Category: Book Review (non-blog tour)

#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Tiger Lily” by Wende Dikec with a small extract from this YA Paranormal Romantic Urban Fantasy!

Posted Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I crossed paths with this Speculative Fiction author in the twitterverse, as we would regularly converse about various literary and bookish topics. Quite randomly, truly, and then, I remember she offered me to read this novel of hers which I was excited about at the time. I can’t remember exactly what took me away from reading it closer to when it arrived as this is part of my backlogue of reviews – where a few years ago I simply lost traction with my review requests and had to put them on a backburner. Last year, during #WyrdAndWonder, this was one of the books I was meaning to read and showcase – however, due to health reasons I had to push it forward til our 2nd Year.

I received a complimentary copy of “Tiger Lily” direct from the author Wende Dikec (now known as Abigail Drake) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

What first drew my attention
into wanting to read “TIger Lily”:

I know. YA can be really dark and gritty now, can’t it? I don’t write that way. Someone called my book “Legally Blonde meets The Sixth Sense”. It’s actually more of a funny book than a scary book. – Wende Dikec / Abigail Drake response to my initial enquiry

Before I agreed to accept Tiger Lily for review, I wanted to enquire about what I would find inside the book itself as I have had a propensity for being particularly particular about the kind of Young Adult and/or Middle Grade stories I accept for review consideration. I’ve been burnt a few too many times in the past – to where either the undertone ran too dark for me or the overall gist of the novel was delving into deeper and darker waters than the ones I would prefer to tread upon.

My biggest concern for this YA novel was what set it apart from the pack, how did it tackle the Speculative aspects of its story-line and was it a gritty book or was it simply a light-hearted paranormally inclined YA story which anchoured itself well into the niche I call #SpecFic?

When I receive this response from the author, I knew I would alright picking up the story and seeing where it would take me. One of my favourite kinds of paranormal stories are GHOST STORIES – this is a parallel interest of mine, as they’re not just in PNR (ie. Paranormal Romance) narratives or in Urban Fantasy niches of interest (which happens to be my preferred sub-genre) – they can become inclusive to Cosy Horror, Gothic Literature and other genres of note including Historical Suspense or Psychological Suspense narratives wherein you can parlay a ghost story into the background of nearly any story you wish to direct the reader’s attention. The truth in the pudding for me is how the writer handles the discourse from there and augments our perspective not just strictly on the ghost themselves but on the overall world-building therein.

When she assured me there wasn’t any strong language, that the story itself was rather tame and innocent – appealling to readers between 13-16 years (but would benefit a broader audience outside that range), I knew I had found the right story to be reading.

Of course, her greatest compliment to me is when she said “feels like a Jorie story”.

For #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 – it felt rather fitting I would be reading Tiger Lily as this isn’t the only ghost story I’ll be showcasing this May! Ironically or not, a few other ‘ghosts’ snuck into my TBR for the event and I couldn’t be more delighted! I definitely have wanted to dig inside this novel ever since it first reached me in [2016] and I am very thankful I could finally put my heart round it to see what was awaiting me as the years shifted forward.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Tiger Lily Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Tiger Lily
by Abigail Drake
Source: Direct from Author

Lily Madison thought dying because of a bad manicure was the worst thing that could happen.
She was wrong.

Waking up in the hospital and realizing she’s being stalked by an entire herd of naughty little ghosts turns her entire world upside down. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes she isn’t alone. A Goth girl, named Zoe, can see the ghosts, too.

Most of the ghosts look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He’s a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick. Although they dislike each other on sight, Nick soon realizes Lily is his only hope. With the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she has only days to get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world will be in terrible danger.

But sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, and Lily isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to let him go.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781939590770

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, YA Paranormal Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Inkspell Publishing

on 28th January, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 200

Published by: Inkspell Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

The author included a small extract for my readers:

Mr. Wan raised one bushy gray eyebrow and peered at me over his spectacles. “Do you have a problem now, with ghosts?” he asked quietly, not that Miss Lin or her customer could have heard him. She’d moved onto complaining loudly about cauliflower now.

My mouth dropped open in shock. “How did you know?”

Mr. Wan sighed, and put the brush into the bottle of polish, swishing it back and forth as if trying to think about how to answer. “Once, when I was a young boy in my village in China, the same thing happened. A girl died, and then came back to life. We were all so happy, until we realized that she hadn’t come back alone.”

“What do you mean?” My fingers were still extended over the soft white towel that separated us on the table. I couldn’t move. I could hardly breathe.

Mr. Wan grabbed my left hand and went back to work, talking as he painted. “When you cross over the barrier between life and death, things sometimes follow you back. They might be ghosts, or they might be something else. Either way it is a problem for you.”

About Abigail Drake

National award winning author Abigail Drake (previously known as Wende Dikec writes Young Adult Speculative Fiction with romantic and humorous elements. An avid traveller who spent many years abroad, she now lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons, a puppy named Capone, and a very well used espresso machine.

NOTE: The following links for this author are a combination of what I had previously for "Wende Dikec" and what I found recently for "Abigail Drake" as she has changed the name she's using as a writer. I have the previously released version of "Tiger Lily" which I read for this review as it was part of my backlogue. The Book Site takes you to the NEW listing for "Tiger Lily" via GoodReads.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Near-Death Experience, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Urban Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

#EnterTheFantastic this #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review for “Heir to the Lamp” (Book One: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Posted Thursday, 9 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: A few years ago now, I started to review for World Weaver Press – until I reached the day where my focus on the stories I was receiving for review fell by the wayside. A lot of this had to do with my personal health, the recovery of my father’s stroke and other things which bring adversity into your life which can and will affect your readerly life. I cannot remember exactly what first took me away from reading “Heir to the Lamp” or the sequel “Solomon’s Bell” – however, I did attempt to read them at various moments throughout the past few years including shortly after I received “Solomon’s Bell” for which I posted a Cover Reveal and Extract.

This #WyrdAndWonder, I wanted to redeem myself a bit by getting back into the stories I attempted to read last year but due to the migraines and other issues I was having with my health, I was unable to complete my reading schedule for the event. This is one of the series I was most eager to read and am thankful I can finally focus on during our 2nd Year of Wyrd and Wonder. As I know there are other readers who are following or joining the event directly who appreciate Magical Realism and/or stories of the Jinn as much as I do. Perhaps they will find a new author through my ruminations and as always, I hope whenever I feature a story or anthology by World Weaver Press – word will continue to get out about this lovely Indie Publisher for Speculative Fiction!

I received a complimentary copy of “Heir to the Lamp” direct from the publisher World Weaver Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I admit it, ever since I met a ‘Golem’ & a ‘Jinni’, I’ve been intrigued by Magical Realism stories involving the Jinn!:

I must admit, I had such a wicked sweet time residing inside the world of Helene Wecker’s epic saga involving a Jinn and Golem, I was quite hopeful I might have been able to dig inside a few more since that fateful day I brought home her debut novel from my local library. The irony of course will not be lost on devout readers and bibliophiles alike who are now earnestly blogging their readerly lives (such as I am) when I state it took me until ‘now’ to find the proper time to give to another story of the Jinn – as we eagerly still await the sequel to Wecker’s novel.

When it comes to world-building in a Young Adult novel, I am quite particular about what I’m seeking out (if this YA review can clue you in a bit) as I like to feel as if I’ve properly been transported ‘elsewhere’ to such a degree of certainty – the experience knits itself into your mind’s eye and extends itself into your permanent memories. Because stories which give us that curious stretch of imaginative blissitude allow us the smallest of joys to step into the threshold of someone elses shoes and live their life for a spell!

I find myself drawn more into epic sagas & layered world-buildings in Fantasy; I have recently (since I’ve been a book blogger) found I lean more towards Science Fiction or Sci-Fantasy releases but at the heart of what I love most are Magical Realism stories alongside a fairy-tale re-telling, a legend of lore or an Epic Fantasy that simply carts you off into the depth of a novel that is so wickedly long in length you might need a month or so to fully invest yourself into it’s folds. (herein I am hinting towards my soon-to-be shared readings of “A Turn of Light”; writ by a favourite Sci-Fi author of mine: Ms Czerneda)

My appreciation of genies truly goes back to the infamous television series – where an astronaut and a genie fall in love whilst trying to ‘fit & blend into contemporary life’ – to such great folly you cannot help but laugh along with the characters or feel their misery when things go terribly wrong! Since then, I try to turn my eye towards literature and root out stories of the Jinn (and nowadays golems) which have the depth of journey and an honest world built out of their legends where story-crafters entreat to take us.

Thus, when I heard there was a sequel to “Heir to the Lamp”, I knew it was time to put aside my readings of Ms Parrish’s delish anthologies and hold off on the murderous kitchen novella, to see how Ms Combs has chosen to alight us inside her world!

-previously disclosed on the Cover Reveal w/ Notes for the sequel to Heir to the Lamp

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#EnterTheFantastic this #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review for “Heir to the Lamp” (Book One: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery CombsHeir to the Lamp
Subtitle: Genie Chronicles Book One
by Michelle Lowery Combs
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Sarena Ulibarri
Source: Direct from Publisher

A family secret, a mysterious lamp, a dangerous Order with the mad desire to possess both. Ginn thinks she knows all there is to know about how she became adopted by parents whose number one priority is to embarrass her with public displays of affection, but that changes when a single wish starts a never-ending parade of weirdness marching through her door the day she turns thirteen. Gifted with a mysterious lamp and the missing pieces from her adoption story, Ginn tries to discover who…or what…she really is. That should be strange enough, but to top it off Ginn’s being hunted by the Order of the Grimoire, a secret society who’ll stop at nothing to harness the power of a real genie.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 9780615813424

Also by this author:

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism, YA Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by World Weaver Press

on 16th July, 2013

Pages: 190

Published By: World Weaver Press (@WorldWeaver_wwp)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

The Genie Chronicles series:

Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs

Genre(s): Speculative | Young Adult | Fantasy | Lore & Legends

the Jinn (or Jinnis or Genies) | Adoption

Similar Reads: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (see also Review)

About Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities.

When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 9 May, 2019 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Equality In Literature, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Speculative Fiction, World Weaver Press, Young Adult Fiction

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book one] “The Witchiest Circus on Earth” by Leeanne Reeds

Posted Friday, 3 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Leanne Leeds – of whom has penned a rather interesting Cosy Mystery series – wherein her lead character is a witch and the whole series is rooted out of her love of carnivals and her past experience of them. What intrigued me the most is how this is a Paranormal Fantasy Cosy series and I was thinking it would make a perfect series to curl up inside during #WyrdAndWonder!!

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Witchiest Circus on Earth” direct from the author Leanne Leeds in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Something wicked came this way during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

Turnt out – one of the authors who drew my eye towards her quirky series called the Magical Midway was Leanne Leeds! Here was an author penning Cosy Mysteries (love, love, LOVE those dearly!) with a quirk of a twist – she sets them at a circus with a full bevy of characters you’d expect to find at a circus whilst having this full backdrop of paranormal characters rounding out the cast!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book one] “The Witchiest Circus on Earth” by Leeanne ReedsWitchiest Circus on Earth
Subtitle: Magical Midway Cozy Paranormal Mysteries Book One
by Leanne Leeds
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

Magic under the big top.
Murder under investigation.
Can a non-practicing witch save the family business and live to see the encore?

Charlotte never had the choice to follow in her family’s magical footsteps. Her parents decided decades ago to live amongst the humans and leave the mystical circus far behind. But when her ringmaster uncle is murdered and wills her the family’s magical business, she feels the pull to step back under the big top. As she harnesses the awesome powers of the enchanted performance, she vows to bring her uncle’s killer to justice.

In the midst of juggling her investigation, running the show, and navigating rival groups of carnies, the human-phobic Witches Council schemes to replace her faster than a flying trapeze. With threats coming from both sides of the tent, Charlotte must unmask her uncle’s murderer before the legendary circus takes its final bow.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1950505012

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by Badchen Publishing

on 5th April, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 280

Published by: Badchen Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

The Magical Midway series:

The Magical Midway series is a paranormal cozy mystery series with eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, sweet romance subplots, and twisty mysteries. If you like eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, and twisty mysteries, then you’ll love this paranormal cozy mystery.

Be sure to visit the Synopsis for these stories on the author’s site!

Charlotte & Aidan (prequel short) | Synopsis

The Witchest Circus on Earth (book one) | Synopsis

Life on the Lion (book two) | Synopsis

Unbearable Magic (book three) | Synopsis

Go for the Juggler (book four) | Synopsis

Irrelephant Omens (book five) | Synopsis

→ A Call to Charms (book six) *forthcoming 2019 | Synopsis

About Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds writes sweet, fun, often romantic but always fast-paced paranormal mysteries, fantasies, and romances. She lives in rural Texas with her husband, daughter, and a house full of cats that would sound like Samson if they could talk.

----

Letter to Readers

Thanks for visiting this book blogger whose reading my stories during #WyrdAndWonder! (be sure to follow the tag in the twitterverse for her updates!) I guess you want to know a bit more than the standard blurb above, hmm?

Well, okay then.

I wrote my first book when I was eight years old – it was, essentially, Trixie Belden fan fiction. Written in pencil and stapled together with a sketch on the front, I was quite proud of my ragged chapbook of a mystery. The desire to write books followed me all the way to The College of Staten Island, where I majored in English with an option in Writing…

…until I dropped out to join the circus. Because, like, why not?

Okay, well, not the circus. I was a production assistant for a stage hypnotist as well as a carnie worker in a variety of food joints touring the Eastern seaboard fair circuit. The experience was relatively short but incredibly impactful on my worldview. Though I went limping back to my apartment in New York broke and had to get a “real job”, I maintained a lifelong fascination with eccentric, alternative and extraordinary lifestyles.

This came in handy in my forties when I was laid off from a large publicly traded company in the middle of mass-layoffs that massacred the careers of nearly everyone I knew—at least for a short time. It was a frustrating end to a 20+ year career in an industry I had once loved but which I now… didn’t. That experience made me realize that I was ready to leave my twenty plus years in management and tech and do something different.

I returned to my childhood dreams of being an eccentric storyteller and living my best weird life. The Magical Midway series was written as a nod to my experience with the showman of the east coast, and their incredible influence on me. I have plans for more paranormal-themed cozies, fantasies, and romances as time goes on, and I tend to produce one book every 2-3 months. These have minimal sexual content (in case that’s important to you).

For dedicated fans, there will always be at least a week-long 99¢ pre-order phase on new books as a thank you. These are announced on the newsletter only, so if you’re interested in getting every future ebook under a buck, sign up!

Thanks for going on this journey with me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 3 May, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Witches and Warlocks