Category: Children’s Literature

A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Anni Moon & the Elemental Artifact” : #MGFantasy by Melanie Abed

Posted Sunday, 24 October, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In 2015, my participation on the Anni Moon blog tour featuring the debut novel by Melanie Abed was through my hosting of JKS Communications blog tours. I hosted a Book Spotlight whilst I was able to put together a collection of quotes I had enjoyed from reading a chapter sampler the author provided for me for the tour itself. After the tour concluded, the author surprised me with a print copy of “Anni Moon and the Elemental Artifact”. I was smitten by the artwork and the premise behind the story itself – there is a special surprise within the opening pages of the novel for me – a hand-drawn bat whose one of the characters in the novel.

In the ensuing years, I’ve been wanting to read and finish my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel – in [2018[, during #WyrdAndWonder it was on my TBR List for the event. In [2019], I re-attempted to read this novel during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 only to realise my migraines were going to make that quite difficult to accomplish. Whilst it might have taken me til [2021] but I am proud to say I’ve been able to read it through to its conclusion and can finally release my thoughts about it. I am hoping the participants during #MiddleGradeMarch who enjoy reading either Middle Grade and/or Young Adult Fantasy will enjoy learning more about this inventive and impressive debut. As I was able to talk about this novel during 2020’s #MiddleGradeMarch which is why it is mentioned on the review itself. I also included a note about it during #WitchAThon. This review is a compilation of the different times in which I read the story with the concluding bits of it finalised during #SpooktasticReads 2021.

I received a complimentary signed copy of “Anni Moon & the Elemental Artifact” direct from the author Melanie Abed. I was not obligated to post a review as I wanted to share my thoughts on behalf of this story for my own edification as much as a way to encourage those who follow my bookish life to know my impressions on behalf of this novel. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I have permission from the author to use the Press Materials on this review which I was given by JKS Communications for the blog tour originally in 2015.

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

What originally drew my eye

into the world of ‘Anni  Moon’:

Finding stories within the realm of Middle Grade is quite a happy exploration for me, as I have been happily entrenched in my local library’s catalogue for six years come May 2015! A seriously addictive hobby of mine has been to seek out wicked quality stories crafted for young minds whose innocent imaginations are thirsty for believable worlds, compelling characters, and heart-warming tales which seek to teach as much as they are to inspire! I grew up with a happy heart for learning and for expanding my knowledge as I read each new story that whet my palette of interest to soak inside, however, the offerings during the 1980s and the 1990s were a bit on the paltry side compared to the 2000s!

There has been such an explosion of options within Children’s Literature, that in part, I was inspired to create a special page dedicated to reading and wandering through this ocean of choices here on Jorie Loves A Story! Originally inspired to pick up from whence I had left off in order to root out a story or two my own nephew and nieces would appreciate reading, I would in turn discover a new niche of stories that suited my curiosities and enriched my reading joy by the manner in which the authors were penning entire worlds out of everyday lessons, life affirming restitution’s, and a deeper love of giving back a measure of awe-inspiring narratives that could give a child (or an adult!) a widening breadth of literary delight!

Anni Moon was an instant curiosity simply based on the premise — a world in which magic and the artful realm of fantasy merging together to give an intrepid reader (of any age) an adventure they would not soon forget!

This reminds me of why I was so very excited about Portals, Passages, & Pathways and, who could forget my dedicated passion on behalf of the Leland Dragons? Surely not anyone who follows me in the twitterverse and who has seen my joyfully bookish tweets using the tag I created! (#LelandDragons)

-as originally shared on my Anni Moon Spotlight w/ Notes and Extract

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Anni Moon & the Elemental Artifact” : #MGFantasy by Melanie AbedAnni Moon & the Elemental Artifact
Source: Direct from Author

Anni doesn’t know about Elementals, Funk, Zephyrs, excited talking Bat-Rat creatures, and, least of all, Dragons. All that changes when her best friend, Lexi, is kidnapped and forces beyond Anni’s control trap her on a hidden, floating island in the Elemental world.

In a race against time, Anni sets out to save her friend. Along the way she finds allies among the Elementals, but she is also presented with a choice, one that might help save Lexi. If Anni agrees to an ancient, open-ended contract, will her sacrifice cost her more than she’s bargained for? Or will it land her in the middle of an age-old war between the humans, the Elementals, and the dreaded Fectus?

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Fantasy Fiction



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780990706243

Published by Oculus Print

on 17th September, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 276

Published by: Oculus Print

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

A notation on the illustrations by Hisham Abed:

Not since the illustrative additions I found included with Uncovering Cobbogoth, have I been this wicked happy to see illustrative elements threaded through a work of Children’s Lit! Cobbogoth was one level up from Anni Moon, as it was a young adult release, but evenso! I cannot even fathom what would await me whilst snuggled inside the full length of the novel! Leaping lizards, I love illustrators who have the keen ability to draw out the characters we sometimes as readers have trouble sorting out how to imagine! What a beautiful gift!

[ Visit Ms. Abed’s site to find hidden pages of delight! ]

{ the characters of Anni Moon }

{ the Map of Moon Zephyr }

{ the Glossary Index of Terms found in the Stories } Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SpooktasticReads 2021
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Posted Sunday, 24 October, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fantasy Fiction, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Orphans & Guardians, Supernatural Fiction

This #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” (Book One of the Smoky Mountain First Responders: a mini-series set in Hollydale) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with an apology to the author (Ms Agler) about the lateness in which this review is arriving on my blog, Jorie Loves A Story. I was struck down last week with a beast of a migraine – which did blindside me as I have been quite blessed this year with a reduction in frequencies of my migraines as compared to past years (especially the 2018/19 seasons) however, in September, 2021 I had a clustering attack of migraines and this past week, I was unfortunately offline due to another migraine which just wrecked my hours with its presence. I get the kind of migraines where screens (ie. online spaces), lights and even text (ie. reading books) can affect me quite dearly. I hadn’t even realised I had missed my tour stop this past week as I was so consumed with my migraine, you could say it blighted it out of my memory. For that, I apologise.

Generally, I can get on top of things a bit faster or rebound back a bit quicker – as I had planned to read this lovely ahead of the weekend (on Friday and Saturday) whilst posting this on Saturday afternoon, however, my weekend didn’t quite get off the ground as I had planned it would and I apparently needed a bit of extra time to transition back into reading as well. As luck would have it – blessedly, the tour is running through Wednesday the 13th, which is why I scheduled this to run during my #RomanceTuesdays as a final hoorah for the tour itself and as a way of shining a happy light at the end of the tour on a series and author I’ve continued to enjoy reading and discovering!

As you know, I LOVE Heartwarming series and this one is a unique situation where you have a trilogy of stories interlinked into Hollydale and now, there is a lovely new mini-series attached to Hollydale which begins with this novel: The Single Dad’s Holiday Match

Now without further adieu,… let’s get back to the blog tour today!

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If you caught sight of my #BestBooksOf2020 you know “A Ranger for the Twins” was a winner of my Cuppa Book Love Awards – which you can read about HERE!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOn where I last left my adventures in Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

As Agler had written one of my favourite Romance novels from 2020 – I was truly delighted to be caught inside this novel for 2021! She was touching on all the elements I love in a Contemporary Romance – a small towne setting, two bull-headed adults who want the best for someone but might not know how to communicate with each other towards that end and of course, at the heart of it all – a slow brewing romance which is about to upset the plans for the lead characters! I loved the quirkiness of how the story began – from the perspective of how Aidan’s first impression of Natalie was the wrong one because he was reading more into her words than what were there to be heard. Whereas with Natalie she’s on the defensive due to how much it aches her to even consider a life and world without Danny; the young boy she was given guardianship over since his Mum died.

The part of the opening chapters which held my eye the most was when Agler had her heroine of this story overhear what defines family from her Mum to the child she shares guardianship with an Uncle stationed overseas. There is deep rooted tragedy in the origins of this story but at the bedrock of the characters’ lives is a wealth of hope and a light of promise filtering through their lives, too. I loved how Agler focused on where they were in their lives a few months after the tragedy as it showed how much Natalie wants things to change for Danny and how much she aches to learn if she is able to stay in his life once his Uncle Aidan returns home from overseas. It is one of those uniquely non-conventional families which I was loving to see develop as it isn’t oft non-conventional families are showcased in Contemporary Romance. Blessedly I’ve noticed an uptick of inclusion within the Harlequin Heartwarming line of romances and I was thankful to read this one by Agler after having felt charmed by A Ranger for the Twins.

If I hadn’t watched the entire series of Army Wives over the last year, I might not have picked up on the subtle reasons why Aidan was being such a difficult person to deal with as he realised his chances of taking Danny out of state were dwindling now that he knew how hard Natalie would fight for custody. The irony of course is his misunderstanding about her remarks when they first met and that reminded me a lot of Frank from Army Wives – as he tended to see things more literally rather than figuratively – which caused a lot of grief in his marriage. However, back to the story at hand – what was interesting to me were the layers Agler was building to the drama behind the premise of the novel.

I loved how she didn’t waste time getting Aidan and Natalie in front of a lawyer and how quickly she wanted to make the case for both Aidan and Natalie to show why they equally had a motive in wanting to keep custody of Danny. It was an interesting premise from the jump start as this is a case involving co-guardianship of a young boy whom both guardians are not the biological custodial parent but rather, Aidan is the boy’s biological Uncle (though the mother was his half sibling) and Natalie was the mother’s best friend. This is one of those more complicated adoption cases where a person’s will and final intentions before death are being brought to life and court.

Agler has a way of knitting you into the heart of their lives – digging deep and expounding on the emotional side of trying to resolve a custody battle between two guardians who aren’t the best at communicating with each other nor understanding where the others is coming from in regards to why their each fighting so hard towards the same end goal. I was definitely hooked quite immediately after Aidan showed up in the park and throughout the passages in the book where he’s trying to assert himself as the predominant reason why the court should lean in his favour but he has a few misguided reasons behind that train of logic which I was looking forward to seeing Agler explore in more detail. Especially about his concept about how love is co-dependent on biology and how custody should only concern those with biological connections.

What I loved most is the ways in which Agler took us on this journey with her characters – to show how life doesn’t have to be deadlocked into one singular plan nor be scheduled within an inch of insanity for missing out on the smaller moments which give life fuller meaning. Agler has a gift for curating a natural rhythm of pacing within a slow burning romance wherein you feel for the characters and for the adversities their facing because of how authentically true their lives have been told by Agler. I definitely will be seeking out more stories from her in future but I also want to get a copy of the first novel The Sheriff’s Second Chance and re-read this trilogy start to finish!

-quoted from my review for The Soldier’s Unexpected Family

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If you love reading Harlequin Heartwarming & the reviews I am sharing
kindly let me know if we’re reading the same authors and/or if you think I need to add someone to my TBR to be read as soon as I can get my hands on their books!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale began:

The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family by Tanya Agler

The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story *need to acquire a copy!

A Ranger for the Twins (book two) – Caleb and Lucie’s story (see also Review)

The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story (see also Review)

*Please note: I noticed there is a connection with all of these stories being set inside the small towne of Hollydale and have chosen to collect them into a ‘series’ as they are a series by setting – however, I am not sure if they have been officially named as either a collection and/or a series or continuity with Harlequin Heartwarming as there isn’t a series name on the books nor on their informational pages online. I collected them together for my own frame of reference and for other readers and visitors to my blog Jorie Loves A Story who likes to read series in order and/or meet stories in order of how they were first disclosed.

Finally sorted: This was a trilogy and the series is officially called: Heroines of Hollydale!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale continues:

the Smoky Mountain First Responders mini-series:

The Single Dad's Holiday Match by Tanya Agler

The Single Dad's Holiday Match
Subtitle: Smoky Mountain First Responders
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

'Tis the season…
For unexpected love!

Officer Jonathan Maxwell is just as devoted to his job as he is to his two young daughters, leaving zero time for a social life. Until he meets Brooke Novak. The newly hired community center director is a single parent, too, and also part of his latest investigation. Jonathan needs Brooke’s help if he's going to close his case by Thanksgiving…but she might be the biggest distraction from keeping his mind on his job.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Romance Fiction, Contemporary Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335426437

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins, The Soldier's Unexpected Family

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 28th September, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Single Dad’s Holiday Match (book one) – Jonathan and Brooke’s story

The Paramedic’s Forever Family (book two) – *forthcoming in 2022!

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

An award-winning author,Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope.

Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. The sequel, A Ranger for the Twins, will be released in Oct. 2020. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a lovable Basset, who really rules the roost. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut. When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.

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Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Life Shift, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, North Carolina, Orphans & Guardians, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services

A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “Magical Neighbours” (a #KidsLit audio story about gnomes and the fey!) by Mary Ellen Spencer, narrated by Rosemary Benson

Posted Thursday, 27 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Magical Neighbours” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working with the author on this blog tour 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!

*waves* It is time to reveal my second audiobook story I’ve listened to this #WyrdAndWonder which involves *gnomes!* Remember, earlier in the month when I shared my audio review for The One Great Gnome? You might have caught the *excitement!* I had in listening to select Middle Grade Fantasy stories this Wyrd And Wonder in audiobook – as prior to this lovely, I was truly smitten with the world within The Marvelwood Magicians!

One of my most earnest requests for audiobooks across the board are to have cast & narrator lists – wherein if there is more than one narrator, each voice a narrator represents needs to be given to a listener whilst a cast listing is wicked helpful for dyslexic listeners such as myself who struggle to sort out how a name is properly spelt in the stories we’re listening too. Guess what!? This particular author must’ve have known how helpful a PDF character disclosure would be – as she’s included one with this audiobook!

Not only are there hand-crafted gnome and fairy doors throughout the PDF file but there is also artwork representing the characters themselves as well as how their names are spelt! They each have their own unique personality and the one who graces the cover of Magical Neighbours is known as Hoedown, which I could only conclude before hearing the story was due to her gardening obsession!?

What a brilliant treat to find!! I wish all audiobooks came with a PDF file to accompany the stories wherein each story we listen to would disclose the names of the characters like Magical Neighbours has given us! And, of course, for harder to spell/hear names for settings in stories, that would be most ideal as well.

Let’s find out my reactions to this super short story which has such a big heart!

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A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “Magical Neighbours” (a #KidsLit audio story about gnomes and the fey!) by Mary Ellen Spencer, narrated by Rosemary BensonMagical Neighbours
by Mary Ellen Spencer
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Rosemary Benson

The sudden appearance of a portly gnome on a humdrum, ordinary day definitely threw me for a loop. When this gnome began to speak to me about building him a home in our neighborhood, I know my eyes were as big as saucers, but I tried to appear casual. And I even managed to answer graciously, “Sure, I’d be glad to.” Then other gnomes who wanted to live in my neck of the woods showed up. Fairies, too! They all became part of my world. And their world became part of mine. Life’s been astonishing ever since.

Maybe you’ve never met anyone who lives beyond fairy doors. Well, I’d like you to meet my new neighbors. They’re really quite wonderful in their own magical way. Knock on their doors and have a chat. Make friends with fairies and garden gnomes. Come spend some time with us!

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B0932B15V8

Published by One Night Stand Studios

on 21st April, 2021

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 40 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: One Night Stand Studios

Converse via: #Fantasy, #KidsLit and #MGLit or #MiddleGrade
as well as #AudiobookwormPromotions OR #TheAudiobookEmpire
+ #MagicalNeighbours & #WyrdAndWonder

About Mary Ellen Spencer

Mary Ellen Spencer

Mary Ellen Spencer lives in a forested neighborhood near Harrods Creek in Kentucky with her cute husband Hank and her trusty dog Annie. She likes to make things—fairy doors and birdhouses from gourds, men of the forest carved from stone, and woodspirits carved into cedar. She enjoys growing things—like trees and hostas and oak leaf hydrangeas. And sometimes stories spill out.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Thursday, 27 May, 2021 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Children's Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

A #WyrdAndWonder #MGFantasy Book Review | “The Princess and the Pirate” (Rahana Trilogy: Book Two) by Felicity Banks

Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Gifted Book By: This novel “The Princess and the Pirate” was part of a gifted #bookhaul of mine from my Mum and Dad for #WyrdAndWonder, Year 4! They happily surprised me with a lovely bundle of books I featured last Wyrd And Wonder celebrating the Indie Publisher Odyssey Books! This kicks-off my readings of those novels as I was overjoyed I can read all the lovely stories I had either showcased and/or featured but wasn’t able to read during our Year 3 Wyrd And Wonder.

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “The Princess and the Pirate” by my parents and I was not obligated to post an honest review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and had asked if I could re-use them if and when I was able to read and/or review the stories I was featuring during Wyrd And Wonder Year 3 (2020); and thankfully was given permission to do so which is why I am using them during my readings this 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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Why I am in love with this series & couldn’t wait to read the next story:

I immediately took an interest in Dance – she was a brave young girl who understood the history of her island but also the growing tension of why her father worried about her safety and the safety of their community here. Even in the opening paragraphs there is a bit of urgency in the tone of how Banks started her story – where Dance can sense the heightened fear in the caller’s voice – the person intending to speak with her father and the voice which was drawing her to catch her breath.

I loved how art was introduced straight-away – a small bit of insight into the heart of her people – of how on this island (Luar) art was as sacred as the trees. And, trees apparently were quite revered because you can sense this yourself as Dance speaks about the art which comes from the raw materials of the trees. Trees for me have held such a high impression on my person since I first started staring after trees along highways and byways; whilst pausing whenever I was close to them in person and happily feeling museful about their lives. Especially the cycle of how other species laid claim to their boughs and branches; how connected they were to our source of life (ie. oxygen) and how throughout the ages of time, trees are resolute, proud and awe-inspiring just to be nearby. I could then imagine – any bit of art carved from a tree has a life spirit of its own etched out of the raw wood and drawing a new energy from the carver’s tools, hands and vision for what the art being created would represent.

Dance lives on an island tucked away from the world – what makes this one dearly unique in my eyes as I haven’t come across a lot of snowbound or ice encased worlds, is the fact this particular island would be right at home in the Arctic Circle! It is beyond cold here – where the frozen ice hides their greatest enemy (ie. Heest monsters) and where if you were brave enough, you wouldn’t consider what their presence unde the ice was foretelling about your own fate and the fate of your community. Banks goes into a bit of detail about how this island was fashioned together – from materials they could repurpose and from purchases they had made long ago giving them a bit of bolster of privacy from prying eyes on the outside. It was their sincere hope to remain hidden which inspired how they lived and how they choose to thrive in one of the coldest locations I’ve had a chance to visit.

I positively LOVE finding illustrative art inside novels – The Monster Apprentice is delightfully inclusive of renderings of the scenes you’re reading about as you walk beside Dance! The very first illustration was featuring the ‘sky cows’ – having spent time on a ranch with breeding stock, I know how stubborn cows can be and how particular they are once they’ve settled on a place they want to roost. Cows are gentle giants and have kind hearts but there are moments where like most animals, they simply want to be left alone and left to their own devices. The imagery provided in this illustration and the depictions of the cows and Dance’s interaction with them in the text was quite a heap of hilarity! It was interesting to see how Dance chooses to interact with her world and how she constantly likes to bend the rules in order to do what she is tasked to accomplish!

Banks does a wonderful job of keeping this first installment beautifully connected on her characters and on the priming of our introduction to their ice and sea world. Things are not quite as you expect them to be here – there are hints of magic, of intrigue and of binding bargains which may in the end be worse than their initial acceptance. Each person here – young or old alike has to find their own individual truth and path; similar to life, everyone is working through their own headspace and has to find the courage to be a bit braver than they feel.

One of my favourite features of this novel are the Heest – mostly because Banks keeps us in the dark for most of the novel about their truer nature and how they operate as a species. There is far more to the Heest than what is presumed and that is the true beauty of their kind for me. I’d love t see how this trilogy continues to develop – especially if we can entreat more into the magical perimeters of the world and the concepts of how those magical extras operate within a place that is a rather harsh physical environment of both ice and sea.

As this first novel is setting up the foundation of the trilogy – we were treated only to a hinting of the magic in this world. The curators of the magic are known as quickensmiths and this was broached at the time when Dance had to face the pirates because of how the ship itself was moving through the water. I found it interesting how the dynamics of the world and of the magic within it were not completely disclosed because this was a very character-centred introduction. You get a few hints towards what is coming in future installments but not overly enough to lose your curiosity because this novel does lend itself to being curious about what will become disclosed!

-quoted from my review of The Monster Apprentice

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The Princess and the Pirate collage created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

The Princess and the Pirate
by Felicity Banks
Source: Gifted

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, Pirate Fiction



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1925652680

Also by this author: The Monster Apprentice

Published by Odyssey Books

on 1st June, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 126

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The Rahana Trilogy:

Felicity Banks invented the fantasy world of Rahana while living in Indonesia. She grew up reading stories set in Narnia and Middle Earth, and she wanted to invent a fantasy world that was just as beautiful but didn’t feel British, or white, or male.

In Rahana the weather is tropical and the people are visually similar to Indonesians. Magic is common, and makes physical strength irrelevant. There are millions of islands both small and large, and sailing technology is more advanced that the other sciences. Rahana is a thriving tropical world where people are born with a love of the high seas.

Naturally, the world is full of pirates.

The Monster Apprentice (book one)

The Princess & the Pirate (book two)

Waking Dead Mountain (book three)

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ThePrincessAndThePirate, #MGLit, #MGFantasy
as well as #pirates and #MiddleGrade; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy

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About Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks is a Canberra author specialising in fantasy and interactive fiction, including her Antipodean Queen fantasy steampunk series, which is also published by Odyssey Books. All her interactive fiction is listed under “Felicity Banks” (visit site) and most of her interactive fiction can be read via an app.

She writes about all her various pirates tales (some appropriate for children, some definitely not) on her Facebook page as well as sharing stories and images that appeal to the not-so-secret pirate within all of us.

She met her husband at a pirate ball, and has two little pirates at home.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death of a Sibling, Fantasy Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Twin Siblings