#TopFiveSaturday | The Power of Five (from #WyrdAndWonder) share a Fantasy Grab-bag!

Posted Saturday, 19 February, 2022 by jorielov 1 Comment

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About: *Wyrd & Wonder*

Wyrd and Wonder is an annual celebration of the fantasy genre. Sign up to join the party as we explore worlds of myth and magic, re-imagine traditional tales, cheer on heroes (prefer villains? Sure, we won’t judge you) and discover the secret doors that lead from familiar streets to adjacent realms where a discourtesy or a misstep may land you in hot water. We’ll be reading books, watching movies, playing games and sharing our thoughts online through blog posts and social media with as many like-minded adventurers as care to join us – there’s always room by the fire for a newcomer with a tale to share. (official 2022 blurb)

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!!

You might have seen my signal boosting for #WyrdAndWonder a bit EARLY this year – as the five of us collectively ANNOUNCED our 5th Year of Wyrd And Wonder is arriving this May, 2022! This year, along with getting our ducks in a row even earlier than usual whilst expanding our lovely team to a Power of Five, we’re also wickedly happy starting new traditions & new ways of celebrating the JOY of #WyrdAndWonder, which is why Annemieke and I are sharing duties bringing special content to the blogosphere every other Saturday whilst featuring posts & revelations from the first four years of #WyrdAndWonder.

In particular, on my Saturdays I’ll be sharing content from the Power of Five – the posts, reviews and other showcases we’ve shared during the years whilst sometimes dipping outside of Wyrd And Wonder (the event) to re-feature posts from our blogs which are fantastically highlighting a part of Fantasy we individually either consumed and loved OR gushed about in a discussion post!

The inspiration behind this series of #TopFiveSaturday on Jorie Loves A Story is giving participants (new and old) a new chance to get to ‘know’ the hosts and team behind #WyrdAndWonder whilst allowing everyone the chance to re-visit our blogs and see content they might not have had the chance to see as it originally published. As let’s face it – May comes quick and furious every Spring and we’re all balancing loads of life behind our blogs and social spheres online whilst participating in an event which brings us all together for 31 fantastical days. It would make sense at some point – some posts could be missed in the shuffle.

Now is your chance to see them with a fresh perspective and hear why I’ve chosen the posts I have during this limited series of #TopFiveSaturday focused concentrations featuring the Power of Five: Imyril, Lisa, Jorie, Annemieke and Ariana! Although, expect more during our lovely event where I select topics everyone else can join in on as well!

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#TopFiveSaturday : 19th February, 2022

a Fantasy Grab-bag from the Power of Five

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For this first #TopFiveSaturday, I wanted to take a moment to feature the post(s) and individual interests of us as a team. We each are gravitating towards certain kinds of fantastical stories, authors and styles of Fantasy. Which is how I developed today’s topic to explore: a Fantasy Grab-bag because the best part of a ‘grab-bag’ is the joy of the unknown and the challenge of embracing what is not readily disclosed until you ‘find it’ and see if its something that suits you.

On that level, the posts I’ve selected are highlighting different passions of the Power of Five within Fantasy whilst focusing on posts where you can tuck closer to our own sensibilities about Fantasy and what drives us each individually to continue to strive towards the unknown realms and consistently seek out Fantasy Lit which endeavours to grow our reach into a genre we all mutually love exploring!

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Imyril: Magical Realism (ie. the Jinn)

I’ve had my own curiosities about Magical Realism ever since I first read The Golem and the Jinni which occupied a lot of my musings closer to when I read it and throughout my conversations with the author online (esp via Twitter). The sequel I’ve nearly given up hope of reading is meant to finally be released; if it hasn’t already. It is my intention to re-read the first novel and then proceed into the sequel even though its one novel I mostly remember start to finish which is quite rare but I believe it just became so real to me at the time its just stayed with me a bit longer than other stories; that and the fact it had a cliffhanger ending without any hope of a sequel until years later.

During #WyrdAndWonder I explored a series about the Jinn which began with Heir to the Lamp and unfortunately disappointed me by the time I picked up the sequel. Throughout the years I’ve co-hosted this event, I’ve heard positive remarks about “City of Brass” as well as felt tempted to read other works of Magical Realism as it is a niche of love for me as a reader as much as it has a whole section of influence on my #theclassicsclub list. Ergo I could definitely see myself wanting to join a RAL for “City of Brass” one day.

Finding this gem of a post on Imyril’s blog felt quite fitting to include on this first #TopFiveSaturday as the jinn are wickedly one of the more intricate characters in Fantasy. Similar to the fey, their motivations are not always in the best interest of others as they choose to direct their activities to what benefits them moreso than what is the greater good. Which of course is a unique perspective all of its own and creates insta-fodder to chew on. I would love to find more stories of the Jinn to explore and read; whilst noting I have a small collection of those kinds of stories on my own review for Golem.

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

reviewed by Imyril @ There’s Always Room for One More

The best bit I observed from the review is the originality of the story to breakdown realistic layers of interest into a cleverly spun lens about the Jinn themselves. They are dealing with as much IRL issues as we are ourselves whilst they also have a lot of challenges to work through as well. I especially liked how much empathsis was placed on prejudice and the different ways in which prejudice can manifest itself into a society.

Of course it also volleys between different characters of whom sounded wicked fascinating to me as much as some of them I knew were going to make me roll my eyes or at least itch my skin as much as they seemed to irk Imyril. (lol) The only part I missed from the review were a few notations on how the world inside the novel was framed and how it was explored visually. I love Fantasy stories for that one critical reason – how the worlds themselves are built and what you can visually see as you’re reading the stories. However she did such an incredible job at showcasing the individual characters I nearly forgot I missed the other bits, too!

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Lisa: #dragonfiction

I cannot remember if I read this particular list when it was first published OR if I missed it completely. One of the key issues I’ve had over the years were my a) chronic migraines and b) my extreme pollen allergies – both of which this year are so under control & manageable it is leading me into a different kind of ‘Spring’ than I’m used to experiencing. I count that as a blessing as unexpected as it is because it just wasn’t my regular reality. It is also why I MISSED a lot of the posts during #WyrdAndWonder – so forgive me Lisa, if this is one of those posts I sadly never go the the chance to fully explore and ruminate over with you!

It seems as natural as breathing to have *dragons!* in the discussion – just as I was wicked happy to feature a book/series about dragons two years ago within the pages of “Esme’s Wish”. And, yes I will be following up with this series this Wyrd And Wonder with the sequel. A lot of us behind the Power of Five love our dragons – we might not always love the same kind of #dragonfiction but however which way you slice it – dragons are amongst us!

A Personal List of Favourite #dragonfiction @ Dear Geek Place

I *love!* how Lisa introduced us to her favourite dragons and then shifted into her TBR. It is a wonderful list featuring a wide variety of stories – most of which are on my own TBR most especially the Lady Trent series. You’ll see more about dragons come May on my blog, too. If you want to pick up some stories featuring dragons – I highly recommend you scout out this list and pay particular attention to why these stories caught her eye as much as if they are on her top favourites list – why those stood out to her the most! You can dive into new layers of Fantasy with the enthusiasm of its readers – and this is a prime example of how dragons can inspire us through their presence and the way in which their stories are crafted.

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Annemieke: Fantasy Tropes

I’ll admit, whenever I am in a convo online about ‘tropes’ – I am the least likely to know how to respond to the conversation because of how I perceive the stories I’m reading vs how the rest of the readers of the world perceive the same stories. I constantly have to research tropes to better understand the fascinations about them and the three many branches of literature I regularly research are: Romance, Fantasy & Science Fiction. The first one of course is interesting because I host a Romance/Women’s Fiction/Feminist Lit chat (ie. @SatBookChat) and the other two are because their seriously two of my favourite genres.

Annemieke is the Queen of Discussion posts – by far, she never fails to get my attention and the ways she approaches discussing topics & subjects on her blog is something I strive to curate myself. I’ve only been trying to segue into these kinds of posts since my first year – perhaps before my ninth year concludes I will have a better grasp on it, right?!

Six Favourite Fantasy Tropes @ A Dance With Books

When I decided on this theme for #TopFiveSaturday today – part of what I wanted to do is to embrace the unexpected & the variety of what Fantasy means to each of us behind the Power of Five. And, this particular post by Annemieke showcases what she personally is drawn towards as a Fantasy reader – I must admit, I myself, LOVE five of the six she’s mentioned. I’ll give you a clue about my own preferences within a tag I self-created #dragonfiction would be my number one and yet its my most under-read as I seek out a particular kind of dragon in my fiction. But, when it comes to shapeshifters — it was a dragon fiction series which had shifters which first clued me into these lovelies!

Go visit her post and find out which tropes you might share in common with her and give her a lovely response in her comments about why that trope or another is a mutual favourite! Whilst I know for myself – this is one topic I believe I need to either a) explore myself or b) use it to spin out a book tag about stories featuring those tropes as I’ve read quite a few lovelies over the years which befit them.

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Ariana: Fairytale Fantasy

If you want to feel transported into another realm where old magic & the fey live – you have to keep your ears alert to the news of stories & series which celebrate this kind of bookish lore! For me, ever since I read the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy I’ve become smitten with this section of Fantasy and it was further sealed by my love of reading “To Court A Queen”. Ergo, as soon as I was looking through Ariana’s archives for #WyrdAndWonder this particular book stood out to me on so many levels – not just because its technically within our niche of focus this 5th Year of Wyrd and Wonder *but!* because of what it involves! #somanysmiles

The Wood Bee Queen by Edward Cox
reviewed by Ariana @ The Book Nook

As we’re parlaying our interest this year into Forest & Woodland Fantasy – this particular review ought to be recommend as a primer! I couldn’t get over how nuanced the review was and how incredibly transparent Ariana was about her thoughts, her feelings and the execution of the story by the author. I am a reader who loves in-depth book reviews as much as I am a book blogger who never gave herself a word count to abide by! Her way of etching out the story and presenting it to us as if we were alongside for the journey therein is just wicked brilliant.

Like me, she also discloses triggers and/or notations about what may or may not work for either herself or others who are discerning readers who might have a preference of not wanting to read about a particular subject, topic or point of inclusion which could be triggering to another reader. Yet it was the different places within the story which intrigued me the most – about how part of the story was on land and the other half in the sky. Not to mention the power play and the ways in which this world was brokering on ruin.

I also understood how she was disappointed in some respect about how this world was fated to go a certain way and nothing could stop the motion of events. In some respects, I had that feeling at the end of The Clan Chronicles — as a lot of that series (told through three trilogies) has that fated destiny inside it and of course, so much of that series broke my soul due to what became of the Clan at different moments of their historic timeline. (#justNo I will digress) Sometimes those kinds of stories can get under your skin and I could see where part of me might feel the same way as Ariana if I were to pick this one up to read myself. I’m still on the fence a bit due to the note about torture and left a note for Ariana to message me about it. Despite that though – wow. You can live through this review and for me that’s the best kind to read because I can’t always read the stories which leave me curious but golly! I can celebrate this kind of review and hope it inspires someone else who can!

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Jorie: Fantasy Short Fiction

As you might suspect, even before #WyrdAndWonder was conceived, I had a true hankering for soaking into riveting Short Fiction for Speculative Fiction. The only trouble therein is I had this particular mindset about the kind of stories I wanted to seek out vs the kind of stories available to be read. I’m not into overt violence and dark undertones; I don’t mind conflict/drama *but!* I don’t want it to be painted so dearly dark to the brink the Light cannot shine through. Give me a compelling read with realistically well-rounded/flushed out characters and an incredible backdrop of setting & world — wells, you’d have me @ hallo as the saying goes!

It isn’t a very well kept secret my favourite Fantasy anthologies are by World Weaver Press – however, I was starting to discover them and review my reactions before Year 1 of Wyrd And Wonder. By the time our lovely event came round, I was finishing my reads by this publisher (as I had received several titles for review) whilst I noted I had ‘left’ two behind during my brief review opportunity with the publisher. Those two titles are: Equus & Sirens. They will finalise my journey with Rhonda Parrish and the anthologies which set a high standard for the definite “antho” of the fantastical I personally prefer to read. Although the publisher has other anthologies I will be gathering – such as their Solarpunk series and other titles of anthologies which are seriously my kind of jam!

I’ve been finding loads of anthos to sink inside which befit the other side of SpecLit I adore which is Sci-Fi but when it comes to Fantasy, eh. I am still struggling to find my groove and my path into this passageway. For a lot of Fantasy readers, they do not shy away from some of the kinds of plots which aren’t my cuppa. I am sure it is rare for a Fantasy reader who has a particular aversion to violence, gore and vulgarity; but there you have it – I’m a Fantasy reader navigating a genre seeking stories without those triggers/inclusions.

As I was in the process of composing this post, I discovered a favourite Fantasy author I started reading during Year 2 of Wyrd And Wonder has a series of anthos I think might suit me rather well. Mostly as they are with a disclaimer these are best suited for those who enjoy Fantasy but do not want gore/violence without strong language inclusive. I could not RAISE MY HAND any faster if I tried!! Yes. More of *that!*

However, whilst I’m a bit on a soapbox, I wanted to draw a circle of JOY around my *favourite!* Fantasy Short Fiction I’ve read during #WyrdAndWonder:

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Fantasy Short Fiction
featured during #WYrdAndWonder:

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Frozen Fairy Tales (anthology) by World Weaver Press (Fantasy)

The Magic Cup by Howard Behar (short story)

Heroes Best Friend (anthology) by Seventh Star Press

Unspun: Anthology (focus on) Kaki Olsen (Re-told Fairy Tales)

Shifty (anthology) by Marian Allen (Fantasy)

← technically this was our #SpooktasticReads mini-event!

Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 (edited by) Mercedes Lackey (Speculative Fiction Anthology)

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Each of these collections hold a special place in my heart because of the doors of Fantasy they opened for me. You’ll have to visit each one individually to find out what was giving me the JOY whilst being locked inside their stories and what kinds of fantastical otherworld inclusions were included as well. I have been attempting to keep notes about what is fantastical about the stories I’m reading in Fantasy whilst giving little notations of joy for those readers who are seeking the same as I am in the stories their reading. You’ll find those notes under ‘elements of Fantasy’ or ‘Fantastical Elements’ as I latter referred to them and other such noted mentions on my reviews.

You will also find out I review anthologies differently than other books. Sometimes I only find one story in an anthology I enjoyed to read and other times, there are so many stories its hard to know what to disclose about each one and how to hold back a bit on the review itself. I will spare you the details of how hard it is for me to pick/choose what to put on a review and the agony of anxiety I sometimes go through to sort out the balance.

Likewise you will note most of my top favourite short stories & novellas are by Indie Authors – not always as the CEO of Starbucks truly struck my imagination with an intriguing short within the pages of The Magic Cup. I love reading anthologies to get a foothold into a writers’ style whilst at the same time – for me personally there is so much heart and depth inside Short Fiction it is nearly impossible to believe it really is SHORT fiction when you consider the word count against the depth of the story.

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Remember: if / when you visit one of our posts, kindly drop us notes/reactions so we know you alighted on our pages and perhaps even – inspired your next route into Fantasy!

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and, now dear hearts,
I shall leave you with an invitation
Kindly visit my co-hosts:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. IMAGE CREDITS: tree wolf image by chic2view on 123RF.com. Banner is used with permission.

You’ll have to let me know if you’re participating this year with us
during #WyrdAndWonder in the comments below this post!
For those who want to let us know officially their joining us – fill out this form.

The beauty of #WyrdAndWonder itself- is being able to escape into the realms of Fantasy and seek out the fantastical – however which way that might personally appeal to the reader and the seeker! Let us help you adventure with us whilst seeing what you’ve decided to read, listen or watch throughout May! I hope some of the authors I’ve read and reviewed over the years have sparked a curiosity in you to seek out yourself and likewise, I know I’ve been wicked inspired throughout the years to seek out new authors myself. (Visit Jorie’s #WyrdAndWonder archives)

Whether this is your fifth year or your first, we welcome you to #WyrdAndWonder! Join us as we dip our bookish hearts into this region of Speculative Fiction which gets us wickedly giddy with expectations and imaginative blissitudes!

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These link to their individual announcements!

Lisa + Imyril + Annemieke + Ariana

via Twitter: @deergeekplace + @Imyril + @Signourney + @queenzucchini

via Insta: @deargeekplace + @Imyril
+ @inlinewithannemieke + @booknookreview

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Be sure to keep a watchful eye on our @WyrdAndWonder feeds for the content we’ll be sharing as we move closer towards May; expect monthly engagements from the Power of Five – across social channels & our blogs. We are happily ready to start visiting blogs & start the Fantastical conversations which we know will be enjoyed by all who LOVE Fantasy! Join us for our 5th Year and let it be fantastically engaging for everyone who joins us on this adventure.

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. IMAGE CREDITS: tree wolf image by chic2view on 123RF.com. Banner is used with permission.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 19 February, 2022 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Jorie Loves A Story, Top Five Saturday, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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One response to “#TopFiveSaturday | The Power of Five (from #WyrdAndWonder) share a Fantasy Grab-bag!

  1. I love the way you put together this post, Jorie! I enjoyed reading some of the older posts from you and the others that I’d missed out on in previous years, and reading Lisa’s list of dragon books made me think of one that seems right up your street: Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care & Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson. You may know of it already, I’m not sure! I haven’t read it yet myself but I plan to pick it up soon and from what I’ve seen it’s full of whimsy, humour, some romance, and a middle aged no-nonsense main character which I am looking forward to reading about!

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