#TopTenTuesday XII | Top 16x Books with Single-Word Titles I’ve read as a Book Blogger

Posted Tuesday, 3 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

[Topic of the Day: Books With Single-Word Titles
(submitted by Kitty from Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner) ]

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Why I nearly didn’t write-up a post for today’s topic:

I’ve noticed over the years (as a reader) and as a book blogger, I have the tendency of reading stories which have either a phrase within their book titles and/or are titles which evolve through the theme of their genre, world or other cognitive connection to the stories or series I am reading. It is rare (by memory) for me to be able to bring back to mind the stories which were singled out which featured a *single-word title* – which is why in order to participate I decided to look through my Story Vault and was quite surprised by the results I found within!

The *biggest!* shocker?! I’ve read FAR MORE single-titled stories than I first realised!

I’ll be discussing how my memory aligns with the stories vs their titles and how rather uniquely why I’m highlighting 16x stories with a bonus selection where I will journal out the rest of the single-titled entries which have evolved into my reading life these past seven years  (*as hallo, hallo Jorie Loves A Story’s 7th Blogoversary is the 31st!)

And, to think I wasn’t going to write this post for #TopTenTuesday because I thought as a reader I couldn’t relate to the topic! lol It is definitely an excercise in how we align our memories, how stories speak to us in different ways than linear recognition & how chasing through our book blog archives becomes a bit of a hoot for the reader whose breathed in such a lifetime of lives through the unexpected passageways the books brought into her bookish & readerly life!

When you set about writing this week’s topic – did you struggle to remember if the stories you had read had single word titles OR do you regularly gravitate towards them and they’ve become old hat? I’d love to know how other readers & book bloggers felt about the topic and if they found it a challenging one (like me) or an insta-fit?

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I was quite surprised most of the stories on this List were beloved reads of mine – but I’ve remembered them by the world they were set (if they were series) or by their characters or something else which stood out in my memories far longer than the length of their titles! I think I just had a mental disconnect when I originally saw the topic today! lol

*NOTE: all of these stories were sent to me in exchange for honest reviews with a few exceptions such as “Pride” and “Wonder” which I borrowed through my local library.

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It will shock NO ONE who follows my bookish life (via my blog OR my twitterverse feeds) my top choice to feature today for single-word titles is none other than my *beloved!* #LelandDragons series! Especially considering recently I submitted this series to have a s/o featured on *Spells & Spaceships* wherein you’ll happily spy a quotation of mine lamenting my fierce love, admiration & passionate connection to this series and the world within it.

I hadn’t put to mind this series as applying to the topic today because for me this is a world I’ve attached my memories to via the series name as “Leland Dragons” (full retrospective on why I heart it can be found here) It isn’t a singular character (human or dragon) nor a particular part of the settings within this world (though the Murken Forest holds a rather strong appeal!) which resonated with me to the brink where I still evermore ache to have closeure for my dearly loved Murkens (as its a trilogy which ends on a cliffhanger). It was one of the first #dragonfiction series where I could honestly attach myself into the concept of the world, the continuity of the Quest and this incredibly insightful approach to dragon societies.

It wasn’t all good vs bad either – there are gray lines in this series and there are layers of interest towards what motivates a person’s actions over their conscience, too. There are shifters (ie. the Murkens!), dragons and humans alike – in a world set into a bit of chaos through a power shift and this uniquely told predestined storyline which truly grips your heart as you’re reading it. In essence, as a #FantasyNerd it was fuelling *everything!* I love about Epic Fantasy with the addition of giving me #dragons I can rally behind, feel a strong connection too and find myself wicked intrigued by how this world *needs!* to resolve its angst.

Definitely *should!* have thought of this as a single-titled series of loveliness but I think because I’ve been contemplating Leland Dragons, chatting & tweeting about it, blogging after thoughts, notations and cross-comparing this series to other #dragonfiction over the past *seven!* years – somewhere along the lines of my memory it became a more organically interlaced memory than one strictly limited or recognised by title alone.

I had to give up ship years ago for a collection of novellas or shorts featuring my dear Murkens or even the much coveted hoped for and dreamt of conclusion of a fourth installment which I felt this series deserved *but!* I’ll always have it as my go-to reference for what I find wicked enthralling about dragons in fiction! Since the time I read the novels in print this series has moved into *audiobooks!* I haven’t had the chance to acquire them OR sample them, but one of these Winters when the fireside is bright and warm, the tea is brewed and there is SNOW – I shall be revisiting this series – either by audio (if I feel I can relate to the narrator’s spin on how its presented) or through my original print copies – there is more to be seen, felt and understood about this world and that is why its my top choice to answer today’s topic.

Uniquely it is also the series which has INSPIRED my month-long focus on #dragonfiction this coming #WyrdAndWonder! You can read the announcement post my co-host (Imyril) shared recently whilst Jorie herself is in the proces of composing her own this week! (Lisa) & Jorie are taking a bit more time to compose their thoughts about this year’s event whilst Imyril started to steer our followers into prepping for their own Wyrd and Wonder adventure!

→ Sidenote: originally featured October, 2013 (Book One); March, 2014 (Book Two) & (Book Three); with a unique retrospective of a book blogger who loves #LelandDragons in September, 2014.

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Decorum by Kaaren Christopherson

Reading “Decorum” was a pleasure of joy – although this became one of my shorter reviews I’ve featured on Jorie Loves A Story, it was one of my top favourites reads for [2015]. The best way to explain what was captivating my attention by the breadth of the author’s vision of this novel is to share a short extract from my review:

Christopherson envelopes us in the beautiful background of this century, she gives us a firm observational viewing of ordinary life amongst both the lower and upper classes whilst rounding out the flavour of the era by her use of dialogue. This is the kind of historicals I eagerly await each year to discover, for they are whisper quiet in their building climax of drama and they are delish in devouring due to the nature of how the story unfolds. You do not want to rush through a reading of a book like this one because part of what whets your appetite for it’s contents is pausing on the words and seeing how everything becomes tangible. What is not to love? It is reminiscent of classical literature where a slow brewing of events and a long narrative of scope is happily entreated inside. By the strokes she gives painting her story into my imagination, she dearly reminds me of the observational technique of Jane Austen’s Regency.

I remember being enchanted by the prose, the ways in which she tucked us into her vision of the story and how it flowed out into sophiscated narrative alighting us straight into the heart of her imagined world for Decorum. I read a heap of Historical Fiction every year – it is a place I love to reside and traverse as there are so many uniquely different timescapes in which we can explore as readers per each new writer who has a vision of how to present them to us.

However, even though I love most of the stories I read in this genre – there are a handful of writers who percolate to the top of my memory for giving me the *experience!* I was seeking most – of having giving me the ‘lived in this era’ feeling, washing me over with their words and truly allowing me to connect to this world they’ve birthed to life without me even considering the hours on the clock.

In essence, I transition straight into their novel in such a way of conviction I am forevermore blessed for having taken the journey. This is one of those novels and I was beyond grateful to have hosted the author’s blog tour as the tour itself allowed me to discover her authorly style!

I beileve what was so evocative about this story in my memory was how it was told (ie. words, phrases, narrative prose) I simply hadn’t aligned my memories of it with the title. I happen to be a visual learner, too, which means a LOT of my memories attached to stories are via their cover art. This is an interesting bit of trivia to disclose as I never read a book *because!* of the cover art (as I have to feel moved to read it via the synopsis) but after I’ve read it, loved it and were thankful for the experience of it – then, my mind aligns the memory to be anchoured visually to the artwork on the cover as way to re-step into the experience whilst still remembering pieces of what was read. Thus for me, I remember this woman on the cover,.. moreso than the title! Isn’t that a fun bookish quirk!?

→ Sidenote: originally featured October, 2015

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Rimrider by L.A. Kelley

When it comes to Space Opera I’m the reader whose game for just about *anything!* – as I fell in love with the genre as a young girl who inherited her love of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek & George Lucas’s Star Wars (and yes, I mention who created them for a reason; I’ve been actively boycotting* those who follow suit after them). I spent a few years circumventing the time continum and the outer reaches of space as a Spacer anchoured inside The Clan Chronicles whilst I curiously became keenly curious about a story set on the ‘rims’ called Rimrider in Autumn, 2017.

Honestly – the narrator nailed the characters and the theatrical mannerisms which make this audiobook ‘SING’ to the reader – meaning, you can easily forsake whatever else you intended to do and simply ‘listen’ to this Space Opera! The humour is bang-on brilliant, the setting is intoxicating because you dearly want to know ‘more’ rather than ‘less’ and if this first installment is the gateway into the series at large – your going to want to consume the next books in sequence! I truly loved this audiobook – it was wonderfully produced, but it’s more than that — my sci-fi geeky heart was overjoyed getting caught inside a world which simply gripped me from the first moment I heard ‘Jane’ come through my headphones!

I truly loved the humourous takes on Spacer life through the pen of Ms Kelley – mostly because, I never had the chance to watch Firefly starring Nathan Fillon; despite wanting to see it! I really ought to resolve if I can borrow this series through my library (via ILL). I knew from the jump-start this was going to be a fast moving story, as soon as Jane’s voice filled my earphones – the was something happily different about this Space Opera. It was written from the perspective of teens – wherein this would fit well with Young Adult SF, but it’s more layered than your typical teen angst novel set in Space. No, it’s more about the curious way how if you have the fortitude to change your own destiny, you can do incredible things!

The only downside of listening to RIMRIDER is knowing the full series is not yet available to be heard in audiobook. I need to chase after this to see if the same narrator was kept and if the next installments will release. I realise not all series remain in audio due to low sales or lack of readerly interest – this was one audiobook I was amazed wasn’t gaining traction because similar to the Wonky Witch I thought for sure this would be madly *loved!* by all readers who discovered it!

I get truly attached to narrators – finding out the Tara Thorpe series was suspended from new audio releases after the first two released was hard enough; I am unsure why publishers don’t realise the connections we make to the narrators or why once they have a narrator who honours the character(s) and vision of the author, they won’t allow them to finish the series. In RIMRIDER’s case, this is an Indie release and that is tied to the budget of the author which I fully respect and understand as I’m an Indie kind of writer myself.

There is something wicked magical about how we can become so dearly hugged inside a Spacer lifestyle, to emerge into their life as if we were living it ourselves and having never spent any hours in Deep Space. This is the beauty of Hard Sci Fi and why I love finding writers who know how to write the stories I want to devour as a Sci Fi Geek passionately in love with Space.

I believe because I consider this to be a series about the Rims (those outer mining communities in Deep Space) I vacillate remembering the title as it is were vs knowing about the Rims themselves – which is what inspired me to read Jennifer Silverwood’s novellas series Heavens Edge! (can’t wait to dive back into it now that my health is resolving!) I have been attempting to nudge myself to remember to fetch Outlaw Jane (the sequel!) for such a long while now, I have the tendency of thinking of *that title!* before I remember Rimrider, too! Plus, the first title is also the title of the series, so, there’s that to add to my muddlement of how I remember the book and/or the series!

→ Sidenote: originally featured November, 2017

(*) see recent #BookishNotBookish note about ST: Picard & ST: Enterprise; of the two only one remains a favourite which I cannot stop streaming and wish there were MORE seasons!

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TImekeeper by Tara Sim

One of my favourite moments as a book blogger has been finding wicked incredible Indie Authors – throughout this #TopTenTuesday post you’ll be noticing this to be the case – however, when it came to finding the inventive LGBTQ+ narrative within “Timekeeper” I truly felt wicked blessed for being selected to be on the audiobook blog tour! This developed into a trilogy and I still intend to re-listen to Timekeeper before moving into the second and third installments.

Sim slowly let’s out the back-story of what affects Danny’s mindset and emotional well-being regarding his innate fear of clocks and the methodology in healing them. He was once a riser of the ranks amongst all clock mechanics; an ingenue of sorts, of whom others’ could only hope to come close in both knowledge and skill. Until of course, his past caught up with him and his inability to find a way to move past the assault of memories which start to cloud his present with added strife whilst he’s on the job. It is only when he starts to realise the larger scheme of things that he tries to take heart against this blockage of fear: he hasn’t lost his position amongst his peers but he’s in danger of losing the confidence of the man who places him assignments.

What held my interest is how anything out of the ordinary happening to the clock towers – such as misplaced gears, parts or even the pieces of the clock on it’s face – would off-set the natural order of life within the tower’s reach. This was interesting because ‘time’ was running normally elsewhere but wherever a tower had fallen to needing repair, that is where the people had the most trouble living through their regular routines. Everything was ‘off’ for them; including how to pace their actions and how to live through hours which were not equally being kept in ‘time’ nor ‘sequence’.

This is such an emotional story to listen too, as Sim has interwoven such a soul-centred narrative where you truly feel the emotions of her characters. The oppressive weight bearing down on Danny is not just realistic but heavily felt as you tune into the angst of what he is faced to choose between: the clocks, his father or Colton. He’s caught in an impossible situation – does he own his heart’s truth or does he sacrifice his heart and the love he feels for Colton to save everyone else? And, what is of the truth behind the attacks on the clock towers? Who would have the best advantage if the clocks froze or ceased to clock time at all? This is what your thinking about as your listening whilst trying to piece everything together as Danny tries to determine what he should do. Sim gives you so much to think about – the past adversities affecting Danny, the impossible situation of the present involving Colton and the curious unknown of the future which seems to sit directly on Danny’s path – where his actions would determine everything.

I found Timekeeper such an emotional convicting read – the ways in which you can feel the *emotions!* of this story permeating through the narrator’s voice and performance added a heightened sense of what was happening to Sim’s characters and their world. It was one of those entries in Clockpunk and Speculative Fiction I was wicked thankful to *experience!* because of how ‘otherworldly’ this story was written and created.

I know I’ll eventually collect the rest of the trilogy on audio but today I wanted to re-highlight the depth of this story and how it gave you such a hardcore insight into Sim’s characters as much as how their world is affected by things you truly have to be keenly observant to understand because this world of clocks isn’t quite as it seems.

This is definitely one I ought to have brought forward to mind rather instantly after seeing the topic – mostly as it was both a title and a series that I was wholly enchanted by and had actively sought out fellow readers who loved it as much as I had. The results of that search were a bit hit/miss – some loved it, others said it fell short and most read the whole trilogy long before I was able to myself. A bit of a quirk really why I misplaced the memory of this being a single-title novel!

→ Sidenote: originally featured April, 2017

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Moonflower by E.D.C. Johnson

I’m developing a series of posts to reflect, revisit and check-in on the authors I’ve previously read as a book blogger. At the very top of my list is EDC Johnson who gave me Moonflower – one of the first YA Fantasy novels which involved a shifter character who similar to Bannon in #LelandDragons gave me a character to rally behind! I’ve lost track of where we are in the release schedule for this trilogy – at the time I read the novel, I was truly mesmorised by how Johnson handled telling the tale – how immersive she became in convincing you this world was not just tangible and real but it had such a heap of heart inside it too!

A world and a time out of step with Josie’s modern age, delighted my eyes as I absorbed myself into this Victorian a la Edwardian time shift where the propriety of servants on staff and the lordship regalia of the age came fully into view! Here in a land as enchanting as a few centuries inside our own historical past, lies a realm where lords and ladies live within a caste system of hierarchy. The area of which Lucius’s father oversees is quite vast, and with any person who has a certain level of power, there are certain dangers therein. Lucius is not the only sibling in his family, as his brother Donovan makes an equally strong impression upon Josie whilst she is visiting them.

The beautiful words and eloquence of their world brought to life by a writer who knows how to gain traction of their vision into the heart of a reader, lifted the story of Moonflower into a niche of beloved reads. The insightful way of conveying a layer of depth out of the title of the story and using poetry to garnish a hidden secret of the transcending power of love was a beauty of it’s own to have found. Lucius, Donovan, and Josie exist in a place that is not too far off from our own timescape, dealing with the issues our own world has the tendency to face and are grounded in the belief that everything that you pursue in your life with passion will be rewarded through dedicated hard work. The experiences Josie has in Terravipol strengthen her awareness of how the lessons of living are meant to endeavour her growth as much as bolster her sensibility to adapt.

I had fully intended to keep aprised of the series progress but there were so much happening *behind!* #JLASblog in the early years of its growth I can honestly say I lost track of quite a number of authors, series and writerly careers. This New Year of 2020 I’m mindfully aware of that gap in my knowledge of where the series and authors were left off in my readerly life and I want to not just make amends for those gaps in knowing what has ‘come next’ but to realign myself with the writers like Johnson who wrote such wicked good stories to give me a BIG boost of joy to be read!

I have tried in the years since to root out more Fantasy series like Moonflower which are genre-bent narratives – especially if they involve shifters or are time shifting between different areas of their world. It is not been an easy discovery for me and I am hoping eventually I’ll have more series I’ll have found which tuck me into a series which gave me the kind of experience which blessed me with this novel as they are such hearty delights to find!

In retrospect, this is another title which is also the name of the series – when authors do this I oft find myself remembering one over the other – meaning, I might have better luck realising this is the first installment of the Moonflower trilogy than I would knowing Moonflower itself befits the topic for today’s discussion! This is another story truly anchoured to the cover art after I read it – I found the wolf on the cover awe-inspiring as I love artwork which is defining its own style and takes eloquence of how art can be created up a notch from what we generally see for illustrative book covers.

Being an appreciator Quantum Physics and Mechanics as well as spatial Cosmology and fractal art – this cover just spoke to me on a very personal level. I have loved wolves for a lifetime and I know that played an equal part of why this cover is the first thing I recollect when I ponder about the story within its pages.

→ Sidenote: originally featured October, 2014

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Inscription by H.H. Miller

At the time I read Inscription, I had the feeling not too many of the readers on the blog tour felt as captivated by the story Miller was presenting to us as I had been myself. In fact, shortly after the blog tour and a few years afterwards, I attempted to contact the author – to follow-up with the series this story began and to see what she was writing in the years since it was released. All my attempts were futile as I found the author had disappeared from her online spaces and I had a feeling she was publishing under a pen name – ergo, the search ended up a lost cause. I still hold out hope one day she might reappear but I’m as uncertain of that reality as I am of a fourth #LelandDragons novel!

Inscription is told in three parts, much like a play on the stage. For all the entrances and exits, you find yourself so emerged into the story you struggle to re-adjust your eyes to the reality around you. It is a story enriched by courage, faith, love, and the determined grit to overcome all odds which become stacked against you. It is not for the faint of heart in some passages, as it does ruminate about the floggings (lashings by a cat-o-nine-tails) and the grisly vigilante murder by a lawman consumed by madness; but at the core of Inscription is the plight of one woman (Caris) and one bloke (Tom) finding their true destiny. And, that dear hearts is far worth the anguish of a few passages of turmoil! I devoured this text in one sitting as I could not bear to wait to know the outcome!

Ms. Miller’s writing style reminds me distinctively of Jane Austen & Charlotte Bronté as she takes the best of what I love of both women’s style of the craft. She has picked up on the subtle grace of Austen’s observational narrative and of the beguiling atmosphere of Bronte. She has writ such an alarmingly brilliant drama that each page turn meant digging deeper into the suspense of the Granville family! In this, the joy of reading Inscription truly lay as it was within the layered threads of the Granville tapestry which beheld the best bits of intrigue!

I think the most depressing part of being a book blogger is realising an author you truly *loved!* reading has simply removed themselves from book world. I understand on the level that if she had trouble getting traction with her readership there might not have been a second option but when I contemplate the loss to those of us who loved her stories – who felt as rooted to her style and narrative as she did writing them, that’s the sorrow we all share together.

The key reason I have ‘let go’ of my memory for Inscription is because of how depressing it was for me to realise the author stopped writing stories. Even if this series could not be continued, I had been hopeful there would be other releases; more stories yet to be told and read – rather than the reality of a lost opportunity read her collective works left unwritten. Definitely why this one slipped past me for today’s topic and why I smiled wickedly having seen it in my Story Vault! It felt good to re-highlight the positive reasons why I loved it and perhaps help others feel compelled to seek it out – though I’m unsure if its still readily available or has gone off to the lands of out-of-print book searches.

→ Sidenote: originally featured April 2014

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Avelynn by Marissa Campbell

Even though I am a lover of #HistRom, the Vikings were a group of people I hadn’t thought to seek out until I had an opportunity to read Avelynn. This was such a keenly curious novel to read – the layers of how Campbell evoked such a firm grip on not just the setting but the timescape of when Avelynn lived is what was wicked interesting about reading her story! This keen interest I had in the novel led me to follow the author’s career a bit more closely than others – leading me to a contest and being the receiver of the grand prize (which to this day still leaves me humbled in the joyfulness of what was sent by #bookpost!). With everything that has happened since the sequel released I haven’t had the proper chance to re-read Avelynn before reading Avelynn: Edge of Faith.

Avelynn and Alrik are a bit of a Medieval example of the meet-cute where circumstances unbeknownst to themselves are giving them an opportunity to meet the one person neither would suspect could be a good match in matrimony. Avelynn (the novel) is very much a coming-of age story about a young girl whose entering her womanhood at the tender age of seventeen (by our contemporary standards) but with the moxie of a woman a decade older than her years.

She’s finding herself awakening to new feelings and the allurement of finding an equal of whom she might be willing to trust given the manner in which he behaves around her. She’s only known the brutal strong handed mannerisms of her Saxon peers when it comes to relationships between man and wife; despite her loving example of her parents. It’s a truth she’s not willing to compromise and I think when she met Alrik it was as if the light she was seeking to find lit started to flicker. A small inch of an encouraging hope that she might not be as crazy in the head as her peers believe her to be – where seeking true love and true compassion in a mate was possible.

Campbell makes the year 869 feel tangible and realistic to your senses, straight down to the word usage and the manner in which she chooses to express the world she’s built for her story to entertain our imaginations. She gives a strong nod towards clarifying research and story driven narrative rooted in the tangible lens where research can guide a reader forward through the grace of seeing what might have been visible in the 9th Century.

The fact that she took key people who lived and placed them inside Avelynn was a blessing to me, as I hadn’t heard of the fate surrounding Judith of Flanders until I picked up this novel! I was sympathetic to her plight because ever since I first learnt of the regularity of arranged marriages are within the court; it was quite easy to find a way to rally those who found a loophole to get around those contracts and set their stars on a course that was right for them rather than what was expected and required.

This is the first story I did remember had a one word title (along with the anthologies which follow suit) as the series of Avelynn is as imperatively anchoured to the title lead character as the year in which Avelynn lives. You get to re-draw your impressions about the Saxons and the Vikings alike. In fact, Avelynn was part of the tipping stone of interest which has led me into the mythological re-tellings of Camelot because her story and theirs are of common interest to a girl whose own ancestral past interlinks with the elements of time and story within them both.

I keep wanting to read this series in either the Autumnal or Wintry months and I am hoping this New Year 2020 is the year I can finally resettle into a series which truly had me @ hallo as they say!

→ Sidenote: originally featured October, 2015

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FAE edited by Rhonda ParrishCORVIDAE anthology edited by Rhonda ParrishScarecrow Anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish

I immediately knew these belonged on a #TopTenTuesday topic for single-word titles!

Each of these was a gift of joy for a reader who loves Speculative Fiction, Cosy Horror and the discerning boundaries where you can take genre and re-define how it is writ! The anthologist Parrish takes you on such a wickedly intriguing journey into how short stories by various writers can not only wick you off to fantastical realms but how those realms can hug inside your soul, speak to your heart and enrich your memories for having experienced them.

There are a few more of these I need to gather myself – as due to different circumstances and my health afflictions I lost touch with the publisher and wasn’t able to request SIRENS or EQUUS which are the ones which followed after SCARECROW.

You’ll have to visit each of the links for my reviews in order to properly understand why these anthologies are tucked amongst my favourite Speculative Shorts in recent years and how I hope the writers of these shorts I’ve loved reading might either expound on their stories herein or write a longer story via a novel or book series.

This is also why I advocate my love for World Weaver Press as much as I do because of how they’ve curated their anthologies and have given readers a gateway into Indie Speculative Fiction authors and the stories which truly mesmorise our imaginations!

→ Sidenote: originally featured August, 2015 (FAE);
November, 2015 (Corvidae) & October, 2016 (Scarecrow)

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Bearskin by Jamie Robyn Wood

I admit it, I regularly forget about BEARSKIN! I think because at the time of reading this lovely Dark Fantasy I was a bit surprised with myself – for finding my entry into this darker world and why I felt as attached to it as I had when I was reading it! I’m generally quite averse to entering into darker toned storylines (Fantasy or otherwise) but this author took me by surprise – granted me entrance into a darker world but kept the light illuminated to where I could enjoy my stay!

It’s with a very cunningly realistic hand on fantasy and human-centric emotional drama, Wood anchours us into this defying moment of Moiria’s life whilst enveloping us in what I would presume is the darker underside of a Grimm fairy-tale. Darkening ever so midnight with a faint flickering of knowledge not everyone privy to the unfolding events is a willing accomplice. I do not normally find myself attracted to darker undertones but it’s the manner in which this one is being revealed which left me aching for more because it’s the style of Wood’s narrative that etches into your mind to encourage more of the novel to be devoured. Definitely a complex building arc of light vs dark and good vs evil – a percolating drama by half!

Built on the foundations of Psychological Suspense (moreso than I would have first perceived!), Bearskin is driven by anguish and the angst of dealing with a mother whose entire life was prioritised by what she could manipulate out of it. Moiria took it upon her tender shoulders to emerge out of her beloved shadows into the forefront of a battle against her mother and the evolving despair of her brothers (the brothers are half-brothers, wherein she shares hereditary with one of them). She sought to take a stand against the evil she grew up alongside and to take a more vocal part in effecting change rather than withdrawing out of the reality she was living. However, what Moiria hadn’t reckoned is how for each action there is an effect on the opposite end of an obstacle that might off-set the justice of your reasoning. In this, Wood sets the stage for Moiria and her brothers to embark on a journey towards redemption out of the tidalwave of dark magic.

Wood has an eloquence of clarity threaded between her entrance into Bearskin and how she paints the larger scope of where all her characters start to intersect with each other. I was fully swept inside the legacy of the ‘bear’s skin’ and how this ‘bearskin’ acts as a transmogrification key of exchange for one of the characters; I’d rather not spoilt the surprise in finding out whose meant to take-on this metamorphosis but instead hint towards how this external change has internal ramifications!

I remember after reading this story I wanted MORE – more of this kind of Dark Fantasy and more from this author’s pen in particular! I was captured by how she created the world behind the story, how that world had elements within it which gave you a harder think about the whole evolution of the character’s journey within it and how by reading it you grew in your fantastical appreciation for how much depth can become evoked out of a wickedly brilliant Fantasy novel such as BEARSKIN!

→ Sidenote: originally featured September, 2015

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I haven’t progressed too far afield into PRIDE – it was a story I requested via my local library and a purchase they accepted. Since then, I found it is available as an audiobook as well however, part of me wants to re-borrow the print copy and finish where I left off within its pages! I only had the chance to share a #25PagePreview of reading this during my first adventure with the #ThanksgivingReadathon hosted by a fellow book blogger – as for whichever reason, the book has been hard to get back from the library at a time sequence which works for me! It is lovingly being read (always good!) but whenever I am ready to read it, someone has it and when the timing is bad for me, the hold comes in! lol

In the past two years, I’ve heard differing opinions about this story and how it was told – since I’m still in the earliest of stages of meeting the characters and am still wholly thrilled to be meeting them, I’ll have to save further comments until I honestly can get a copy back into my reading life! The book photo I am resharing is of the interior cover art which was so wicked awesomesauce I couldn’t help but share it once again!

It was definitely an insta-read for me – Pride and Prejudice is still my most beloved read by Jane Austen and I love travelling inside after canon sequels and retellings therein. I am hoping my initial reactions to PRIDE hold as I finish the story,.. as it has such a strong opening sequence!!

→ Sidenote: originally shared this via #ThanksgivingReadathon, 2018

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Repentance by Andrew Lam

I’ve been re-directing my interest into war dramas for the past years since I first read CITADEL due to how much that novel not only gutted me emotionally but it quite literally crushed my soul (in half). I knew after reading it I had to take a firm step back from the kind of war dramas I used to read and re-shift my focus onto the ones which are more driven by a story set round the war or of a life affected by the war. Its a unique balance as a reader to know which of the stories we can continue to enjoy reading and which stories we need to ‘let go’ of for whichever reason applies to us personally.

This novel I felt was halfway between the war dramas I’ve stopped reading and a beautiful glimpse into the new ones I am gravitating towards reading now. It still had some of the grit you’d expect from a realistic war drama but it was more of an evolution of one man’s journey through memory and the repentance which comes from making peace with the past.

Lam has a critical eye for medical drama and emergency medical depictions – it brought me back to why I loved watching ER and M*A*S*H even though I’ve seen more medical dramas than most and each of them in turn brought something new for me to enjoy about how close we were knitted inside the medical staff’s personal and professional lives. The accuracy of his pacing and the delivery of the necessary visuals was bang-on brilliant and what I liked most is the realism he gave it as some authors try but cannot always grab a hold of what Lam can give – a benefit of course due to his own professional background in the medical field. He has a true gift for medical narrative and I was thankful I had a chance to experience it.

What I loved most about reading Repentance is how it was fully fleshed out – from the narrative to the dialogue to the back-stories – Lam has a particular eye for evoking emotional depth out of his Historical Fiction giving you as a reader a keen understanding of the subject he’s chosen to explore. He makes you feel rooted inside the setting, the texture of his characters lives but more to the point, he has ample space to let his characters breathe – letting their journey overtake your imagination and to become fused with their path as you read his novel. It is a special treat to find this kind of writer as it makes reading their stories wicked wonderful.

Although, I felt the story muddled a bit in the portions related to the war as I appreciated the present day sequences more – I would say, Lam could shift directly into writing familial relationship dramas or even lighter Historicals where the empathsis is not just locked on the war era itself but rather is slightly anchoured there but is more critically looking at the after effects of that era through the lens of his modern characters. He has a tap on the relationship drama between couples and how they try to make the transitions in their marriage not deconstruct the love they once had when they first married. His connection to those moments in his characters’ lives is quite brilliant and his emotional centering and the breadth he gives to his characters in that section of the novel is as riveting as any Women’s Fiction novel I’ve read.

I also felt this definitely had to be on my list today because of how acutely engaging it was to read and how the style in which it was written immediately draws you into the context of the story. It is definitely an emotional read for the Historical reader who likes to take evocative journeys into the past, settle into a person’s life with unresolved emotional baggage and emerge out of the experience better for taking the journey.

→ Sidenote: originally featured May, 2019

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Riding by Cassia Cassitas

Every so often I would have the chance to read a story which is not just culturally diverse from my own experience but it is set to a different layer of how stories can be told. I love finding these rebels of Fiction – the writers who are creating their own niches of fictional realms and are helping readers like me who are attracted to unique layers of the craft can find ourselves smitten by this new sense of freedom of how writers are not just breaking into new territories of fiction but they are redefining how we process the stories we’re reading.

This was another entry I knew had to be inclusive of the list because of how I have felt it is a bit under mentioned in the years since I read it. Even at the time, I didn’t get the vibe too many readers were taken with it as much as I had been myself and I wanted to re-highlight why I loved it as much as I had when I originally read it.

The opening pages of Riding are writ quite differently than most books I have picked up to read, on the level, it felt part memoir and part cathartic release of emotional unrest in the passages contained within ‘Shards’. It felt a bit disconnected to me from the Prologue which was setting up a story about a young boy named Andre whose curiosity was keeping his Mum on her toes. Poetic and yet startling surreal, the section about ‘Shards’ has an intensity all of it’s own. It alluded to the fact the story within Riding might be an experiment in expressing an internal confliction towards surviving through the difficulties life affords us all against the counter-balance of our emotional turmoils. That the truer story is hidden within the pages of the novel, if a reader were to look deeper than the surface of where the characters reside. For me this is an interesting way to begin a story, and Cassitas left me curious to discover what would come after such an auspicious opening!

Riding has multiple layers threaded throughout the context of the story, at one point, Elizabeth begins to share her journey and her son’s through a personal blog bent towards inspiring others to share their stories with her. It’s an insightful novel about how we greet the obstacles we face in life and how we self-determine how those obstacles will effect us in return. If we choose to overcome the odds, carrying forward our hopes and dreams despite the uncertainty of what might have come along our path, we are the ones who have been strengthened through a deep well of both faith and blind acceptance of our own will to do what others might consider impossible.

Sidenote: originally featured September 2015

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Eruption by Adrienne QuintanaReclamation by Adrienne Quintana

These are two stories I ought to have remembered to include on the list but for whichever reason I hadn’t remembered to include them until I pulled up my Story Vault! I am uncertain what caused the disconnect? I think sometimes we get muddled in our IRL cycles of grind to where things that should be firmer in the front of our memories are a bit clogged in the background.

The eclipse of time between Reclamation and Eruption is a faint whisper – you can transition into the second half of this duology with a fever of anticipation that reaches a pitch of thrilling suspense at the end of the first installment! In many ways, the ending is the beginning and the beginning is the end but only if you perceive how an end can begin and how a beginning of a journey can be renewed by it’s ending! There are parallels of thought coursing through the duology – where Quintana wants you to move past your conventional wisdom and off-set it against a proposition of a theory of where Technology, Information and Science can become co-dependent on our future if we allow our humanity to take a backseat to where progress is leading us forward. This isn’t a story that hasn’t been told before as I know a lot of stories are out there right now that touch on this projection of the near-future, but what differs here is the methodology of how Quintana has told her story – making it cross-accessible to readers of all ages! To me, this isn’t  a story limited to being classified as Young Adult – to me it reads as an adult technothriller where the edgy bits pave a road towards an incredible cautionary tale about what man dares to accomplish and forsake the greater good.

If memory can be tempered with and altered (with or without consent) than who can argue the fact that the individual can harness a will to sabotage the effects of this intrusion on personal privacy? Science and Technology can only take the mind to one level of belief – yet the depth of the altered state can and should be controlled by the person whose strength to protect its own mind would be greater than any chemical interference to contradict it’s control. Of course, the greater question is how far should Science go to manipulate any result if the end is to transport thoughts and memories through time? To re-direct an end result that was not realised in one time continuum but could be proved to exist in another if the continuance of time’s arrow is disturbed and redirected outright?!  At what cost then would anyone (including Jace) go to disconnect that sinister plot against living history and humanity whilst replacing it with a different trajectory of intention altogether!? How do you choose when everyone’s living history would dissolve into a new thread of memory and time?!

This was the most intricately layered Technothriller I have ever read – the incredible depth of how we were rooted to Jace’s story is a credit to the author! The fact she went from being published with a publisher to launching the sequel through her own publishing house is another credit to her dedication to telling the stories which she creatively is inspired to share with us all.

I have been on pins awaiting word of her next novel being published and I definitely want to see where she is going to take us next – if she stays in her wheelhouse with convicting Speculative Fiction or if she chooses to step outside this realm and entreat us into another genre which speaks to her heart as loudly as this one did for this duology!

Sidenote: originally featured January, 2015 (Book One) & September, 2016 (Book Two)

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Closing Thoughts: I have several stories which were also single-title I’ve read over the past seven years – quite a few were a mixture of DNF and/or left me with neutral or negative-neutral reactions. Others were positive experiences and I had a lot to say about them as I read them. All of which I blogged about on their cordinating reviews which are linked by either their title and/or the year I published the reviews themselves. The last batch were enjoyed and are honourable mentions for today’s topic.

I had a more disappointing experience reading JUNE (2016) – which at the time was a story I felt I was truly going to connect inside and instead I found a rather gritty opener to the story which just sort of began my readings on wrong footing. I also had a lackluster experience reading WATCHER & Carbon (2017) – whereas I felt more hugged into the world of WATCHER by the time I entered CARBON I was truly shocked by how ‘altered’ the world felt and it nearly seemed like instead of a connective world the whole experience I had with WATCHER had been edited and changed into something I no longer recognised.

HAUNTED (2016) was an entry into Cosy Horror and one I had looked forward to reading for quite a few years until there was this moment inside story where I felt more repulsed than gripped into the suspense of the Cosy Horror styling of its narrative. In fact, it was a very hard shift for me to see how HAUNTED was truly meant to direct itself and that is why it became one of my most disappointed reads for 2016.

WENCH & BALM (2015) were read together in sequence as they serve as a duology – of the two I appreciated my time spent in WENCH a bit more than BALM. However, due to the gutting nature of the storylines I was thankful to exit them when I had as they were achingly hard to read due to the circumstances the characters had to endure.

METROPOLIS (2020) , UNRAVELLED (2013) , CERTAINTY (2014), GRACIANNA (2013), 1906 (2016), Woven (2018) and VINTAGE (2014) each had certain elements within their stories which took me ‘out’ of the narratives with the exception of UNRAVELLED. The author who penned it held my eye on the story and I did appreciate reading it – but afterwards, I found myself unable to commit to following the rest of her career as the next stories in sequence felt even harder to read than this one was for me.

CITADEL (2014) marked the end of the gritty and more visually intensive war dramas as this seriously affected me on such a deep level after reading it, I can honestly say I had a few nightmares about the story for three months.

The Honourable Mentions:

INTANIGLE (2014) & INVINCIBLE (2014) These are the two YA Sci-Fantasy novels I had meant to read in sequence with their third installment. I cannot remember what took me out of the stories or the series back in [2014] however suffice it to say, each Sci Fi November since then I have re-attempted to read them and failed miserably. Between my health afflictions in 2018/19 and my long history of chronic migraines – the timing has never been good for me. I am hoping to get started into re-reading them this mid-Spring or early-Summer and finally share my final conclusions during Sci Fi November 2020.

ECSTASY (2018) & ANTIPHONY (2015) each had their strong parts and were each uniquely written about topics and subjects which are not always addressed by other writers. The latter of course was a challenge as a blogger and as a reader due to interpreting and following the author’s vision for how he wanted this story to be understood. Sharratt (who wrote ECSTASY) is an author I have loved reading as a blogger – she undertakes Biographical Historical Fiction in a way truly resonates with the reader due to her strength of research and ability to key into her subject’s life. I am always most impressed by how she handles each of the stories she writes and makes them feel as real as if they were living in our own generation.

HEARTBORN (2017) This is a Dark Fantasy & Cosy Horror story (first of a series) by the author who wrote HALFWAY DEAD. I had had high hopes for this story of being one I could follow through and appreciate til the end of the series – whereas with Halfway Witchy (the series) my appreciation for continuing to listen to the stories waned until my joy of the series ended. In this one – I found a renewal of hope for where he could take his series for a reader who loved his style and instincts but didn’t want to experience what happened in future installments of Halfway Witchy. I am hoping the rest of this series (ie. Heartborn) will continue in audio and that I can once again traverse through his universe.

SHIFTY (2018) I was first introduced to this Fantasy universe through a short story within the anthology GIFTS OF THE MAGI. The next year, as I was reconnecting with the author I had an opportunity to read and review SHIFTY which re-explores this world and is a lovely collection of stories which re-introduce you to the fuller dimensional space the author has created. It is another keen reason why I love reading anthologies and in particular those for Speculative Fiction.

INDECISION (2018) As a guest for @SatBookChat (the chat I host on Saturdays) I was thankful to read the story which inspired the chat. I would consider this to be an introspective Women’s Fiction novel where it asks as much of the reader as it does the characters in the novel about how you spend your hours, what you’re contemplating on your heart and how you find the courage to choose whether or not you will bend and yield to what life brings into your path.

SOPHIA (2014) Whilst I was a reviewer for Cedar Fort, I enjoyed reading their Pure Romance line of Sweet Romances – the gentler side of Rom and most of them were #HistRom like SOPHIA. This is such an enjoyable and light read – I was looking forward to seeing what would come next by the author and are quite thankful her path and mine recrossed when I read the anthology UNEXPECTED LOVE. She is definitely one I will continue to seek out as her career progresses.

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Be sure to visit my BIG REVEAL for my 1st partner #unboxing for Once Upon A Book Club – wherein you’ll find that I’m featuring a single-word titled Historical Fiction novel which is inclusive of a time slip narrative which slips 3x within the context of the story! I will be updating further about my adventures within the story and next Tuesday, the 10th I’ll be revealling another sweet photo and journalled post about *what I opened!* as I read and followed the lovely prompted sticky notes to uncover the gifts inside!

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I’m itching to know – did you participate in this week’s topic? If so, kindly leave a link to your #TopTenTuesday so I can happily visit your list & see what grabs your literary eye! Likewise, what is on my List that either leaves you curious to explore or is a literary style we share in common within our readerly adventures!?

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{SOURCE: Top Ten Tuesday banner created by Jorie via Canva. All individual book covers were given to me by either the publicists/publishers/authors/or blog touring companies who encourage me to talk about the books after I’ve reviewed them and thus, all are being used with permission. In particular, the covers for “Fae”, “Corvidae” and “Scarecrow” were provided by World Weaver Press and are used with permission. “Redheart”, “Sela” and “Reclamation” were provided by Seventh Star Press and are used with permission. “Decorum”, “Repentance”, “Inscription” and “Avelynn” were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and are used with permission. “Rimrider” and “Timekeeper” were provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and are used with permission. “Eruption” and “Bearskin” were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and are used with permission. “Reclamation” (duology sequel to ‘Eruption’) was provided by the author and is used with permission. “Moonflower” was provided by the author and is used with permission. “Riding” was provided by iRead Book Tours and is used with permission.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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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 Tuesday, 3 March, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday

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6 responses to “#TopTenTuesday XII | Top 16x Books with Single-Word Titles I’ve read as a Book Blogger

  1. Ooh happy 7th coming up! I was surprised too to see how many one word titles I’ve read! I love a good space opera as well, and Timekeeper sound like a good read.

    I love the cover of Fae!

    • Hallo, Hallo Greg,

      I was truly enjoying seeing your notes alight on my blog earlier this year; I regret I lost the ability somewhere between then and now to respond in a more timely manner. Each of your notes was read and seen during the week you’ve posted them – it is just now, nearly at the close of the year where I feel I can return to my comments and provide proper responses. My family has shifted through numerous health and medical emergencies as well as other adversities that took my attention elsewhere. Plus, we’ve all been living through the pandemic which is a woe of its own. I wanted to tell you how happy I was you spied the fact I’m now in my *7th!* Year of book blogging! I was able to post a tweet to mention it and I had such a humbled surprise finding replies to that tweet alighting on my feeds this year.

      I celebrate twice a year (March, blogoversary when I created the blog; August, blog birthday when I launched it live) and this year it felt like a special milestone of its own.

      My 7th Year on Twitter is in November. (big smiles)

      OOh! I hope you will be able to get a copy of Timekeeper & FAE! Would you believe I completely forgot I had mentioned Timekeeper? It has been too hard of a year – however, I re-mentioned it on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday as I was selecting stories of diverse lit to help inspire donations for a library’s book drive. If you get into these stories, re-visit with me on those review pages – I’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions and takeaways post-reading!!

      Likewise, I hope the year has been kind to you and that you’ve had fun continuing to celebrate stories and authors who are touching your life with their stories. Thanks for being kind to me and giving me boosts of spirit whenever you’ve visited and left me a note.

        • We are now that we’ve gone through all those health crises; Mum can take preventative measures to address her health issue and with Dad, its a constant adjustment to new issues that arise post-stroke. We’re a strong family but sometimes you have to give yourself breathing space to continue to endure and adapt to the changes that life brings along. Personally I’m just thankful a new season is nearly upon us and one that will bring cooler weather – which seems to be a season we all enjoy together. I return the same sentiments to you, friend.

    • Hallo, Hallo Lydia,

      I wanted to thank you again for keeping my spirits lifted throughout the year with your reactions & compliments on behalf of my Top Ten Tuesday posts! Your comments have been a true gift of joy this year as each of them arrived unexpectedly and were such a wonderfully timed note to receive! I’ve been struggling off/on this year to keep up with my comments; life seems to have come hard and fast throughout 2020 and I regret I lost track of where I was with my comments! Still. Each of your notes has been received and cherished; thank you for giving me such a lift throughout the year and providing me with feedback which felt like treasured pearls.

      Your compliment on behalf of how I write my blog truly touched my heart. Blogging is a labour of love for me — I put so much into my posts and try to give my readers something to chew on whilst their reading one of my posts. To know how I am writing my blog is resonating with a reader truly warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing!!

      PS: I’d love to know your thoughts about HAUNTED if you choose to pick it up sometime – especially if you leave me a note on that review I shared. I’d love to get another reader’s impression of the story and see how they reacted to it.

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