Category: Book Spotlight

A #PubDay Stories in the Spotlight | [the stories on Jorie’s readerly radar] feat. notes and an extract of “Breathing Underwater” by Sarah Allen

Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I am a HUGE champion of Middle Grade Fiction! I started to re-immerse myself into this wonderful landscape of stories through my local library in [2008] when I realised how many wicked wonderful authors were publishing the kind of stories I would have itched to have been able to read whilst I was a Middle Grade reader in elementary school! These are the stories which are either set in Contemporary or Historical worlds enriched by the breadth of their character’s journeys and leveraged with emotional conviction by their writers.

I had intended to interview this lovely author for the blog tour – however, whilst I started working full-time after a long hiatus this February and was re-adjusting to working after being my Dad’s carer for the past five years since his stroke – it took me away from my blog and left me a bit out of hours to complete some of the interviews I had planned to feature this Spring. Thereby, I was grateful to Xpresso for helping me feature an extract for this lovely release instead today!

Being that is is #MiddleGradeMarch – I had hoped to release some of the reviews I had planned to champion last year (see also Post) whilst talking about the new ones I’ve been finding on #bookTwitter and/or through my local library which has been a wicked wonderful resource for me in discovering the latest #MiddleGrade releases which capture my bookish eye of curiosity! You will be seeing a few of those coming up during #WyrdAndWonder this May – keep your eyes on @WyrdAndWonder via Twitter for announcements and the event’s feeds wherein everyone in the book blogging community who joins us for our 4th Year of celebrating Fantasy will be having features, reviews and other content on their blogs throughout May, 2021.

Be sure to read the extract and my thoughts about the story to see if this perhaps might wink an interest into your own readerly wanderings this year! And, let’s all take a moment to give a shout of joy to our beautiful Middle Grade authors who still enchant us with their stories as adults! As all stories are for all readers!!

Remember – brew your favourite cuppa and enjoy your stay!

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A #PubDay Stories in the Spotlight | [the stories on Jorie’s readerly radar] feat. notes and an extract of “Breathing Underwater” by Sarah AllenBreathing Underwater
by Sarah Allen
Source: Chapter Sampler

Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.

Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way.

All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0374313258

Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

on 30th March, 2021

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

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Converse on Twitter via: #BreathingUnderwater as well as #MGLit and #MiddleGrade

About Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen has been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and on WritersDigest. She has an MFA from Brigham Young University. Like Libby in her novel What Stars are Made Of, Allen was born with Turner Syndrome.

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Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Blitz, Book Spotlight, Xpresso Book Tours

A #HistFic Book Spotlight | “The Steel Beneath the Silk” (Book Three, Emma of Normandy series) by Patricia Bracewell

Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Steel Beneath the Silk” direct from the author Patricia Bracewell in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I had the best of intentions – I was able to borrow the first two novels in the Emma of Normandy series via my local library a few months ahead of this blog tour. However, due to circumstances and a major life shift (wherein I am now working full-time) – I honestly lost the hours I needed to full dissolve myself into this series Ms Bracewell has crafted for us to read. From the moment I picked up “The Steel Beneath the Silk” – as it first arrived by postal mail, I knew this was a series which required patience and time – as she writes immersive Historical Fiction with the kind of accuracy you crave when you want to tuck back into a setting and timescape you haven’t previously read to the level of clarify only Bracewell can provide!

Realising I was running out of time to move through this trilogy with the attention it required, I decided to run a spotlight of the novel instead. Knowing I’d be entering into this trilogy on its magnus opus – the end of a cumulative journey I wish I could have taken this Winter. I am hoping to re-borrow the books and re-begin this final chapter after I’ve read them sometime before Summer as I truly wanted to embrace this world through the vision Bracewell had for it herself.

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A #HistFic Book Spotlight | “The Steel Beneath the Silk” (Book Three, Emma of Normandy series) by Patricia BracewellThe Steel Beneath the Silk
by Patricia Bracewell
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A breathtaking conclusion to Bracewell’s Emma of Normandy Trilogy, brimming with treachery, heartache, tenderness and passion as the English queen confronts ambitious and traitorous councilors, invading armies and the Danish king’s power-hungry concubine.

In the year 1012 England’s Norman-born Queen Emma has been ten years wed to an aging, ruthless, haunted King Æthelred. The marriage is a bitterly unhappy one, between a queen who seeks to create her own sphere of influence within the court and a suspicious king who eyes her efforts with hostility and resentment. But royal discord shifts to grudging alliance when Cnut of Denmark, with the secret collusion of his English concubine Elgiva, invades England at the head of a massive viking army. Amid the chaos of war, Emma must outwit a fierce enemy whose goal is conquest and outmaneuver the cunning Elgiva, who threatens all those whom Emma loves.

Genres: Historical Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1942209812

on 2nd March, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 450

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Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #TheSteelBeneathTheSilk and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Patricia Bracewell

Patricia Bracewell

Patricia Bracewell grew up in Los Angeles where her love of stories led to college degrees in Literature, a career as a high school English teacher, and a yearning to write. Her first novel, Shadow on the Crown, about the 11th-century queen of England, Emma of Normandy, was published in 2013. Its sequel, The Price of Blood, appeared in 2015. The final book of her Emma of Normandy Trilogy, The Steel Beneath the Silk will be published March 2, 2021.

Patricia lives with her husband in Oakland, California.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author

An Indie Fantasy Book Spotlight and Extract | “Sand Dancer” (Book One: Sand Dancer series) by Trudie Skies

Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Today it is an honour to host this lovely Fantasy blog tour with Storytellers on Tour – a blog touring company whose championing Indie Storytellers and giving us all a lovely chance to feature their collective works. I have been hosting with them for the past year and I have found quite a few lovely new authors of Fantasy Fiction who have given me wicked good explorations of the genre and of the vision the writers had for their worlds. It is wonderful to be able to showcase these authors and their stories – whilst featuring guest posts and respun memes whenever I am unable to read the books in print or host an interview.

I had hoped to interview the author, however with my new work hours and adjusting to working full-time this past month, I had to go to my Plan B for the blog tour. Thereby I was grateful to Justine @ Storytellers on Tour for giving me the option to host this extract – as it will give you a good sense about the story and their world.

I did edit the extract a bit with permission by Justine – not just for length but for content. Some of the descriptions I felt were a bit outside what I would normally feature on Jorie Loves A Story as there were some graphic depictions I cut into an easier read for those following the blog tour.

As I love focusing on Indie Fantasy storytellers myself every #WyrdAndWonder – which I briefly mention at the end of this post. The reason I love Indie Speculative Fiction is because the writers of those stories are happily giving me wicked good stories to ruminate over and enticingly intriguing worlds to explore.

Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about “Sand Dancer”!

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An Indie Fantasy Book Spotlight and Extract | “Sand Dancer” (Book One: Sand Dancer series) by Trudie SkiesSand Dancer
Subtitle: One Sword : One Thousand Secrets
by Trudie Skies
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death.

But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…

Disguised as a young nobleman, Mina must make a new life for herself in the heart of her enemies. But she knows she can’t keep up the masquerade forever. With time running out, which will she choose to find—the truth or revenge?

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781949671025

Published by Uproar Books

on 1st July, 2019

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

Fire Walker is the sequel to Sand Dancer

NOTE: There is a Content Warning page on the author’s site for Fire Walker

Published by: Uproar Books (@UproarBooks)

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Read an Extract from this Novel:

Sand Dancer world map provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission.

When her father’s murder reveals a lifetime of lies, a half-starved peasant girl must disguise herself as a young nobleman if she hopes to make her way into the heart of her enemies. But what is she truly after—the truth or revenge?

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Sand Dancer quote graphic provided by the author Trudie Skies and is used with permission.

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THE MONSTER OF KHALBAD

Father’s rules for becoming a legendary warrior didn’t match his tales.

Keep out of trouble, don’t play at sword fighting, stay away from Housemen, and never, under any circumstances, approach fire.

Over time, his words changed from mantras of honor to instructions of modesty, as though Mina’s father sobered and remembered his son existed as a girl all along. His training stopped the moment she bled. When pressed, he spouted nonsense that only men could wield a blade and Mina should drop all foolish notions of becoming a warrior to focus on her studies as a Green Hand. It was an argument she lost many times. Girls don’t become warriors. They become healers.

Why teach her all those tales of their tribe’s warriors and heroes? Why show her how to swing a sword if he planned to ignore it all based on her sex? Those heroes wouldn’t have followed Father’s cowardly advice. Who would have heard their tales if they did?

Girls could become warriors. Mina just needed to prove it.

The fire-breathing monsters who haunted Father’s tales were no longer allowed to wander the sands or stalk the streets, thank the gods. Those possessing the curse of flame were locked away inside the temples. Only a few chosen men with absolute control of their abilities were permitted to step outside and serve as priests by performing public rites and lighting the town’s lanterns. Whispers spoke of blasphemers who tried to hide their fire and refused to join the temple. For the safety of all, these monsters needed to be found and put to death under the King’s law.

In all Father’s tales, the monster only met its end when one brave warrior stood against it. And there were no greater monsters than the Fire Walkers.

Mina crouched among the wicker baskets at the far corner of the market, watching and waiting. Her dirty beige tunic and headscarf merged with the sandstone townhouse behind her. No one paid her heed as townsfolk wandered between stalls of rice and pistachios. Sand grains danced across the dusty ground, blown in from the dunes piled against the town wall, the only barrier between them and the greater Dusland desert.

Khalbad’s street rats understood what she planned to do. She scanned the crowd for their familiar faces, a mixture of younger orphans and grim-faced boys growing into men. They sat under cloth canopies and stared as though they didn’t believe she could be brave enough to do it. Though they all lived under the shadow of Housemen and fought for scraps, the streets rats had never welcomed her into their little tribe. Mina went as hungry as any of them, but even though her skin was the same Duslander brown as theirs, they made her feel different, an outsider, due to her real tribal blood. The tribes of the desert were nomadic and rarely entered towns like Khalbad, so her father said. Perhaps if they did, she and her father wouldn’t have spent their lives here dreaming of a world outside.

The heat of Rahn, the god of fire and dawn, burned overhead. Soon the marketplace would start to empty. Stall owners, craftsmen, and fishermen from the docks would retreat into shade until Rahn passed low enough to make the stuffy air breathable. The clearing of the market would create a river of people for Mina to dive into. The perfect time to strike.

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Sand Dancer quote graphic provided by the author Trudie Skies and is used with permission.

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Converse via: #Fantasy, #EpicFantasy or #HeoricFantasy
as well as #storytellersontour & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Storytellers on Tour

An #HistFic Book Spotlight | feat. an extract from “Thunder on the Moor” (Book Book, Thunder on the Moor series) by Andrea Matthews

Posted Friday, 19 February, 2021 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Youmay not realise it but one of my favourite subniches of literature are the trifecta of how time can become bent inside stories: time shift, time slip and time travel! The third of which in the context of today’s featured novelist and series is most likely a bit more well-known since “Outlander” – both the series and the tv adaptation which took off into reader’s hearts worldwide. I, on the other hand – gathered most of the books but hesitated to read them and only read a partial portion of “The Outlandish Companion” as I was more keenly interested in the author’s writerly process and approach to creating her series than I was in the actual series itself. Part of that might have been readerly intuition? As I learnt lateron there are scenes and sequences within the Outlander series which might not have agreed with my readerly sensibilities and I felt better knowing I hadn’t read the series outright.

However, my pursuit of time travel romances never was curtailed – when I was a reviewer for ChocLitUK, I happily read stories by Kirsty Ferry and Christina Courtenay which focused on time travelling romances – many of which I was thankful to review on Jorie Loves A Story. I also purchased a large stack of time travelling romances from a regional library two Christmases ago and still intend on reading them as a way back into my own writerly pursuits as a method of reading outside my intended genre for inspiration. Ergo, I always have a ready eye out on this genre as it is one which interests me as a reader moreso than as a writer.

Scottish stories are equally curious to me – one of my favourite BBC serials is “Monarch of the Glen” – despite the fact part of that series ending episodes was dearly dramatic and emotionally gutting – it was the kind of quirky series you love to get invested inside and fall in love with both the characters and the setting. I love Scotland as a country, too, and being I have a lot of UK ancestral roots – any story set in the UK is going to be one I’ll favour!

Thereby it is with a hearty wicked welcome I am bringing a short extract from “Thunder on the Moor” to Jorie Loves A Story today! I had intended to interview the author but due to personal circumstances earlier in the month and injuries stemming out of the end of January – I was short on time to complete that goal. I hope you enjoy the extract I have for you on the blog tour and perhaps this story will whet a thirst of interest for you to seek out if you’re as mad for time travelling romances as I am!

Brew your favourite cuppa & enjoy!

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An #HistFic Book Spotlight | feat. an extract from “Thunder on the Moor” (Book Book, Thunder on the Moor series) by Andrea MatthewsThunder on the Moor
by Andrea Matthews
Source: Chapter Sampler

Maggie Armstrong grew up enchanted by her father’s tales of blood feuds and border raids. In fact, she could have easily fallen for the man portrayed in one particular image in his portrait collection. Yet when her father reveals he was himself an infamous Border reiver, she finds it a bit far-fetched—to say the least—especially when he announces his plans to return to his sixteenth century Scottish home with her in tow.

Suspecting it’s just his way of getting her to accompany him on yet another archaeological dig, Maggie agrees to the expedition, only to find herself transported four hundred and fifty years into the past. Though a bit disoriented at first, she discovers her father’s world to be every bit as exciting as his stories, particularly when she’s introduced to Ian Rutherford, the charming son of a neighboring laird. However, when her uncle announces her betrothal to Ian, Maggie’s twentieth-century sensibilities are outraged. She hardly even knows the man. But a refusal of his affections could ignite a blood feud.

Maggie’s worlds are colliding. Though she’s found the family she always wanted, the sixteenth century is a dangerous place. Betrayal, treachery, and a tragic murder have her questioning whether she should remain or try to make her way back to her own time.

To make matters worse, tensions escalate when she stumbles across Bonnie Will Foster, the dashing young man in her father’s portrait collection, only to learn he is a dreaded Englishman. But could he be the hero she’s always dreamed him to be? Or will his need for revenge against Ian shatter more than her heart?

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Time Travel Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1733337502

Published by Self Published

on 31st October, 2019

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

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Further Readings about the series on Andrea Matthew’s website:
Notes behind the series of Thunder on the Moor

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance
+ #ThunderOnTheMoor and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Friday, 19 February, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author