#FantasticFives during #WyrdAndWonder | Jorie’s Top Five Stories from @WyrdAndWonder

Posted Sunday, 1 May, 2022 by jorielov 4 Comments

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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!!

What an EPIC Sunday this has been for me and my team behind Wyrd And Wonder! We’ve cheerfully have been announcing our lovely event whilst watching as all routes of the socially bookish took to their preferred platforms and started sharing their content as well! This also included #booktok (ie. TikTok) for the first time, too! Imagine!? And, we thought launching ourselves onto #bookstagram this year was an incredible feat for our 5th Year.

Every Sunday, your fantastical co-hosts: Imyril, Lisa, Annemieke, Ariana and I are going to be tackling one of the #FantasticFives topics – sharing our responses on our respective blogs and endearing you to join us on yours! We’d love to get feedback on our individual posts as well as this is a new feature for our 5th Year. Remember – if you do choose to tackle these alongside us you’ll have to either comment on our blog(s) or add your link to the Master Schedule which is linked below this post.

As you might realise condensing my responses to ‘five’ might prove difficult as that is one reason I have oft opted out of participating in #TopTenTuesday due to the frustrations of trying to limit my responses to a mere ‘ten’ but this time round I think I might luck out as my readings into Fantasy have increased since I’ve been co-hosting Wyrd And Wonder – to the level, I might in some instances only have *five!* responses to give to a topic! Isn’t that brilliant?

Now let’s get into today’s chosen topic of interest.

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Fantastic Top Fives : Week One’s Topic

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Top Five Fantasies I’ve Read During #WyrdAndWonder

A year is a long time in reading – what amazing fantasy titles have you enjoyed since last May? If you’ve been on a fantasy-light reading diet recently, how about five books you read during previous Wyrd and Wonders; or five fantasies that have been released since last May that you really want to read?

– as described by Imyril @ Theres Always Room For One More

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The Magic Cup by Howard BeharYear One: The Magic Cup by Howard Behar (short story)

Other aspects which illustrated the fantastical are the blown-glass sculptured beings who are evocative in their own rights for being magical creatures who are inserted into an Urban Fantasy world! This novella truly is elemental of an Urban Fantasy, as we are taking ourselves ‘outside’ the contemporary setting of the Verity Glassworks whilst being inserted into this quasi-parallel world of where everything Steadfast and his troupe of believers is experiencing is slightly outside our known existence. The sculptured beings are beautifully described by Behar – in fact, these became some of my favourite passages due to the nature of how Fantasy, nature and the intrinsic descriptive insight into how the natural world views our own humanity can become insightful for the arching overlays between the quest of Steadfast and the future of Verity Glassworks.

As relating back to Fantasy, if you read Urban Fantasy, you know the ‘magic’ is set against a known world background – where our living realities are cross-bent against a world built out of fantastical portions of where dimensionally we’re not ‘in the same place’ but we are being ‘tricked’ to believe we ‘are’. It’s the same experience – whether in film or fiction – there are nuanced ways of seeing something just outside our understanding and dimensional time-line – thus, as you first dig into The Magic Cup your not entirely believing you’ve crossed into a ‘new world’ as it feels and looks wholly authentic to our everyday world.

-quoted from my review of The Magic Cup

I was truly blown away by the artistry of how this story was told – especially to be a Short Form Fantasy story and yet, the wings of the story itself took you into this ‘otherworld’ as soon as you started to find the fantastical amongst the ordinary! It is stories like this one which allow us to re-examine our own boundaries of what Fantasy can become defined as being inclusive whilst it also re-harnesses the ability to find Fantasy in different interpretive shapes and trans-fixations of thought. I will still never quite forget the creatures made of glass and how exciting it was to read this for the first time and never fully realise what was ‘coming next’ – the only disappointment for me was the ending. Yet, it has still remained a top favourite read of mine for the last five years!

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Year Two: Sea of Lost Souls by Emerald Dodge

Sea of Lost Souls by Emerald Dodge

A lot of niches within Speculative Fiction explore this hidden world between where the living and the dead cross each others path. Where you can go from one existence into the other and either continue to cross back and forth; or simply occupy one space or the other after a particular transition which took you away from the life you had been living prior to a change in circumstance. I wasn’t entirely sure how Dodge would handle this transition in her story which is setting the tone for a new series but I was wholly intrigued as would it feel organic and intrinsic to the context of what came before that segue?

I felt Dodge handled this segue well – mostly as her knowledge of the military and the goings on with crew is quite brilliantly executed. She nailed the aestheticism of ship life and of how what persons serving on carriers in different eras would look like to one another. She also gave a gravity of purpose to their work – showcasing how each person was just as dedicated to do a good job as they had been in their regular lives – in this new altered state of living. It felt real because it was real – everything to these characters was as real as the breath that they once breathed and that came through solidly in how Dodge approached writing the story.

One of the best choices I felt Dodge made with Rachel Goldstein is she rooted her faith in Judaism which added more layers of insight not only into Rachel as a person but the concept of the afterlife from a non-Christian perspective which fit in well with the Mythos of the world. The more you read between the layers of this novel, the more beauty you find by what Dodge left behind for you to find, cherish and treasure.

-quoted from my review of Sea of Lost Souls

When it came to selecting a story from our second year – there were others which were vying for me to speak up on their behalf – including “To Court A Queen” by H.L. Burke (see also Review) and of course my first entry into INSPY Fantasy through reading the first two novels of a trilogy by Morgan L. Busse! And, yet, the one which stood out to me was Sea of Lost Souls because of how it was told and how the world within this series was built. It is such an extraordinary journey and you have a wordsmith at the helm of the series who knows not only how to layer the fantastical into the background of the story *but!* she has this incredible vision of how the series needs to be told! I was so captivated by it – intrigued by the overtures of what you’re left with feeling is the ‘next chapter’ in the series itself and of course, beguiled by it all at the same time! You just can’t put this book down and the ache I have for a sequel is INTENSE! (to say the least!)

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Year Three: Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster

As Foster starts to pull us closer into her Fantasy – where the ordinary bits of this world start to fall into the fantastical – she does it with a measure of grace for being artfully intuitive to Esme. The girl is awash in grief and although she doesn’t dissolve completely in a state of unrest – she has the added burdens of being charged into a new family environment which psychologically is causing its own kind of harm. I appreciated how we started to ‘shed’ the tether this part of Esme’s world had on her as we re-shift forward into where the fantastical starts to intercept with her path. It was here as we gently make those changes in perspective we see how Foster is guiding us towards understanding more about the history of Esme’s Mum’s life and the women of her family as well. There is a strong sense of lineage and familial ties leading us backwards in time as if we are unravelling her living histories bit by bit and gaining empathy and compassion for her family as we do.

Esme lived in an archipelago – a series of islands wherein the ocean was not just her closest comfort but it was also the lifeblood of this area. I’ve been drawn to stories set round these locales in the past and I personally love reading about the ocean and/or the mountains (as both are of equal delight) whenever I am visually being taken elsewhere in a story – however, this world has a hidden veil to it. Where you can feel the truth of what is here but you cannot yet see it for yourself. It hides in the shadows of what people are saying and what they are holding back from disclosing – or to put it in a more contemporary way, it is almost as if Esme’s great-grandmother Lucinda, her Mum Ariane and Esme herself are part of a community of whom see a different part of reality. Either that, or they are not of this world at all and are trying to blend in wherein they simply have to find courage to be themselves.

The story turns into a lovely Portal Fantasy – where we first start to see Esme’s regular world exchange itself for a full viewing of Esperance. A city set in a world which is innately enchanted and yet it holds many secrets of its own – for me, the beauty of her first discovery is how wickedly oceanic this world is situated!

You can barely make out what is flying in the sky on the cover art for Esme’s Wish – however, those are dragons and there are dragons in this world! I felt the artwork on the cover is such a critical one to have because it not only gives you a wonderful glimpse into what Esme’s about to find for herself but it gives you a visual clue about how this world is a wondrous discovery for ourselves. Just the fact the dragons are free and flying wherever they wish to go warmed my own heart!

As I reached into this world to see where it would take me, I was left with a reverence for loyalty, determination and the courage of how if you remain pure in your pursuit of something you’re seeking a resolution you are not expecting could become your future blessing. It is a world crafted by the Gods of Greek lore – of a world far removed from its own origins but not too far removed to where their traditions are still intact. It is a world on the brink of being found – if for the first time in a way that befits its own legacy. In essence, if you pull back the layers of the story where Esme fits into the timeline, you’ll find Aeolia has something remarkable to share with you.

-quoted from my review of Esme’s Wish

I read this during (2020) which was the year I had the lovely chance to interview authors from Foster’s publisher Odyssey Books! It was a wonderful walk-through discussion of their writerly styles and their lovely worlds — all of which I am slowly digesting each new Wyrd And Wonder. I have more on my TBR this year in other words! I sort of left the heavier stories for this year – as last May, I couldn’t quite motivate myself to read Darker Fantasy. When it comes to Foster’s novel – I felt fully immersive into the world and being a Portal Fantasy, I was OVERJOYED. I do not oft find those kinds of Fantasy stories and this one was brilliantly EPIC in its scope. Don’t let the Middle Grade label for it fool you – this is a hearty story to chew on as an adult and for those who love a bit of Mythos in their Fantasy – you simply won’t want to put this one down.

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Year Four: Mean Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

Mean Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

Even in the throes of chaos, Ms Chris has a way of etching out just enough comedic sequences to downplay the terror and gives us just enough humour to keep us in smiles whilst the worst plays out before our eyes. Skye lives in a world where despite the urban setting of Indianapolis she is constantly being pushed into the world outside the veil of our own environments. In this way, as I’ve read Rosemary and Rue since I read Restless Spirit – she has the same knack for owning the niche of Urban Fantasy as McGuire. In fact, I know now its due to reading this series which opened the door for me to embrace October Daye.

One thing I LOVE about how Ms Chris writes the action sequences in her stories is how extraordinary these adventures become because her characters get to do things most of us could never do in our own realities. Such as drive through gates, ignore traffic signals and otherwise get into a bit of mischief and mayhem whilst trying to save the day, the world or someone’s life. Skye has a propensity for having trouble find her in the same ways trouble finds October Daye. And, therein lies the truer reason why I know why Urban Fantasy appeals to me as much as it does – it is a wonderfully refreshing segue into stories which have roots in mythologies, legends or lore but the writers re-spin those tales and otherworldly references into cheeky exploits of adventurous fiction wrapped inside an Urban Fantasy wrapping.

I definitely recommend a new reader into the world of this series to also read the Road Ghosts series – as there are overlays and cross-references to both series. The characters also overlap and there is such a synergy of companionship, it is worth seeking out. You nearly feel wrapped up in a sea of loss by the time you conclude it, too. The grief of knowing this series had to have its final chapter but with the hope of perhaps revisiting these characters in future is what makes it such a satisfying ending. Even if they were simply to stop here at this junction of their lives without any further adventures, you’ll feel as satisfied as I had once you’ve reached the final page – because Ms Chris definitely knows how to leave the series full of joy for her readers!

Part of this story brokered on Lite Horror and parts of it were hard to take-on because I have felt so emotionally connected to this series start to finish. You get invested into Skye’s life and because of that, everything that she feels you feel as well. At the back of this tale though is a romance – as Skye has been trying to find both herself and a balance in life which isn’t limited to her duties in the otherworld which begs her to return at a whim. For Skye, family – the one she’s found and cobbled together over the years and the romance she shared with Annabelle are her homing beacons. She was never one to trust easily but there is something to be said for finding unconditional love and support at moments where life doesn’t give you time to blink. I felt the ending in this third installment was the best possible outcome for the journey we’ve taken into the series.

Ms Chris has incredible continuity – not just through the Tipsy Fairy Tale series but through all the stories which interconnect into this series as well. It is quite the large universe of stories and characters (as the Road Ghosts series is inter-threaded as well) – seeing how she’s brought everyone back to centre in this story was just wicked brilliant! I even loved seeing Frannie again as I felt she had a bum rap all along and it was good to see her step into her own so to speak at the height of the frenzy! I am so grateful I had the chance to read Blue Spirit all those years ago because it lead me into a series I am blessed to have read start to finish.

-quoted from my review of Mean Spirit

I have been a part of this world for such a long time – in fact, I’ve known the author for nearly the full nine years I’ve been a book blogger this 2022 that having the chance to finish reading one of her series last Wyrd And Wonder was such a BIG blessing for me as a reader! I was so dearly engrossed into Skye’s life, this last installment of the trilogy was an emotional read which at times took me by surprise because I had thought I knew what to expect out of that last story! It is a series which grabs at your heart but also let’s you take this wild ride through an Urban Fantasy series which has as much twists and turns as any other Suspense novel you’d read! I loved being on the edge of my seat and mostly, I dearly wanted things to work out for Skye. She’d gone through so much and I felt as if I had lived every inch of those adventures alongside her – you just want a character you’ve loved for so long to find their happier for now ending. Mum’s the word on how it concludes – you won’t get that out of me! Ha. All I can say is it was very satisfying way to conclude our fourth year!

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& The Fighter of Aldea by Kira Weston

The Fighter of Aldea by Kira Weston

Interestingly enough, it is the choice in year which I was struck by most – Weston used the year (2020) when Aldea experienced their great Shift as it is referenced. It struck me dearly because of course in our own reality and timeline that marked a year of great change for the world. Not an electrical shift but it definitely put public health and choices in personal social engagements into focus as much as how some basic necessities in public hygiene and cleanliness had grown lax or disappeared completely due to complacency. In other words, Aldea might have shifted two hundred years into a continuous non-electrical future but the truer curiosity is what has our world shifted into now? This is another layer of reason why I love Speculative Fiction and the questions those stories propose to us all to contemplate.

There is a beautiful analogy shared between Daniel and Lydia about how blessed they are for the world in which Aldea exists compared to the world in which their ancestors had known themselves; considering the end of war, technological advanced societies and the ceasefire of crimes by way of conventional weapons which are no longer manufactured in their timeline due to the erasure of electric and technologic engineering. It showed how sometimes living without is a better gain than to live with everything where there is neither want or need but simply a surplus of whatever can become invented and constructed. Whether positive or negative or in the marked margins betwixt and between; sometimes, the future you cannot foresee which alters a course of History might be the better future in which to thrive. At least, this is what I was deducing by the conversation these two friends had shared – both through their thoughts, their conversation and their memories. Except of course, no future is perfect and theirs has a hidden secret nemesis which I felt might re-hinge their world into a precarious balance between light and dark inasmuch as any other era and generation had to fight through themselves.

Weston anchours us so brilliantly into Lydia and Daniel’s lives wherein she makes a strong impression on the reader about this world of Aldea. Of the checks and balances in place to protect everyone’s livelihood and the order of life therein to be a fail safe to prevent the tragedies of past centuries before the Shift. In doing so, she elongates out the revelations about the magic systems in this setting – though she had mentioned it is elemental magic, wherein the bearers of the magic themselves control one to three or more elements in their arsenal and can use those elements to create flames and balls of energy which then are cast outward of their palms. It is how you use that kind of magic that sets in motion the kind of sorcerer you are and of which morals you adhere too.

This novel ends on a cliffhanger – which generally I take grievance with as I want to know more about the next sequences of the story quite quickly when it could take years to have those next installments published. However, what was satisfying about how this first novel concluded is all the remarkable changes and reveals at the end! I was quite shocked in some ways about Daniel’s hidden gift but part of me questioned if there was more to the magic system in this world. Weston didn’t entirely explain how it all works – how those with latent talent develop their gifts vs those who were already bourne knowing they were elementals. It gives a lot of leeway for Weston and gives me more curious thoughts to contemplate!

-quoted from my review of The Fighter of Aldea

By the ending chapters, I KNEW there wasn’t enough pages to satisfy me — once I reached the ending, I immediately queued up the browser to see if the sequel had been released. Sadly, it had not but the encouraging words I received from the author after she saw my thoughts on her novel warmed my heart! Whenever I am writing about a story, I tend to consider it a conversation with the writer as it feels more like a discussion than an essay or traditional review. The observations I make and my reactions as I’m reading their stories feels like something they should read and know about, too. I knew by her response there is a sequel coming – but goodness! If I felt leaving the world as I saw it within Emerald Dodge’s novel was going to be gutting – NOTHING prepared me from feeling disconnected from this Low Fantasy series! And, that was another thing which surprised me – I don’t tend to read Low Fantasy but this novel was a bar above in my opinion!

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And, there you have it!

My #FantasticFives #WyrdAndWonder Reads!

Did you respond to this week’s #FantasticFives?

IF so, kindly leave me a link and a note in the comments!!

Also, ahead of sharing this lovely response of mine, I disclosed:

It is a Wyrd And Wonder’ful Weekend!

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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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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Magic Cup” was provided by the publisher Hachette Book Group Inc. and is used with permission. Cover art of “Esme’s Wish” provided by Odyssey Books and is used with permission. Cover art of “Sea of Lost Souls” was provided by Emerald Dodge and is used with permission. Cover art of “Mean Spirit” was provided by E. Chris Garrison and is used with permission. Cover art of “The Fighter of Aldea” was provided by Kira Weston and is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Wyrd And Wonder 2022 banners and badges, as well as the Fantastic Fives banner and the Wyrd and Wonderful Reads banner created by Imyril (Image Credit: tree wolf image by chic2view on 123RF.com) and is used with permission. Wyrd And Wonder Bingo Card (5th Year) created by Imyril whilst crediting the artists under the graphic and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #TopFiveSaturday (Wyrd And Wonder edition) badge and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

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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 Sunday, 1 May, 2022 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Jorie Loves A Story, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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4 responses to “#FantasticFives during #WyrdAndWonder | Jorie’s Top Five Stories from @WyrdAndWonder

  1. Sea of Lost Souls- what an awesome cover!

    And I LOVE stories set in archipelagoes. There’s something about an aquatic world, with scarce land- the challenges but also the stark beauty of an oceanic world.

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #450
  2. Athena

    Omg I loved Esme’s Wish and the sequel too, I have never seen anyone else mention it before!! What a lovely choice!

    • Hallo, Hallo Athena!

      Shh! Guess whose re-reading Esme’s Wish in order to reconnect into the world this Wyrd And Wonder? As I am reading Esme’s Gift this May?!

      No one has mentioned the series to me either – I am on pins awaiting the announcement of the third installment. You might enjoy the interview series I did with all the Odyssey Books authors from May, 2020! I need to do a #FlashbackFriday or #ThrowbackThursday post this month about the guest features I’ve hosted during the past Wyrd And Wonders. Eek. I’m as THRILLED as you are someone else out there knows this series!! Wow. I tend to read books no one else is chattering about — thank you for leaving me this kind note!

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