best, they are meant to be used with extreme caution and with a particular nod of healthy respect!

All the while, I was eyeing my own glanagerie bottle and remembering how I had tinkered with it even though I hadn’t fully realised what it was nor what it was capable of doing! It is how it glowed which nibbled at my curiosity and once curious, who can put down the object they most want to sort out how to use?

on the fantastical world-building of ms night:

I don’t know about you, but stories such as these are wonderfully found at any age – if we still haven’t eclipsed the purity of imaginative worlds and the joys we felt as our young selves for the magical worlds which encourage our curiosity for the spectacular, than this particular story will appeal to everyone who found the Harry Potter series in their twenties and felt as if they had been given the gift of ‘a second childhood’ as they went through the motion pictures! As this is how I felt myself – I was one and twenty; the lead character was eleven; ten years apart in age but my! How I felt as young as Harry and as curiously curious about how being at Hogwarts could effectively change a person’s life!

I can see why there were murmurs of cross-references between Ms Rowling’s world and Ms Night’s – however, to be fair, this is wholly unique unto it’s own thread of building a world spun out of magic and lore! There might be a few reasons to see the homage to the other series – but somehow, Ms Night has captured a world as magically inventive and as charmingly delightful to reside in as her Contemporary peer had!

I love how she interrupted a letter Ivy was writing (from Rimbrick) to show what Ivy’s actions were in-scene rather than to tell those actions lateron after the letter had been read! It’s a clever way of expanding a scene both in and out of the moment your arriving inside; nearly making it feel a bit larger than it’s page. I liked how it also felt as if we were reading all of this over Ivy’s shoulder and further in-step with her experiences as they were being lived!

I am uncertain if I would have thought it were possible for dragons to be used as ‘cauldrons’ (cooking apparatuses!) and the fey to be used as the light within the lanterns! I had originally thought the fey was captured for another reason entirely – but to be used as a source of light to shine in the darkness? Now that is cleverly different, isn’t it?

What I enjoy must about stories for Middle Grade or YA audiences is how they are stitching life lessons into their narratives – where younger readers can take stock of what they can gain from the personal growth they will experience once they endeavour to experience what the character is undergoing themselves. In this case, it’s about self-identity, self-worth and a transition towards embracing self-confidence without lingering self-doubt which can sometimes destablise a person’s ability to see the hope they have for what the future holds. Ms Night has accomplished this quite well – as the teachers in the story are imparting words of inspiration but also, it’s how she’s placed certain secondary characters in pivotal positions to cause a reader to sit up and take stock of their presence. Thereby inspiring them further to start to recognise the benefits of why the story was penned.

The most beloved SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy) authors I come to love reading are the ones who can stitch a breadth of dimensional ‘otherworld’ into the smallest of space as to elude to the largeness of their world. Ms Night is definitely a writer in this stead of Fantasy writers of whom have mastered the art of building their world not only through the subtle ordinary gestures of how their characters interact with their world’s perimeters but with the essences of how her world establishes itself into the readerly mind, heart and imagination! She has drawn together such lovely clues and visual aides to give a dimensional boost of imagery and imaginative thought to her readers! Settling into Croswald is as easy as soaking into the words of her narrative – as they route your mind round what makes Croswald so uniquely different whilst tempting you to see Croswald as Ms Night sees the world herself! Smashing, debut!

Note: I mentioned my #unboxing via The Sunday Post No.1 + this review via The Sunday Post No.2

On The Sunday Post No.2 I also mentioned this could be Upper MG / YA due to the overall content.

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Jorie found out a secret about the glittered bottle!

The Crowns of Croswald Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

And, now… I am on absolutely itching for the sequel!

When will the second book be available to devour? How far apart will the series be spread between installments & my goodness!

How is Ms Night going to top this #unputdownable series opener? I was positively charmed by #Croswald; by what it gives the reader & by what we as readers give back to Croswald!

I even like how I was challenged a bit by some of the darker elements (not too dark, mind!) & celebrating how Ms Night stroke a balance befitting of #MiddleGrade Lit!

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The book trailer for “The Crowns of Croswald”

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After visiting my two #WaitingOnWednesday features of this MG Fantasy novel, have I tempted you dear hearts to find a copy & dig into it’s heart!?

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This book review is courtesy of:

JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm

JKS Communications Reviewer Badge

Alas! This is being back-posted to Wednesday as I’ve been dealing with wicked intense lightning storms – where my electronics I fear will be struck down again by electrical overload – hence why I leave them unplugged quite regularly these days – and where blogging has become a unique dance of will – because I cannot stay online long enough to get my thoughts written down! It’s been one of those wicked weeks where the lightning is nearly proving to drag tornadic weather patterns in it’s wake and where the intensity of the bolts is enough to think we’re experiencing the Croswald rhino-carriage magic after effects on our living sphere! Ergo, this is posting on the release day of the 21st but is being posted on Wednesday in regards to my blog – as that is when it was meant to go LIVE had all things been equal and the lightning hadn’t messed with both my sanity and the health of my electronics! Oy. Plus, too – everything came together so well on this post – I hated to think I couldn’t share what I had put together for my readers! My apologies to JKS and the author for the extended delays in getting this post ready for sharing – as reading this story was a wicked sweet blessing!

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{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “The Crowns of Croswald”, author biography, book synopsis, and reviewer badge were provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Quote from publicist response about the author’s website alterations is being used with permission of the publicist. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #WaitingOnWednesday badge using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Pacto Visual, Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, The Crowns of Croswald Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva) as well as the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

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My adventures within the blog hop for #CantWaitWednesday

This list is being generated | this is a WIP list

The STORIES I cannot wait to READ myself as found via the blog hop!

I attempted to leave commentary on each blog as I first arrived. A few I had to re-visit lateron to leave a note and others I tried to find via Twitter to help promote their posts although not everyone was tweeting their posts. If you look how this list is populating, could you ever wonder why the STORIES which appear on #JLASblog are so consistently my lovelies?

[making my way through the bloggers – thus far along the links up til No.30!]

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Sometimes your best ‘feedback’ & commentary is found in the book blogosphere on a fellow blogger’s blog!

Read the lovely comments on this post via Twin Reads!

so wicked happy the twins & i crossed paths celebrating #Croswald + the EPIc lovely experience of feeling immersed inside an awe-inspiring world!

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Comments via Twitter

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)

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Posted Wednesday, 19 July, 2017 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Bookish Memes, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Middle Grade Novel, Waiting on Wednesday

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4 responses to “#WaitingOnWednesday No.3 | “The Crowns of Croswald” (Book No.1 of the Croswald series) by D.E. Night (aka. Jorie’s magically lovely mystery #bookmail which gave her this beautifully fantastical story!)

    • Ah! You’ve found it! (happy smiles!) Isn’t it such sweet #awesomesauce! I am so thankful I pointed you to this – I knew you’d smile as wide as the stars & moons! Wish you could hold it in your hands – it’s such a feast of magic – especially if you use a ‘putouter’ like Dumbledore and only let the bottle shine it’s dwarf magic glow! It felt like I was blessed with my own pinch of otherworld magic!

    • Hallo, Hallo Suzanne!

      I know *exactly!* how you feel! Except, I did find this magically mysterious world crafted into an INSPY YA Fantasy when I was a pre-teen, it was called: “The Purple Door”. I LIVED inside the book for ages! I always felt it should be expanded into a series – a few years ago, whilst browsing used books on Powells – guess what I spied? Two more books in this series! I seriously never *knew!* it was a series!? I ordered the two books – a girl had them before me, she used crayons inside the covers to mark them as hers & part of her personal library. Part of me felt guilty I had them now – felt like they should have been kept in her family, as I could tell they were cherished reads of hers; similar to how I remembered my own girlhood readings of the first novel were to me!

      I hold onto the fact when I locate my copy of “The Purple Door”, I will be able to re-read the series start to finish – as I could only trace the series into a trilogy. If there were more of them, I haven’t yet found them. It’s similar to a series called: The Cassandra Mysteries by Jennifer Austin? Austin was a pen-name – sadly – her career took off in other ways (different genres) but this YA series was another treasure of mine! Two pen-pals (one stateside, one in England) who develop a cross-continental friendship where they get to live adventures when they visit each other and tackle mysteries of crime! It was a spin-off of Nancy Drew in some ways, but wholly true to itself – the two (Cassandra + Alexandra) did remind me loads of Nancy, Bess & Fran — but again, they had their own identities! It took me 10 years to get the quartet – I had the only release, but the three which followed *immediately!* went out of stock / out of print!

      I was delayed in knowing this – as at the time, when I was a pre-teen reading them, Mum tried to get the other books, to surprise me as she knew I had felt so attached to the characters & their lives. Being a pen pal all of my life, it also was a reflection of some of my own experiences – of how you can have close-knit friendships through postal mail. I found the final 3 stories in near-mint condition – their all hardback, the kind where the cover art is part of the hardback? I read each one and savoured the stories the author left me to find.

      I have other memories of series – like Mandie (by Lois Gladys Leppard) — there weren’t a lot of series out there in the 80s / 90s for girls & teens like us, but there were a few which were so authentic and sweet to read — focusing on coming-of age and the joys of growing in confidence whilst embracing change and life experiences; I felt blessed to know those authors who were important during my formative years who inspired me not only to read but to write.

      For Fantasy though – if you ever find a copy of “The Purple Door” by Janifer C. De Vos, I hope you feel as captured by her world-building as I did! For adventure, I loved the Cooper Kids! (by Frank E. Peretti) I read both INSPY and mainstream even as a child which gave me the foundation to be a hybrid reader as an adult.

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