#TopFiveSaturday | The Power of Five (from #WyrdAndWonder) explore the roads less travelled

Posted Saturday, 5 March, 2022 by jorielov 1 Comment

#TopFiveSaturday (Wyrd And Wonder edition) badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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!!

Wickedly enthused to bring you my second #TopFiveSaturday in our chase-up to May’s arrival for #WyrdAndWonder – as last week, Annemieke did a wicked fantastic job of shining a lovely light on a collection of posts I had overlooked myself from past Wyrd And Wonders. This is the beauty of this new featured series of posts we’re crafting together for you this year – to give you a chance to re-visit our hosts & our participants alike to see the content you might not have had the proper chance to view previously or if this is your first year seeing the signal flare for the event – it is a wicked brilliant way to get properly introduced to what Wyrd And Wonder gives to the fantastical niche of the book blogosphere and all social channels where the bookish and fantastical interact!

We’ve been having a bit of a go announcing ourselves a bit EARLY this year – which you can happily revisit with my own ANNOUNCING OUR 5TH YEAR post. 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 : 5th of March, 2022

explore the roads less travelled from the Power of Five

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For this second #TopFiveSaturday, I decided to select posts from the five of us where we’re exploring the roads less travelled throughout Fantasy. These could be subniches of genre or stories which are less known or less read by others but personally have an appeal to us to be read. It was a bit of a harder theme I selected as I had to take a guess about how to answer this question per my fellow hosts & what they had on their blogs – but I hope you’ll enjoy my choices and perhaps find a few new niches of Fantasy to explore you might not have already!

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: Shared World Fantasy

I’ve been scouring our blogs looking for posts/reviews which talk about the roads less travelled in Fantasy and when I stumbled across Imyril’s eloquent review on behalf of this novella, I knew I had found the right post to share with you all today! The premise of this one is very hard-hitting and yet, it has an uplift you’re not expecting as the children go on to live in the sea. It is a multi-layered story from what I’ve read on the review itself but similar to Imyril what impressed me is that this is an entry into a shared world – a world already established by others and now re-expanded through Soloman’s perspective and interpretation of that shared world. Ballsy and brilliant all at once, eh?

I love the depth you can find in novellas and short stories which is why if those are your cuppa love as well be sure to consider this lovely after you’ve read Imyril’s insightfully honest review!

The Deep by Rivers Soloman

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

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Lisa: Sidekicks in Fantasy

One overlooked corridor in literature to explore are the side characters & the sidekicks – as we tend to focus on the main cast & the main person or persons who are leading us through the story. It is sometimes tricky to remember there are others in that storyline which are guiding us and oft-times, those characters might stand out a bit more to us than even the main characters! As this happens oft enough for me which is why I mention it whenever it occurs. To read Lisa’s list of sidekicks is to take a cleverly spun route into the stories she’s loved reading but through the memories of these ‘other characters’ which might go overlooked by most readers. It is a kind reminder to keep our eyes open to everyone in a story and not to bypass getting to know minor characters who just might hold a telling secret of their own or share something quite extraordinary with us on our journey towards the end.

My favourite part of this list is the cheekiness in how its written and approached – such a fun and entertaining read! Sure to increase your TBR, too!

A Personal List of Favourite Sidekicks @ Dear Geek Place

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Annemieke: Steampunk Fantasy

When I visited this review and read the following: Steampunk Mechanical Dragons it reminded me about some of the Fantasies I’ve read about mech tech & how Steampunk can cross itself over into Fantasy quite quickly given certain fantastical elements which can inclusively change it from being strictly Science Fiction. There is a quite a mix-bag of elements which Annemieke happily talks about on her review – so much so – its hard to pin down which subniche of genre this would be considered which is why I went with the title I gave it! lol

I definitely understood about how sometimes there is ‘too much’ included in a Fantasy in regards to not allowing the world to expand on its own and introduce the reader to itself in a  way and pace that is more natural than stuffed to the gills in a method the author created themselves. Still… a world built like this one inspired by the Chinese and cross-applying its Fantasy elements had to make my list for a road less travelled because of how new this story felt to be approached from different angles of entrance within its own Fantasy narrative.

Stronger than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
reviewed by Annemieke @ A Dance With Books

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Ariana: Cultural Fantasy: Japanese

I have come to appreciate reading different cultural heritage novels within the realms of Fantasy myself – I love exploring the Mythos & Legends of cultural specific stories such as Japanese or Chinese stories set in Fantasy worlds because it allows you a different window of entrance into that particular cultural heritage. You also get to see a new perspective due to the inclusive nature of how those stories are told through their cultural heritage and by including their own mythological histories, too. 

Sairō’s Claw by Virginia McClain
reviewed by Ariana @ The Book Nook

I was thinking this might appeal to me as a reader due to the fact I’ve been engrossed in 16th Century Japan through Susan Spann’s Shinobi / Hiro Hattori Mysteries for the past several years now. Through Ariana’s review I was able to gleam enough information to realise that this might be a next read of my own as I personally love the setting and already love the cultural heritage which I was exposed to as a child as my grandparents studied Japanese culture, art and music through their own explorations of those pursuits. I’ve had a deep appreciation for Japan ever since as a result. Although, I must say, when Ariana mentioned there is a wolf spirit my eyes perked up!!

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Jorie: Epic Mythological Fantasy rooted in Classic Mythos
read Jorie’s 1st installment review for Cycles of Norse Mythology

As you might have noticed – over the score of the past several years, I’ve grown deeply attached to Mythological Fantasy as well as Mythos Re-tellings or re-explorations of Classic Mythos as told through fantastical worlds and storylines by the authors I’m choosing to read. This is a new phenom to me as first introduced via another event called #Mythothon created by a dear friend of mine Louise @foxesfairytale of whom I mentioned during my Intro via Insta.

I would have preferred to be further ahead with my readings of ‘Cycles of Norse Mythology’ but it has been a wicked challenging read for me and despite feeling two years behind from my goals with the narrative, I am taking up the adventure again this #WyrdAndWonder and will be releasing my second installment review for the book. Before that happens though, I wanted to highlight what I am enjoying about my journey into this world the author created and what is appealling to me as a reader therein in case others want to take up the journey after me.

Most distinctively I made this observation:

I have learnt one beautiful thing about reading Norse Mythology – Mythology seeks to explain our lives and our universe – how everything is set inside our world and how the organisation of the cosmos is plausible under an ordered structure of how interlocking mechanisms can explain how everything works in harmony to each other. For instance, instead of looking at the sky by daybreak or sunset, to observe where the sun is on the horizon – in Norse Mythology, they carry forward the arrival of the sun and moon through a series of stories about how a Mum and her children occupy the duty of ensuring there is sunlight and moonlight each day as they cycle through their own lives which affect the light as it is seen on the world. This is a beautiful way of seeing the cycles and seasons of life – as there are more than this instance of how Norse Mythology is re-seeing what we understand about life and the philosophical impressions we gather as we live through our lives to where the firmer portrait of what is meant to enlighten us is wrought out through the stories which endeavour to teach us more of what we need to gain to fully be considered enlightened. This is what I believe was the purpose of Odin’s search himself – he wanted to seek a higher level of knowledge over and beyond what was generally respected as being an enlightened person.

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One of my favourite takeaways:

I hadn’t realised the great Yggdrasil tree is a symbol of endurance – to endure what arises through life and to find strength out of adverse pain. The tree itself cannot give voice to what it feels and how it shakes off the pain it is given but the ways in which it continues to thrive despite the odds against it and the ways in which the creatures of this world treat it with indifference due to their own needs coming ahead of the tree’s – is a mark of strength which I can see would encourage all who come to find it. The history now known of this tree encourages you to go straight up to the Yggdrasil and simply give it a wicked good hug and let it know how thankful you are for its courage.

It was a humbling observation how even the Yggdrasil tree was given a gift of support – by the three maidens who take care to see to the tree’s needs. It was a moment of redemption I felt for the tree – to have three guardians watching over the tree in such an intuitive way as to understand what it needed and how best to aide its aches and the hurts it consistently had to endure. This gave me hope that perhaps despite its adverse life, the Yggdrasil would also understand mercy because this is what the maidens gave it – to alleviate and soothe what life had tried to etch out of it.

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My reviews for this particular novel is long & expansive – more of a moving shift of introspective thoughts than a traditional review of mine – as given the content and the shifting landscape of the protagonist we’re privy to following it allows for more bends in the path so to speak in how you can fuse your thoughts and reactions to reading it. I would delight in having others find these installment reviews of mine as they continue to release onto my blog and perhaps start discussions about both the evolving story as I’m discovering it and the greater scope of Norse Mythology. I had wanted to take part in the other blogosphere event which celebrated Mythology – #Norsevember I believe its called? But sadly every November came and went without me making any headway into that particular goal and esp this past November, I was working straight through Halloween until New Year’s without any breaks betwixt and between.

The interesting bit about this kind of Fantasy is it allows a personal journey into an expansive area of Fantasy that is a merge of genre and thematic. It is part Quest and part Adventure and yet it is also a portal through a realm not widely explored, too. I never had the chance to appreciate Mythos when I was younger as it just wasn’t my cuppa – a credit to Louise whose given me the chance to reclaim that part of literature through a new perspective of interest. The depth of how Mythological Fantasy can yield a multi-layered insight into both life & death is also wicked fascinating whilst also endeavouring us to consider topics & subjects of interest we might not have expected Fantasy to broach as well.

This is just one example of an author I’ve read whose crafting creative stories through a lens of Mythological Fantasy whilst endearing all of us to take a less travelled road to re-see what we might have left behind in the corridors of our own past to re-seek now in the future through a window of Mythos & Legends. And, isn’t that the best part of reading Fantasy? To find those hidden less travelled roads?!

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Mythological Fantasy
featured during #WYrdAndWonder:

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Sea of Lost Souls by Emerald Dodge (Urban Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy)

Cassandra by Kathryn Gossow (Mythological Retelling Fantasy)

The Monster Apprentice by Felicity Banks (Middle Grade Fantasy)

The Princess and the Pirate by Felicity Banks (Middle Grade Fantasy)

 Bel Nemeton by Jon Black (Arthurian Legend and Mythological Fantasy)

Dalya and the Magic Ink Bottle by J.M. Everson (Middle Grade Fantasy, Stories of the Jinn)

Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowry Combs (YA Fantasy, Storiers of the Jinn)

Solomon’s Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs (YA Fantasy, Stories of the Jinn)

Cycles of Norse Mythology (Cycle One) by Glenn Searfoss (Norse Mythos)

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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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Wait! There’s more,…

This particular Saturday, we’ve been collectively shouting for JOY the news of our weekly Top Five selections which will be running every *Sunday!* throughout May whilst we are happily revealling our Challenge Post topics as well! These are wickedly delightful prompts which have a lot of leeway of exploring the topic through personal interpretation! Also, rather than having one RAL host this year, we have two: Imyril & Lisa each have selections for readalongs which will appeal to different readers of Fantasy. As I have long known Holly Black isn’t my cuppa, I will be following Imyril down the corridors of her Portal Fantasy instead.

Let me give you some of the particulars in case you’d like to join us!

To scope out our RALs : Imyril & Lisa both brilliantly announce their selections:

Imyril is hosting: The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

Lisa is hosting: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I’m wicked happy there is some portal fantasy being explored this year which also entertains Mythological Fantasy as I’ve truly found a new niche in exploring that side of Fantasy. Knowing we will be following through with the trilogy throughout the year is the sweetest bit of news, I felt! I’ll be picking up a copy to read throughout the RAL!

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Some of my favourite parts of the event are the Prompt Challenges (which I tend to turn into book tags & or similar posts) and the Bingo – wherein I get to challenge myself to think outside the box and celebrate Fantasy as I’ve experienced it. Towards that end – here are the lovely prompts challenging all of us this 5th Year of Wyrd And Wonder:

Wyrd And Wonder Prompt Challenge badge created by Imyril. IMAGE CREDITS: tree wolf image by chic2view on 123RF.com. Badge is used with permission.

And for those of us who want to know what these prompts represent & how they are wickedly open to interpretation – let’s take a closer look @ the prompt notes:

Best Laid Plans: What will you be reading this Wyrd and Wonder?
(in theory. Until we tempt you with other recommendations)

Can’t Wait to Read: Self Explanatory

#TropeTuesday: Enchanted Wood
This year, Tuesdays are all about fantasy tropes we love (to hate)
– and we’re keeping them foresty in honour of our forest fantasy theme!
Let’s start off with our (least) favourite magical forests and glens

Woodland Creatures: Cover art featuring (were)wolves, stags/deer, unicorns, owls,
the Fae or other woodland residents Or: favourite stories featuring woodland creatures; creatures you think of as being particularly fantastic (why?); favourite woodland creature characters

5* Fantasy Reads:
One or more, lifetime loves or recent reads – bonus points for 5 word reviews

Mythic: Time to Celebrate a Subgenre
– whether it’s a retelling or a secondary world that has that mythic feel

Say What? A book featuring a fictional language (or languages)

Small-fry deities, demi-gods and divine helpers who steal the limelight and deserve more love

#MapMonday: Bring us your favourite fantasy maps or maps from your favourite fantasy books

#TropeTuesday: Don’t Leave the Path
Whether you need to cross Mirkwood or navigate the lands of the Fae,
straying from a woodland path can be a dangerous excursion in fantasy realms…
was the hero of your story wise enough to heed the warning?

Weapon of Choice: Cover art prominently featuring weapons (armour / shields count)
Or: What would you choose to wield? Is there a weapon you’d like to see get more action on page?

Step Into Another’s Shoes:
If you could swap lives with a fantasy character, who would you want to be and why?

Epic: Time to Celebrate a Subgenre
– the big one (in scope and page count)

A Book Within A Book:
Nested narratives: a book about a book; or where one character is telling the story to another;
or a book where characters tell each other stories (to pass the time,
or as part of a competition, or as a thinly-veiled excuse to share some exposition

#Shelfie Sunday: Show us your SHELF

Current Read: What has you thoroughly engrossed?

#TropeTuesday: Spirit of Nature
Nature spirits and deities (feel free to extend beyond forests)

Fantasy Landscapes:
What landscapes or locations feel particularly fantastical to you – and why?
Could be (cover) artworks, film / tv locations, places you’ve visited, castles, spooky houses, soaring towers in mountains, beautiful woodland groves, shadowy urban fantasy streets,
pools like portals to other worlds – what makes your imagination sing?

More than Meets the Eye:
Shapeshifters! Werewolves, yokai, rogarou, Fae – illusion or physical shifters are all fair game

Dark: Time to celebrate a subgenre
– choose your path wisely, whether you love grimdark, dark fantasy or horror

#StackSaturday: Show Us Your STACK!

Bite-size Delight:
Short stories and novellas

Book Rainbow: (book spines arranged in the colours of the rainbow)

#TropeTuesday: Forest Guardian
The witch, the woodsman, the (were)wolf pack, the green man
– there’s many types of guardian, which will you celebrate?

Love it OR Loathe It?
What cover art themes / tropes instantly make you pick up a book – or put you off it?

Celebrate the backlist – or midlist – or a classic
– or just something you haven’t talked about for a year or two

Portal Fantasy: Time to Celebrate a Subgenre
Time to celebrate a subgenre – visiting other worlds (especially ones with woods in them!)

Imaginary Verse:
A favourite fantasy poem or song (from a book or written as stand-alone Speculative Poetry)

Spine Poetry:
Make your own poem or story from the titles of books on your shelf

Wyrd And Wonderful:
A book that you were introduced to during (this or a previous) Wyrd and Wonder

Favourite Wyrd And Wonder Read:
what have you loved most this May?

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Which of these prompts has you excited!?
What do you think you’ll be doing to celebrate them!?

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Visit Annemieke to click-through our introductions via Insta : which reminds me, if your following us via @WyrdAndWonder on Insta be sure to like/comment on our posts! We’re just starting to make headway into that space this year with Ariana & Annemieke creating the content which is running on our Insta feeds! Remember to give those  posts a bit of love in the chase-up to May and throughout the event, too!

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Ariana gave a great recapture of ALL that is happening this #WyrdAndWonder – whilst giving you the chance to get signal flare your own adventure, too! And, as I focused on the prompt challenge notes today, my fellow co-hosts also disclosed our Top Five Sunday prompts for those who want to featured a select group of topics on the Sundays in May!

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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.
Want to pre-schedule your blog & socials? – Add your content to the Master Schedule!

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, 5 March, 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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