#TopTenTuesday XIII | feat. “Forest of Souls” by Lori M. Lee whilst Jorie recollects which stories parlay on this new book’s theme (ie. there be ghosts!)

Posted Tuesday, 23 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I was on a walkabout in the twitterverse recently when I came across the announcements for this particular blog tour – hosted by a new blog touring company [ Hear Our Voices Blog Tours ] featuring #ownvoices authors and getting their books into the hands of OV book bloggers & reviewers; which I felt was a smashingly brilliant company to support because I’ve known about the struggle for OV bloggers to have the chance to read the stories being published as they oft go to other reviewers.

I’ve been a reader who celebrates #EqualityInLit since I first started blogging whilst I love having the chance to find stories and authors who are #ownvoices – when I first saw this blog tour, I was hoping to host an interview with the author or guest post – however, this was a new kind of tour for me and that is why it took me until the last day to post this feature on its behalf. The organisers wanted to create a surprise blog tour for the author and celebrate the release through the book blogosphere, the twitterverse and via #bookstagram as well. I am unsure if some of the stops made it into #booktube however, these are the general routes all blog tour companies try to get their stories featured inside and I was thankful I could play a small role in helping to champion the news of this particular release.

Moving forward with this touring company, I am unsure if I have a place to participate as I wasn’t going to ask to review any of the novels – as I agree with their mission to give these books to the OV book bloggers and reviewers; I was simply hoping to host their authors for guest features as new tours were announced however I am not sure if allies of #ownvoices literature is going to be a part of the tours moving forward. Either way – I wanted to give a nod of acknowledgement to this touring company, today’s featured author and the stories I’ve read involving the story’s theme of ghosts, souls and spirits.

I do have a bit of good news – I’m in 3rd position at my local library to receive “Forest of Souls” and I plan on sharing my thoughts after I’ve read the story with my readers. I was wicked excited seeing it was in the library’s catalogue as this was something I was going to suggest they purchase (if they hadn’t already) except to say our purchase requests are still on sabbatical. Imagine my JOY in finding this is already inbound to the library?

Now, grab your favourite cuppa of brewed coffee or tea or whip up a cuppa chai and let’s rewind time to see which stories Jorie has read which has given her such an atmospheric experience on this theme of interest!

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#TopTenTuesday XIII | feat. “Forest of Souls” by Lori M. Lee whilst Jorie recollects which stories parlay on this new book’s theme (ie. there be ghosts!)Forest of Souls
by Lori M. Lee

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781624149245

Published by Page Street Kids

on 23rd June, 2020

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Published by: Page Street Kids (@PageStreetKids)
an imprint of Page Street Publishing

This is the first novel of the Shamanborn series!

Available Formats: Trade Paperbook, Ebook and Audiobook

Converse via: #YAFantasy or #YoungAdult #Fantasy
+ #ForestOfSouls, #OwnVoices and #HOVForestOfSouls

About Lori M. Lee

Lori M. Lee

Lori M. Lee is the author of Forest of Souls, first in the Shamanborn series, as well as Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite. She’s also a contributor to the anthologies A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Color Outside the Lines. She considers herself a unicorn aficionado, enjoys marathoning TV shows, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family.

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To celebrate this NEW BOOK which publishes TODAY – I wanted to take a look back at the stories I’ve loved reading which parlay on the story’s theme and the immersive effect of finding yourself lost in a story which takes you on such an extraordinary journey through the author’s vision.

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

#TopTenTuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
I hadn’t realised it was TTT’s 10th Birthday when I posted this feature!

Jorie’s #TopTenTuesday Stories
which I’ve loved reading involving ghosts, spirits and souls:

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House on the Forgotten Coast by Ruth Coe Chambers

Elise was a purveyor of moments – she drank in people’s living hours like historians dig through archives to root out long begotten annals of time once lived. She walked through neighbourhoods to overhear and observe people in their native settings like naturalists who study biology and ecology might go to the Galapagos Islands to see the wildlife. She drank in conversations to better acquaint herself with where she lived but there was something else, something more to her search than mere whispers of thought and knowledge of a place she was living in without touching it with her presence.

As the veil between the past where Annelise and the present where Elise both walked, so too, did the whispers those lost conversations start to rumour presence in Elise’s ears. She could hear the dead but were they dead or were they still living their lives as Elise was walking through hers? A temporal shift in the time-line of both souls – where the foot-falls were not far from one another, yet she had unknowingly tapped through time to hear what was generally unheard?

There was a moment – whilst Elise was out visiting I wondered,… is it also a story of reincarnated souls? Of how two living spirits each uniquely different in their own regard could be the lost souls of the past now reunited in a way which defies the logic of their situation? It would fit with how their conversations tumbled out – almost as if without them guiding the words but the words being guided by something else, from another time almost, as if their lives were only the vessels,… hearts who love deeply do not forget their loves in the afterlife. Thus, it does stand to reason if two hearts were thus separated might try to find their way back to each other – but that would take more than what they could do to bridge the rift in time,… it would take two others who saw what lies in-between this reality and the unseen,…

The further I entreated into the mind’s eye of Ms Chambers, the further I saw how she built this world – of how Elise and Annelise were one of the same and separate all the same. Of how she blended the historical arc into the contemporary, how she pulled us through time – gently at first first as if we were taking our first tentative steps and then, pushing us with a bit more force to accept what we were hoping was true,… somewhere in the middle, we lost ourselves as surely as Elise started to feel herself fracture between truth and the illusion of truth.

The beauty of the novel is how intensive you feel connected to this story, of how your heart is submerged so wholly full into Ms Chambers vision of it, you cannot disconnect, you can pull yourself out of this setting – your compelled to stretch further into this vision and once there, your suspended in where the histories of the characters encourage you to see their truth. Give yourself to this novel, don’t hold back – take the steps you need to transport yourself into a threshold of time where love and the protective arm of grace can set free all hidden secrets. You will ache to return, to re-live this story and re-see it through new eyes which understand more than you did originally.

-quoted from my review for House on the Forgotten Coast

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The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The first main difference I found is an Eastern Ghost story is rooted within the relationship and interpersonal connection to the dead rather than focusing on the psychological thrill of having a ghost crossing into your lifepath. Western stories tend to focus on the shock and intensity of finding an ethereal presence in your life, an interruption of your hours, and a mindful sea of curious unknown questions and ramifications that are difficult to process and work through. There tends to be a lot of factors pulling the ties together for a Western ghost story, which parallel the leftover work of the deceased and a willingly earnest desire to see the work completed by a second or third party who was not particularly connected to the events or the deceased in life. From what I am gathering in The Ghost Bride the main concern is not unfinished business but rather a continuance of a life cut short of being lived. A way of progressing the life of the deceased to a fulfilling present; merely without their flesh and bone presence.

To Choo’s credit, she gave us more clues to the layers of what knits the story together between the reality of the world her characters were living within and the inter-fold center of where the spirits walked bringing a horror to the living caught inside their dreamscaped webs. The chilling vortex by which she transports Lin Lan through whilst by contemporary terms we’d consider her journey to be from astral projection, was as though she was guiding her through that in-between place between life, death, and the veil of existence in a third space. The entire story is a leap of faith and a leap of the imagination – to cart yourself forward and through a story that breaks the barriers of life and the afterlife. The profound realistic world-building and the compelling emotional angst Choo knits into the soul of her characters gives such a representation of the diversity of each spirit and personality that inhabits us all. When you take away the layers of who we are in this world, and go back to the basics of who we are in the spiritual realms, truth, light, and darkness tend to curl into each other and expel each other at the same time.

-quoted from my review of The Ghost Bride

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Sea of Lost Souls by Emerald Dodge

Dodge quickly shifts gears – shifting us away from where we began this tale and re-inserted us into a new layer of what is plausible when you break the veil between the living and the dead. It is here where you have to suspend what you might feel is possible because Dodge has a convicting plot to soak your mind round! There are three of them who still remember what life was like for them when they were all crew on the same carrier – Goldstein, Torres and Bickley. For them, the transition to this new carrier the Saint Catherine is more insulting than it is comforting. They can’t remember much and the few scant memories they have are not aligning with what they’ve been told now. You can’t blame them really as it is all too fantastical to be real – at least from their perspective on the events and since Dodge has cleverly hidden from our readerly sight exactly what happened to them – as we took the journey with them rather than seen the event unfold before they shifted to a different ship, it is a mystery even to us as readers.

The visuals in this world are quite incredible – there is a moment where Rachel isn’t entirely sure how she feels about her new state of awareness – where she is having trouble processing the changes she has undergone – where a person she once knew comes to her aide. It was here where Dodge took a seemingly ordinary scene and transformed it because you could honestly see how realistic it would be to lose sight of yourself at point of death. To no longer understand how to perceive your own identity and how sometimes it takes a nudge from someone else to re-clarify what you’ve suddenly lost. This is the next sequence to understand this newfound world – of where Dodge gives us a purposeful nudge of her own to give us a reason to suspend ourselves into her world-building.

You feel pulled and torn alongside Goldstein – you partially want to re-assess what has happened, what has transformed and altered this state of life her and her crew experienced but there isn’t time for that kind of introspective analysis. No, Dodge ups the ante quite a bit (similar to how Jack Sparrow never had a chance to sit on his laurels either!) by turning this quaking emotional drama into a war drama where even the dead need a few courageous heroes to help them sort through a war they cannot win without them.

Yet before this can become explored Dodge gave us a fitting look-back at what took their lives on the Taft through a sequence of scenes which both showed their scene of death and the after effects their losses caused on their crewmates. It was a fitting final good-bye for them – to decide if they wanted to recognise where they were now or if they couldn’t make the leap of faith needed (such as how Rollins has anchoured himself to the Taft) in order to ‘move forward’; towards a future they might not fully understand but it was there for the taking. It is here we peer into how despite appearances even in a new state of life each of them bring their own individualistic impressions on the same events they are now experiencing. It is a credit to Dodge – how she has given a depth of place and setting but also how Dodge wanted you to feel as her characters felt – lost, detached and questioning.

I was truly caught in the action of this war drama set at sea!! You have your ancient Gods intermixing with the fey and then, there are merpeople and pirates all swirling together to create a backdrop of increasing danger! All the while, what encouraged me the most is how Dodge was creating this organic style of narrative – it started with the sailors and it held within its framework the heart of the Navy. These men and woman might have become transformed through death but its their courage that carried them through these new adventures in a world like Oceanus where if your imagination can dream of something – the reality is an equal match to your wildest dreams!

You feel so connected to the ship – it has a lifeblood of its own and the choices made here have after effects which ripple through the world itself. Nothing is out of bounds and if you choose to trust your shipmates you’ve made one critical choice in your favour! Dodge knows how to entertain you but also how to root you in her vision for Oceanus. Even when the dangers start to entrench themselves in the foreground, you’ve come to appreciate her sense of duty and justice; to where even at the worst of what is happening there is a threading of hope running behind it.

-quoted from my review of Sea of Lost Souls

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FAE edited by Rhonda Parrish

My review of the short story “Antlers” by Amanda Block

Ms Parrish and I equally saw the eloquence of this story and each of us felt it was familiar to us yet altered into a new memory of loveliness all the same. Her Editor’s Note is a keen and befitting ending to this story – it’s the kind of short that is larger than it’s words.

Broken into segments of Birth, Death, Growth, and a section I share keep secret whilst revealing a cyclic awakening of the natural world, Antlers delves further into the natural origins of life itself whilst anchouring the reader directly into a world where free will can haunt the person who is not mindful of the consequences of their actions. The beautiful arch of narrative is sweeping as it is definitive epic in it’s scope – visually you cannot help but walk alongside the Lady of the story.

She carries with her spirit a yearning of freedom stitched through a keen insight into how what is not readily understood or known can hold within it’s eyes an ancient knowledge that elevates itself past time and past the point of where life and death co-exist. It’s illuminating as a tragic Shakespearean play, hugging your soul so close to the heartache of the moments which capture your emotions, you are implored to continue reading how the earth and the people of this story will emerge out at the other side of their strife.

It’s a short that gives you a hearty depth of narration whilst combining just enough of a hint of what you know of previously to leave you etched with this catalyst of a story that could become further developed and deepened by more length. Right as it stands, you want to re-read it as it sits here within the pages of FAE awaiting your eyes and your mind to imagine the greater truth of what connects us inasmuch as what divides us. I have held a particular appreciation for the natural world since I was quite young, and this story is a testimony of the delicate balance we walk when living both in step and against the harmonic cycles of nature.

I could live a lifetime inside ANTLERS,
it’s so intrinsically insightful and far reaching by it’s heart.

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-quoted from my review of the anthology FAE

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To Live Forever by Andra Wakins

The story is interwoven as a refractive mirror of the Natchez Trace itself. The harder you believe any blight of adversity is in your life to conquer and overcome, the more your spirit will start to believe your too fragile to try anything. The Trace is a test of wills as much as it’s a test of inner fortitude to re-strengthen our shield against unwanted storms and periods of stress which arise out of nowhere. Life can ebb and flow, bobbing us along until we’re ready to see what our eyes blinded us towards revealing. All of our passageways lead us further towards where our feet are meant to land, but what if we hold ourselves back from the greatest revelations of all? Simply because we’re not willing to alight where we’re lead to go? The Trace is unique in that it withholds its past like a tightly woven tapestry. Each piece of its innate soul is stitched inside the weathered path where feet and souls mingled into the mist. There lessons linger and their spirits shudder to grieve.

There is an ever-knowing pool of truth and hope awaiting us around each bend and turn. The people we feel we are ‘randomly’ encountering are the kind of teachers and advisers we might never expect would be important to our growth. Listen with compassion. Be kind to strangers who might one day become a cherished friend. Grow through friendship and rise each day realising the beauty of the hour. Our lives are leading us through the light and back inside it.

-quoted from my review of To Live Forever

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Scarecrow Anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish

My review of the short story “Skin Map” by Kim Goldberg

This short is truly short – yet I wouldn’t change anything about it! I was so caught up inside the heart of the character, I felt the pain of loss as I read the ending! In her briefness, Goldberg has expertly given us such a convicting story-line of a woman whose life was altered through electromagnetic currents which altered her entire body! The way in which she was altered is plausible when you think about the method but also the results.

More convicting is the act of what this woman wanted to leave behind – an etching of her very soul and the one message she could communicate in her absence yet without the ability to leave behind the reason ‘why’ nor the cause for her ‘sudden exit’ from this world. The woman is an ‘everywoman’ in this narrative, as who hasn’t noticed how portable our technology has become and the cautionary concerns that we all have developed whilst seeing how the tech that is meant to improve our lives could be doing the opposite and causing harm?

This is a pivotal short to get you to think about our 21st Century in a different vein of thought than simply accepting the shift and moving forward without trepidation. Very well-thought out and executed with such a classic ‘ending’ where what was ‘found’ is not quite ‘understood’!

This short has a real-world problem attached to it, and one that I have noticed myself simply by observing how we’ve become too anchoured to portable technology and have deviated away from being ‘plugged-in’; whilst fully embracing being ‘unplugged’ too! To spin it a different way, I’m a traditional reader of print books & audiobooks due to chronic migraines which are affected by too much time reading digital screens – which technically is relevant to this story as it’s another reason why we should de-tech our lives as much as we can to preserve our health.

-quoted from my review of the anthology Scarecrow

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A terrifying and chilling account of how your actions in life can catch up to you, and how not every ghost has benign intentions towards the people they seek out to haunt. A most startling story by half! The central figures of this short are Mary Boyne & her husband Edward Boyne — Wharton knits their back-story with such conviction that you are drawn deeper into this short than you are The Lady’s Maid. The premise is a working hypothesis as much as a declaration of extreme caution!

Mr. Boyne as it turns out has made choices in his business affairs that directly impact the security of his life as much as the sanctity of his marriage. We enter their lives quite easily, as almost we were unexpected visitors who were invisible yet ever present to take-in their daily rituals and over hear their conversations. Mrs. Boyne is quite the ordinary housewife, with the exception that she has an intuitive sense about things, little awareness’s that strike her in the moment but which she dismisses outright as being ‘flights of fancy’ or complete irrelevancy. When they originally decided to purchase their house, they were forewarned the place was haunted, yet not haunted in the manner in which they would find a living presence of a ghost. No, this house had the pleasure of being uniquely charmed by the supernatural!

For you see, everyone who had come into direct contact with the ghost itself was never able to quite relay to a third party what the ghost looked like, what the ghost said to them, nor where or how they knew it was a ghost in the first place! This particular house left an invisible mark on the person who meets the ghost, as if it whispered into their ear a knowing certainty and then whisked the memory out of their long-term memory as surely as a wind blows through a darkened wood on All Hallows Eve.

-quoted from my review of Edith Wharton’s Ghost Stories

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Road Ghosts Omnibus E. Chris Garrison

What do you do when a ghoul claims your not entirely yourself as you know yourself to be? If your Brett, you lean on your girlfriend’s passion for researching the unthinkable and take a short reprieve from your life to visit a friend. What is compelling though about his predicament is how this story builds on the remnants of Four ‘til Late – how you can’t interact with darkness and not be affected by the touch. In other words, sometimes when the paranormal comes calling even after you disconnect the connection there could be aftershocks similar in vein to how an earthquake is never quite as it appears either.

Ms Chris continues to evolve Brett’s character into seeking out a way to better understand his role in the paranormal realms (as an investigator) whilst giving him a purpose for being paranormally curious (as a man caught between the spirit world and our living reality). The joy here is watching her tether everything together whilst continuing the continuity of having the friendships in Brett’s life be the important fusion of how he’s not just able to survive his adventures but he finds a way to thrive within the life he is choosing to live.

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My heart melted when I realised who was the intended delivery receiver for the special pizza on Valentine’s Day! It was truly well-thought out and conceived – so much so, you could almost see Ms Chris writing this as a Historical Ghost Story and rounding out the back-story! I was quite impressed too, how well composed the scene was inserted into an antidote of Brett’s new life at the pizzeria!

-quoted from my review of Sinking Down & Spectral Delivery
within the omnibus edition of the series Road Ghosts

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The Wonkiest Witch by Jeannie WycherleyThe Ghosts of Wonky Inn by Jeannie Wycherley

What endears you to Alfhild’s journey is how sincere she is making a new life for herself in this place – even if her magical abilities are questionable at best but evenso, she does what she can whenever she can to compensate for it. She sorts out whom she can trust and who are her best allies – for she is working against forces she could not have predicted would interfere with her goodwill. There was a moment where in the height of an uprising she was bringing against these forces where she reconsidered her options before realising there was only one future she would feel comfortable owning as her own. And, that felt like the greater purpose of this installment – of taking control of not just your own destiny but of embracing who you are and the inherent gifts that come with feeling proud of where you’ve come as well.

Sometimes you’re challenged past the point you feel you can overcome what blights onto your path – but as Alfhild found, if you dig deep, stay positive and align yourself with people who give of themselves for the greater good of everyone else – you find a strength you never had. Alfhild’s parents would be wicked proud of her efforts and of the courage she encountered the moment she realised that the power to change her own destiny lay inside the power she had within herself. And, that should be something all readers takeaway from this story – aside from the advice given how to defeat one’s enemies as truly that is one of the oldest pieces of wisdom I think more people ought to be reminded of as so much truth is held within how that is one of the most powerful tools we all have to use ourselves.

What was especially clever is how Wycherly chooses to describe her ghostly characters – she etches out certain attributes of their personalities and their deathly state of departure in how they are appearing now in their afterlife – my favourite by half was how she gave Florence a particularly smokey quirk of accessory!

-quoted from my reviews of The Wonkiest Witch and Ghosts of Wonky Inn

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Hear Our Voices Blog Tours

Follow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating:

Forest of Souls blog tour banner provided by Hear Our Voices Blog Tours and is used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Which stories involving the spirit world and ghosts have you enjoyed discovering yourself? Which stories of the paranormal and the fantastical would you rec for me to seek out myself? And, is “Forest of Souls” on your radar as a #nextread!?

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Forest of Souls”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Lori M. Lee and the tour host badge were all provided by Hear Our Voices Blog Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. All the book covers featured on this post were originally sent to me by either the author, blog tour company or publisher when I received these books in exchange for honest reviews on Jorie Loves A Story. I am encouraged to re-use the covers when discussing the stories and/or re-promoting the stories themselves past the initial reviews. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Spotlight banner, Top Ten Tuesday banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader, I tweet my reading life

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, 23 June, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Spotlight, Bookish Memes, Fantasy Fiction, Top Ten Tuesday, YA Fantasy

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2 responses to “#TopTenTuesday XIII | feat. “Forest of Souls” by Lori M. Lee whilst Jorie recollects which stories parlay on this new book’s theme (ie. there be ghosts!)

    • Thank you, Lydia!

      It feels good to return – as said, I’ve drafted so many lovely TTT posts this first half of the year, I felt bad I never could share them; thus, I felt this Tuesday gave me a renewal of sorts to return to the meme I love. Plus, what a wonderful bit of bliss knowing we’re celebrating the 10th Year!! I appreciate your note and encouraging words; I’ll have to keep you posted on “Forest of Souls” as I am hopeful what I’ve read and heard about this lovely will resonate with me as it has with other readers. Have a lovely week, Lydia! I’ll be on your blog soon!

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