#WeekendReads | during #WyrdAndWonder | celebrating my #25PagePreview of 3x #newtomeauthors of #Fantasy including a random selection I had amnesia over selecting at my library!

Posted Saturday, 11 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , 4 Comments

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Dragon – by kasana86 from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Dragon – by kasana86 from 123RF.com.

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Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Ever since I lost my footing last weekend with my #currentreads for #WyrdAndWonder, I’ve been striving to resume where I left off with my initial readings. The one difference from this 2nd Year of the event compared to the 1st Year is I entered Wyrd And Wonder *migraine-free!* however, due to allergy medicine for my extreme Spring allergies, I encountered a *severe!* supernova migraine our first weekend of the event. A nasty side effect I was not expecting and which took me completely off-guard! It lasted a few days and relapsed shortly thereafter – rendering me offline, unable to read and curiously more exhausted than I bargined for as I had to be mindful of how much rest I needed in order to recover after this particur wreck of a migraine. Being a #migraineur, I am not a stranger to migraines but since I found better medicine in late February / early March (of 2019) I was celebrating my 2nd full month of being free of them — only to be slammed by a doosy of one within the opening days of Wyrd And Wonder. *le sigh*

Not only was I attempting to make amends for the posts I had scheduled to share (which I am still in the process of amending) but I also *forgot!* a blog tour meant to go live yesterday (Friday) (for one of my favourite romance imprints: Harlequin Heartwarming) and had to postpone another Historical blog tour at the same time. Both will be appearing this forthcoming week – but it just proved to myself how hard a toll this migraine had wrecked a bit of chaos on me and how devastating it is when you lose your short-term memory as a result of a bad migraine flaring into your life. Blessedly I only forgot the one tour (ie. Heartwarming) and was able to reschedule the Historical one – but all way round, I was enjoying not having to reschedule any tours for those two months I wasn’t plagued by them frequenting my life.

Thus, I was easing into the weekend, cognisant of not rushing back into reading as that could have an equally adverse effect on me and decided to take it easy whilst re-attempting to start reading again. I thought it might be fun to work on a mini-#25PagePreview where I would select 3x of the stories I was most keenly curious about reading for Wyrd And Wonder and offer this as a bit of a preview of coming revelations. One of these I had already planned to read and review for the event whilst the other two are new books being discovered during the event without any plans to feature them unless I find myself motivated too.

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on what drew me into these stories for #wyrdandwonder:

Whilst trying to self-motivate myself to seek out more #FantasyReads during the calendar year, I’ve noticed my process to return into fantastical realms is in effect a bit hit/miss as previous years will foreshadow as being my track record. There was such a time in my life where I had a better balance of reading #SpecFic spilt between Science Fiction & Fantasy – but in the six years I’ve been a book blogger, I’d say I’ve been hugged inside Urban Fantasy the most and Hard Science Fiction on the opposite end of the spectrum whilst barely moving in/out of either concentrations except for a few here or there which drew my eye towards their narratives. There have been a few eclectically motivating plots within Soft Science Fiction, Paranormal worlds and Genre-bent stories which are more Speculative in nature than they are definitively set within one concentration or the other; with the odd-#CosyHorror thrown in for good measure.

For Wyrd And Wonder : Year 2 : I wanted to continue to expand my horizons and seek out the authors who could potentially become my new beloved authors of whom I’d follow throughout their writerly careers – as technically, that is my goal with every book I pick up to read – to gather new authors to read, follow and blissfully find ruminations over to share with other bookish minded spirits who engage in socially bookish avenues of discussion.

When I first learnt of PRIORY, I knew it would be the “it novel” of the year – it just had that kind of admiration attached to it. Rather than feel the hype was short of the love, I felt this novel might have the kind of staying power all beloved SpecFic titles are given by the legions of readers who have entered the story-line and have felt something special on their visitation within the world itself. At least, this is what I observed as an outsider. I mostly heard of this title through my UK and Euro book blogging friends – as I follow a heap of bookish blogs (via WP and Twitter, directly) and this is the one title I heard the most being discussed for the discerning Fantasy reader. As soon as I heard that, I knew it was a title I needed to gather at my library for #WyrdAndWonder!

Mind you, I hadn’t heard of it via stateside bloggers (although in truth, nearly all the bookish bloggers I follow are technically outside my own country) – so I hadn’t suspected my local library would have a copy let alone *2!* Yet, they had! I’ve had PRIORY checked out for the month of APRIL and now MAY without any fear of it being requested by another reader. I continue to check – no holds on either copies. I’m hoping by having one of them checked out for 2mos might raise a flag of awareness on its behalf – whether or not its my personal cuppa Fantasy or not (though I sincerely hope it will be!) – as that is the point to borrowing books at libraries. Even if a book we select for ourselves is not a match, that doesn’t mean by checking it out it won’t get another reader’s attention. This is a fact I learnt when I first received my library card in 2009 (as it coincided with a new branch opening; though one of many in my lifetime) as apparently there are some readers who await books to be checked out before they’ll chance it themselves. Who knew!?

As soon as Wyrd And Wonder started, I found another reader whose listening to the audiobook which is *26 hours!* in length (if I had the time to listen to it I would) – however, for the life of me, I am forgetting which participant is doing this!? I tried to search for the convo I had with them and for whichever reason Twitter is not letting me find them as all my search suggestions are routing to Year One!? Really!? *le sigh* I look forward to discussing this as it is a book which a lot of readers are familiar and that makes it fun to see different POVs being discussed.

My second choice is to highlight the novel I had my library purchase for me by an author I crossed paths with during #ReviewPit – the twitterverse event where Indie Authors are matched with book bloggers and/or reviewers who are seeking Indie Fiction to read and review. It is a spontaneous event in that you do not know which genres are up for grabs and you do not know which stories are avail in the format you are able to read – for me, being a migraineur, this means I needed to find authors willing to send me their stories in print. The joy of the event was finding a lot of Speculative Fiction authors who had written Indie Fantasy novels and those are the stories you’ll see start to alight on Jorie Loves A Story between the 3rd and 5th week of MAY for Wyrd And Wonder – ahead of that, I wanted to read the first 25 pages of ADRIFT as this is a Science Fiction novel which drew my eye for its premise and the approach the author took in navigating us through this world.

To say I was overjoyed my library accepted my purchase request is putting it mildly – as it is a lovely feeling to know you have a local library whose striving to bridge the gap between Major Trade, Indie Publishers and Press and Self Published authors for today’s library patron who is seeking to expand their literary horizons.

Third, as I clearly had amnesia about finding this title “Empire of Sand” and finding myself unable to want to extract myself from the interview with the author in the Appendixes section in the back of the book itself – I thought it was a fitting 3rd choice to be highlighting for #weekendreads!

When I discovered it was a beloved read and find of Imyril’s — my fellow co-partner in this event, I had a suspicion it might become one of my own. There are times where our interests take different routes in SpecFic and there are other times I note we’re curiously museful about the same stories and authors. When she mentioned it was crushing read which truly grips your bookish soul, I knew I was in for a spellbinding read that might not be one I could overcome as readily as I could place the book into the book drop at the library. Those are the stories I ache to read – anyone would – but they are also the ones I take a more trepiderious entrance inside, questioning if I am ready to meet what is in front of me in the narrative.

It surprised me not, Lisa our co-partner in arms has this on her Kindle – as the three of us tend to loop through similar routes of exploration though Imyril and Lisa are more in-sync with each others’ reads moreso than I am to theirs – with the exception of #SmallAngryPlanet, of course! I am almost hopeful Lisa might pick this one up this month – it would be interesting to see how we each reacted to it and how the story resonated with us all. Led me to a curious thought – did anyone else discover this last year and does anyone else get anmesia about about the books they check-out from libraries?! Hmm,…

I had planned to read these starting round Tuesday, this 3rd week of Wyrd And Wonder – however, curiosity is a curious thing and I decided to take a mini-break from what I was meant to be reading and/or listening too – as I have an audiobook up for review during #HistoricalMondays (ie. a Historical Suspense, not SpecFic!) – to soak into these three novels and sort out which one is my cuppa to be reading this #WyrdAndWonder!

Join me and add your thoughts in the comments if I highlighted a story which interests you to be #amreading, too!

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IF you want me to bump my visit your blog OR #bookstagram to the head of the list, kindly leave me a comment on this post & guide me to where your posts begin! Otherwise, it will be happily random who I am visiting and when I will be tweeting about what I find! I will also be putting together update posts via #JLASblog! Stay tuned, dear hearts to see what emerges out of those visitations!

This year, I’m more on top of visiting bloggers and engaging with tweeters – I’ll be making more rounds starting this 3rd week and can’t wait to see what you’ve been sharing with us all!

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This is a unique feature of Jorie Loves A Story wherein I am sharing my latest #25PagePreview – a feature where I challenge myself to read ONLY *twenty-five pages!* of a book I’m borrowing through my local library (originally conceived in [2016] as an extension of my participation in the meme #LibraryLoot – it is making it’s resurgence back onto my blog during #WyrdAndWonder, 2019 – Year 2!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

My #25PagePreview Notes:

[ I stopped reading on Page 25! ]

Borrowed Books via my Local Library: All thoughts and initial impressions on behalf of the books I’ve borrowed via my local library are for my own personal edification. I was not obliged to post my reflections on behalf of these novels, as I sought them out for my literary curiosity. Likewise, I was not compensated for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

In regards to my purchase request for [Adrift by Isabelle Adler] I became interested in this novel when I participated in #ReviewPit during February, 2019. At that particular point in time, as the event was geared towards Indie Authors finding book bloggers and/or reviewers to review their stories, I knew despite a paperback copy not available to request for review directly I wanted to make a purchase request at my local library. I submitted it and shortly thereafter was alerted to the fact they had accepted my request. It was serendipitous the novel arrived in time to be read during #wyrdandwonder as this was not known nor a guarantee as all purchase requests are fulfilled at the discretion of the library. Although I am in touch with the author and will be featuring this novel during #WyrdAndWonder – my opinions and thoughts shared on its behalf are self-motivated and are able to be provided due to the benefit of being a patron of a library who celebrates all routes of publication including Small Press & Publishers and the world of Indies inasmuch as Self Published Authors. They continue to be supportive of requests on behalf of their patrons for stories published outside Major Trade markets and this title they’ve added is the latest on my behalf.

NOTE: #25PagePreview is a tag and a feature on behalf of jorielovesastory.com shared via Twitter.

This edition of #25PagePreview is specifically focused on the stories I am borrowing to read during #wyrdandwonder : Year 2. The only book I wasn’t able to preview for this feature is Wicked Like Wildfire due to a supernova migraine which set me back 7 days within the first week and a half of this event. The book had to boomerang back to the library and I was the unsuspecting receiver of a book I hadn’t even remembered I’d earmarked to borrow : Empire of Sand!!

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#25 Page Preview #WyrdAndWonder 2019 Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

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The Priory of the Orange Tree

by Samantha Shannon (@say_shannon) | Site | Pub’d by Bloomsbury

→ released into hardback: 26th February, 2019

And, it begins with a pointed reference to the evilness of dragons I have not previously encountered – as for whichever reason, I have only previously encountered the happier side of dragons rather than the mercenery, vile, evil-hearted or malice-ridden societies of dragons which seem to occupy more than 78% of the currently available #dragonfiction stories I seek out to be #amreading. Curiously on such an auspicious quotation at the beginning of this tale, I was uncertain where to lay my thoughts and decided to step through this portal with an open mind but with a cautious one as this might become a tale I might inadvertedly took for one I’d enjoy reading.

Tané is an interesting character – a daring soul who likes to be in charge of her choices and not to be sanctioned against doing what she is in wont to do. She has gumption and courage – yet, in the midst of that, she also has a wavering sense of fear intermixed with determined grit to take her own actions into account for what they are and do right by them and her duty. In this case, I could only surmise ‘Choosing Day’ is when her kind are matched with their dragon(s). It was interesting her eve of this special event was marred by a person outside of her community and whom presented his own curious fate to become attached into hers as she curiously took him through her village to seek someone who could dispense of his presence in a way she could not. If anything, she’s conflicted but I felt there was more to her than what was presented – almost as if this daring act of defiance held more within it than what it appeared on the surface.

One thing is for certain, I like the choices Shannon is making in how she composes the narrative prose she is using to paint the world afire for our imaginations. She turns in her words and phrases in such a way as to afford us the repose it warrants to think on those words, on those choices and to illustrate an older time where selections of words meant more than they do now. Where the very choice of what was said to articulate something or to describe something had a life of its own behind them – as in the choosing of which word to use or which collection of words in sequence also bespoke of a story within a story. It is the sage wisdom of a story-teller, and it is a presence of styling I most enjoy finding. Perhaps even enough to keep me rooted in a novel I might otherwise have felt adverse to continuing to read due to a question mark about the dragons within it.

It isn’t oft a dragon sighting can render such reverence nor of having the scale of the dragon and the human’s near to them being in such realistic proportion of angle – I truly loved how we were introduced to the first hintings of dragons in this world. They were dearly impressive – both in girth and height but also in countenance. The affect they had on their observers was felt dearly but it was the curiosity of why spoken by Doctor Roos which tipped a note of curious interest in myself. As I had forethought dragons here were commonplace but perhaps not prior to the Choosing?

Ironically or not, the fact the good Doctor doesn’t want to be an accessory ahead of or after the fact of this stranger’s arrival was quite fitting. As if he would be disqualified from guilt immediately due to his disinterest in his house-guests affairs? Curious fellow, that Doctor!

Ead is a protector who reminds me of Hiro Hattori (ie. from the 16th Century Japanese Cosy Historical Mysteries I love reading by Susan Spann) – she is willing to do what is necessary for the sanctity of whom she protects, very much like a lady shinobi warrior, of whom I have come to know through Spann’s stories. In many aspects, her first scene reminded me of a rogue warrior who was working in protectorate of someone who needed a specialised protector who could move in stealth but also be trusted to the elite station they were trained.

It isn’t oft I find a predominately female cast – I knew from murmurs on Twitter this is a Feminist Fantasy but evenso, it is how each of the women are first coming into scene and what their responsibilities are and how they are being disclosed which is refreshingly lovely to observe. The closer I draw towards the twenty-fifth page, the more I find myself drawing curious about the rest of the 800+ pages still yet to be read. A secondary thought also flashed to mind – what if there were good dragons and evil dragons represented? Afterall, this has been known to happen – as not all dragons are in the Light? It gave me pause and if I reached the twenty-fifth page still enthralled with this novel, I knew already I would be continuing forward into its greater depths,..

Especially since there was already one scene which could have been far more graphically violent than it was described and blessedly Shannon withheld the gore and simply stated the facts needed to understand the scene itself. If this becomes a mainstay or if some scenes are a bit more visual but not overtly so, I knew I could potentially handle what was still yet to come – hence my willingness to continue rather than to abort my readings.

Ead’s strength was in how she could intuit the truth out of those who would seek to hide it – such as she had with Trude, the young Maid who hadn’t willed the thought to slip past her lips she was forlorn about a scribe. It is these kinds of observations which bid well at Court – the kind of information that can seek to court a path through an intersection of loyalty and distrust and I would imagine this is the cardinals of why Ead was most curious to seek out more about this connection she had unearthed about Trude and the stranger now ashore in a land he was unwelcome with Doctor Roos.

As Tané rode towards her Choosing, I exited on the twenty-fifth page expecting to turn into the twenty-sixth page but knew I had to put the book down til a few more morrows were to erase themselves from a clock. It was mentioned the choosing is between people and Gods but to which entity these people believed a God to take shape was still in question – though, she did wear the image of a blue dragon and had ridden past an entrance of dragon’s caught with their mouths wide open – it marked a curious question about how this new status she was about to achieve would either be connected to a dragon or would be outside that scope? Either way, I was truly smitten by what I had read til this point of reference!

Verdict!? Definitely my particular cuppa tea for this kind of Fantasy!

Although, I have a few concerns with the narrative moving forward, I must admit – this is a dramatic Fantasy anchoured through enough of what I love of the genre with a fierece beauty of words by a wordsmith who is giving me enough fodder of interest to carry forward before I might reach a point I cannot cross past. I’d rather risk disappearing further into this novel than to exit too early and lose the potential of a wicked good read. I will definitely be continuing to read this throughout #WyrdAndWonder, this year!

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Adrift : (Staying Afloat, Book One)

by Irene Adler (@Isabelle_Adler) | Site | Pub’d by NineStar Press

→ released into print 26th January, 2017

→ SEQUEL “Ashore” released 7th of May, 2019!

*This was a purchase request of Jorie’s which her library accepted

& added to the collection for which she is full of gratitude.

I appear to be collecting an affinity for Space Operas bent towards those sections of space either near a rift or the canteens of where a smorgasbord of characters entreat to grab nosh and drink their leave hours away! This has all the makings of why I loved listening to the audiobook version of Rimrider and why I loved co-hosting a RAL for The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet whilst it also hearkens back to my beloved #TheClanChronicles, too! Of course, this is a nod of itch towards where I found myself in Red Lotus, too.

Laughs. Another secreted mission to salvage? I am wicked good at rooting out the stories set in sub-space which are on the fringes of space travellers, regular trade routes and honourable livings. Apparently at this rate, I am more space pirate than I am federated officer which is unique as I spent my childhood admiring the Federation even if I was swooned by the prospect of being part of Chakotay’s crew once Voyager debuted as there was something to be said for rebels with a cause!

I also have found memories of the first season of Farscape which I truly adored until it went all topsy-turvy dark and murky! I wish they had held truer to their roots and not gone mad at the ending episodes of that first year – they would have held me in their throes if the way they went rogue hadn’t been so disappointing!

I love crews which are cobbled together and held with duct tape – meaning, they aren’t generally the crew anyone is expecting to become a part of – they are made in the throes of battle, put together by orders or they are kitting out in space where they have to earn their dimes off the work they can get rather than the work they’d prefer having – in other words, I love Space Opera that has a bit of grit and grunt to it whilst threading through a sociological escapade of how those tight spaces lead to extraordinary friendships and the kind of crew you wouldn’t be willing to leave unless absolutely necessary as they become your found family.

I just laughed into a smirk when this Captain is trying to hedge the bet against having a forced commission of a destination shoved onto him where he has to yield his own ship to a pilot not of his choosing! I knew that would create drama but it might also present a hidden opportunity? It did in those prior stories I read (and loved, I might add!).

Matt, said Captain of said ship about to embark towards a destination not of his choosing for a price he cannot believe his benefactor is actually willing to pay him reminds me dearly of Sira’s Jason! For starters, his first priority is his ship (second to his reputation as a smuggler) and that is just like Jason as Jason would do anything he could to keep his ship in a state of order all other Captain’s could respect. It points towards a mark of honour for a space captain but also a point of personal pride – not something you can fault him for but it could be a cautionary marker of where he might choose to accept a mission he ought not have been tempted to endure.

I could see why Tony (the ship’s galley cook and emergency medic be as it were as it wasn’t her specialty) would have a preference for tea; it is a preference I am attempting to reinstate into my own life and give up ship when it comes to coffee. Tea has a uniqueness of taste in of its own right and coffee oft-times is a companionable option which is quicker but not always the better of the two in the end.

The new captain who strode onto the ship was not whom I was expecting anymore than Matt; he seemed to be far more seasoned at space travel than his years but it was how he conveyed himself on ship that was most striking. He had an ease about him that spoke of an old soul with a wizened sense of experience which pointed towards how many runs he’d made in a ship as a captain. In essence, I think what struck me and Matt the most is that this was not the captain you’d expect who’d undertake a smuggling assignment to a destination yet known.

I loved how the ship reminded me of the previous ships I’ve explored – this one though is huggable cosy – meaning, it is smaller and more portable – it has a nice alignment and layout, giving you breathable space as crew but with a tightness of a commute you’d not have to worry about navigating in your sleep. I like smaller ships as much as I like the kind which are larger than you can believe can transition through sub-space jump sites – each ship has its own reasons for likeability and this one though compact seemed to have a lot going for it.

It was good folly finding the key fault and wrinkle in Matt’s character is his trait of disconnecting with his family. There is history there and although we don’t know all the details, I sensed it was something Tony felt was either worth forgiving or letting go in order to move forward with a semblance of a familial connection intact. You could see her point-of-view but he struck me a stubborn bloke who was more comfortable in this disconnection than he was in exercising a pathway back into re-connection with his sister or any other relation Tony might foresee being a viable person for him to pursue a relationship. Sometimes families disconnect and whatever broke the connection in Matt’s family was a marked moment in his past he wasn’t yet willing to absolve.

One of the beauties of finding what cross a character has to bear is better understanding their motivation to live the lifestyle they’ve chosen for themselves. Being a smuggler on the trade routes (based on my previous readings) is a career that can either be short-changed by sudden attack or unforeseen adversities or long-lived if you played the deck your given the right way. Matt seemed like the kind of bloke who enjoyed living on the edge but still liked to keep his cards close to him – meaning, giving up the central role of ship’s captain to an unknown such as Ryce was nearly unheard of and I suspected if the price hadn’t been met, this mission never would have launched.

Val was a wicked good engineer and his love of this ship reminded me of Geordi – even if this mission was wrinkling the forehead of Matt and giving him acid in his stomach for how maddeningly risky part of this expedition was going to become at the end zone, he had to credit Val with knowing how to get them there with a ship ready for the adventure ahead. The technology mentioned about how you could move through sub-space with a series of wormhole gates was definitely familiar but it is how Adler was using those gates and how the transitional moments yet ahead would be revealled were what interested me most. It would be interesting also to see how without the proper vetting (on Matt’s behalf) how much they could place trust in Ryce’s abilities to navigate the asteroid field and get this mission accomplished without unforeseen consequences.

This Space Opera is openly inclusive with a cast of characters who are LGBTQ+ in background and of whom are openly expressive in their choice of lifestyles. There is also a more dramatic turn of events in regards to the birth origins of Ryce right at the point where I exited the novel for this #25PagePreview – inasmuch as there was a nightmare being re-visited by another character (or it could’ve been him) as I wasn’t able to identify them before the conclusion of the twenty-fifth page. The story has the foundation of a traditonal Soft Space Opera adventure with a sociological lens on gender, sexuality and the complexitites of personal vs professional relationships. It also hints towards how a person’s past is not an indication of their self-worth nor of their future endeavours whilst threading through a narrative of intrigue in regards to whom they are taking this commission for as they find themselves inbound to salvage an alien relic from a far off solar system.

What draws you inside is how Adler is writing it and how she is setting the stage for the future chapters to be disclosed. You feel invested in their journey but also, in what they are hiding about themselves – bits of which are being found out as the journey moves forward towards the system they are en-route to transition to via the wormhole jump but also, how as they progress towards that destination how an ominous threat still lingers off-scene.

As an aside – a note on language: As most Science Fiction narratives I’ve read there are a few stronger words sprinkled into this story-line but for the most part it is freer than most of those inclusions and I am hoping it will maintain that trend. Still. I was intrigued once I realised I’m going to ride on the coattails of another covert savage mission on the fringes of sub-space! I guess I’m like those in the wild frontiers of the West – riding into the unknown and taking the adventure one starlight hour at a time?

Verdict!? Ooh goodness – I can’t read this one fast enough!

I am evermore wicked thankful I learnt of #ReviewPit as those stories this #WyrdAndWonder are shaping into my most beloved reads for a long, long while!

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Empire of Sand : (The Books of Ambha, Book One)

by Tasha Suri (@tashadrinkstea) | Site | Pub’d by ORBIT

→ released into print 15th November, 2018

→ SEQUEL “Realm of ASH” releasing 12th November, 2019!

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The opening sequence of Empire of Sand reminds me dearly of what I loved about A Mortal Song – especially in regards to the imagery of spirits and how those spirits can either be full of malice or innocence. It also speaks to the readathon of Asian stories I’ll be co-hosting with Ari (@SouffleLumiere) which we’ll be beginning in JUNE. I’m planning on disclosing more information about this event in either our 4th or final week of #WyrdAndWonder. Til then, what I liked the most about how this novel begins is on the precipice of being in a world surrounded by desert, sand and the mythologies of old. There is ancient and timelessness to how this begins and I was appreciating how vulnerable yet rebellious the characters were presenting themselves. The timid and shy Arwa and her courageous sister Mehr who did not bode well with preset rules of order.

Arwa is a young girl of nine but it felt like she was destined to act older than her young years – almost as if there was a weight of expectation on her shoulders, something her older sister Mehr knew all too well about herself. It is here, in the beginning where we find an innocent bird spirit alighting at the window of Arwa’s room – this is the cause of the girl’s distress and why her sister has been summoned against the logic of the maids and guardian in charge of the girl’s security. Mehr has a kind heart and acts accordingly to her conscience not in accordance to the rules – as she brokers no guilt in her actions even if others might bade it towards her feet.

Except there is a fine line between rebel and punishable offence – this is a line Mehr knew well but it is also a consolation of owning her own heritage; a heritage she shared with her sister, Arwa. It was difficult you could tell for her to look into her sister’s eyes and see the vacancy of ownership of their blood rite. Arwa was not being told about their ancestral line nor of what was in their blood – this was something even I felt would be difficult to dismiss and I could definitely see why Mehr boldly broke a vow to her step-mother and entertained Arwa’s questioning mind.

I recognised this part of the lore and legend inside Empire of Sand from what I briefly had read from A Mortal Song – how the children of the Gods of this land were intermixing their blood with humans and how the children were descended from the animal spirits known as daiva. It was a special ancestral line threading through their mothers’ line of origin. The daiva themselves were the children of the Gods – the ones who intermingled with the humans and of whom created the descending line of a magical blood order.

I love how this is set against the desert – not oft do I get to journey into a desert land and it is a setting I have enjoyed visiting in the past. There is an earthliness to the locale and a feeling of inherent history being interwoven into the narrative as soon as you begin reading it. I like the texture of this story but I also love how it was breathed to life. Where it has an equality of purpose against the fabric of its history – the characters feel as real as if they were living today and I like the forthright disclosures of their ruling classes. This isn’t a story that lingers long on suspense – you know the laws of this land quite immediately but you also can feel a lingering absence of respect for their ancient histories. They are growing disconnected from their origins – of their own rightful identities and what makes them individually unique. It is a story that can translate well to other cultural heritages and the disconnections descendants have with their immediate families.

The dance Mehr performed which was a mediation in motion moreso than a dance reminded me of the Four Corners in Tai Chi Chaun. Tai Chai by practice is a re-connection to the elemental rhythm of the cycles of Earth. From the rise of the moon and sun to how they set and the guiding cycles of how their presence affects our climatic patterns. There is more to Tai Chi than the movements themselves and the martial applications which are intended to become applied after those movements are mastered. The layers of Tai Chi are expansive as they are reverent and in observing Mehr in her dance I saw cross-applications of Tai Chi.

I was most intrigued by the concept of dreamfire and the artfulness of how this is laced into the storms which are approaching from the desert. It is almost like this particular empire was trying to self-extract itself from the traditions it is surrounding – going so far as to denounce a natural birthright and self-regulating order of the cycles of the lives descending from the daiva’s themselves. I was truly swept away into the story to where I wasn’t readily taking as many notes about my ruminating thoughts – I’ll have to save those for when I write my forthcoming review – honestly, it is such an evoking plot you just hunger to turn each new page and see what is going to unfold next!

Except to say, when it comes to step-Mums and the ways in which they twist their power of their step-daughters, this Maryam has every inch of control over Arwa and Mehr as as Angelica Houston’s character in Ever After; including the same amount of spite and hatred. Oy!

This is a world where magic breathed itself into my imagination and where the world-building visuals swept me away into its folds. I cannot wait to return!

Verdict!? I am already in LOVE with this — putting it down was difficult!

I can understand why Imyril was soul-connected to this story… there is something beautiful about how it expands and unfolds,.. I will be returning back into it as soon as I can for I can’t forsake losing hours outside of it,…

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You’ll find it curious, I think how I haven’t previously disclosed finding a hat trick of stories I am eagerly ready to *devour!* Generally speaking, whenever I post a #25PagePreview – there are stories I am feeling attached inside and there are stories which wick me outside their pages before I can even have the chance to greet them properly. I am an intuitive reader – I just know within a very short expanse of time spent in a novel if I like it, abhor it or find it a reasonable risk to continue reading. I found a professional journalist how reviews books for a living recently who spoke the same as I had about this – he even capped his readings at the twenty-fifth page but ruminated how he knows closer to the first five or less if he wants to continue with a story – I only wish I had remembered where the article was I had read. Still. To find another who shares my passion for stories and has the same quirky intuitive nod of knowing which stories will attach and which will not was a soul lift!

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The fantastical stories i am itching to read next:

  • The Choosing (The Forest People) via audiobook, Book Two
  • The Fighter of Aldea
  • The Dream Keeper’s Daughter
  • A Turn of Light
  • To Court A Queen
  • A Nest of Vipers via audiobook, Book Two of a series

I’ll be releasing my reviews of “Anni Moon” & “Life on the Lion” next as those were the ones which were meant to go live this week. However, I also held back my first Top Ten Wyrd And Wonder Tuesday and my Discussion post for #dragonfiction. That wreck of a migraine was difficult at best to get anything accomplished but I want to back-date those to the days they were meant to go live in order to keep my journalled journey in step with my plans this month.

Starting this 3rd week, I’ll be blogging and reading in tandem with where my thoughts & readings merge together rather than having to make up lost time due to an affliction.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

which #newtomeauthors are you borrowing for #wyrdandwonder?

If your not borrowing books via your local library this year, which new authors and/or new publishers have you purchased – which types of Fantasy stories are you exploring and which ones are the ones you’ve become most curious to be #amreading during the event?

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I welcome all comments & conversations on Jorie Loves A Story – however, today specifically, I am most curious to know which sub-themes & sub-genres interest YOU to be #amreading within the fantastical realms of FANTASY Lit? Who are your favourite publishers of #SpecLit and who are the writers in your #TopTenList of favourites to recommend!?

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This was a special edition of #WeekendReads to run concurrent with my current wanderings within my #WyrdAndWonder TBR! I have seen this tag (#WeekendReads) on Twitter for the past six years and oft-times have participated in it to talk about which stories I’m reading over the weekend and have exchanged it with the other tag #FridayReads. I am uncertain if there is a blogosphere component and/or host(ess). If anyone knows of one, kindly let me know and I’ll give proper attribution. Otherwise, it is simply a tag I’ve noticed over the years I wanted to use to articulate what I am reading next for #WyrdAndWonder whilst knowing I was delayed a bit from sharing this on a pre-scheduled #WWWeds post due to my last migraine.

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This is one of my discussion & updates posts via:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

{SOURCES: Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Wyrd And Wonder banners created by Imyril. Image Credits as disclosed from 123RF.com. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: All Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva and the Comment Box Banner.}

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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)

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Posted Saturday, 11 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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4 responses to “#WeekendReads | during #WyrdAndWonder | celebrating my #25PagePreview of 3x #newtomeauthors of #Fantasy including a random selection I had amnesia over selecting at my library!

    • Hallo, Hallo Rebecca,

      I had to give up ship trying to read both of these novels in May for #WyrdAndWonder; PRIORY simply because the girth of the novel was too much for me to get through with 5x migraines wrecking my focus – I couldn’t even get through *A Turn of Light* which I was so eager to read because of how my head just couldn’t process that kind of breadth of Fantasy. Migraines are a beast! :( I’m hoping to read *Empire of Sand* this July and ATOL this June/July. Now that my head is back to normal! lol I hope you’ve had the chance to see my review for ADRIFT and that you found it to be a good fit for you. Thanks for stopping by and giving me such lovely feedback! Happy reading and discovering!

      There are a few more reviews coming up to conclude my Wyrd And Wonder showcases – I was delayed celebrating them but am still going to be promoting them. I’ve released a few more since you’ve dropped by as well. You’ll find the links on the main page for the event!

  1. Great post!
    I am the reader who is currently listening to the 26 hours of The Priory of the Orange Tree (we didn’t talk on twitter but rather in the comment section of my TBR post). I am nearly halfway through and it is REALLY good (also maybe a bit too long) and I hope you’ll also enjoy it. The characters really come alive (once I could keep at least the more important once straight in my head) and I’m loving the worldbuilding a whole lot.

    • Ooh dear me! :( You’re right, of course! Leave it to that migraine of mine to confuse me as to where our paths had crossed talking about this novel! :O I appreciate your visit and your comment to help me remember you! I really did try to track down that convo we had and for whichever reason, thinking of a blog post hadn’t crossed my mind! :(

      I wonder if this is avail via Scribd? I might seek out the audiobook to see how it sounds but I am appreciating reading it in print… I get to take my time with it and so far, so good!

      This note of yours on the story itself is very encouraging to me – how did you find the dragons in the novel? Was I right? There are good and bad ones or are they bent towards one side or the other?

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