Category: Siblings

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Solomon’s Bell” (Book Two: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Posted Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 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.

During our 2nd Year (2019) for #WyrdAndWonder, I wanted to redeem myself a bit by getting back into the stories I attempted to read during our 1st year of #WyrdAndWonder (2018) 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 finally was able to start reading it during our 2nd Year of Wyrd and Wonder whilst finishing it in our 3rd. 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 “Solomon’s Bell” 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!:

Set during a pivotal game for Virginia as a competitive JV Girls’ Basketball competitor – we open the story as Ginn is about to receive some humbling and surprising news about herself, her destiny and the ways in which she previously perceived her world. You can intuit this through the revelation at the end of the game – where her team is down for the count, the opposing team has a new member whose height puts them at a distinct advantage and where Ginn’s team is doing everything they can not to  lose the faith they could win the game from the underdog status they found themselves trying to overcome. It is here – as we are with Ginn in the car with her family as they make their way to the gym to see the game, we notice a few things about her – she’s not comfortable being in a large family nor is she enthused about having as many siblings as she has which were achieved through adoption.

The adoption side of her life is lightly touched upon – mostly through the angst of a thirteen year old who isn’t quite sure why her parents wanted to keep adding to their family or have to take-on the world whenever someone from outside the family grew critical of their choices in life; especially in how they grew their family through adoption. You can understand her perspective on the matter – as she has an eclectic sibling group whilst you can also appreciate the heart and humbled spirit of her parents who wanted to raise children and did not have a preference of whether or not they were all biologically related to them. I have a soft spot for stories involving Adoption – as I am desiring to adopt from foster care in the future – therefore, whenever I see a story involving Adoption, I do take a more critical eye on how it is discussed and how it fits into the story being told.

I think part of the reason I was struggling to anchour into story and to get into step with Ginn is how her story was being disclosed. It felt a little disjointed at first – but then, once you see her with her mother and she starts to talk about her grandmother – you start to notice her differently, seeing how much she’s trying to understand this transitional period of her life and somewhere at that junction her story starts to move forward in a way you can soak into her world.

Ginn is a girl on the brink of entering her teenage years but she’s more bogged down in worrying about what is plaguing her mind moreso than going through puberty. She has a caring mother who looks after her whenever she’s not feeling quite up to par and even goes out of her way to ensure her daughter will feel a bit better which I felt was a sweet touch. What was lovely though was seeing how a few life lessons and life philosophies were being layered into the story-line – guided by Ginn’s Mum but also, turnt over for introspective reasoning by Ginn herself. There is a point about how nightmares can overtake you if your not careful about how you extract yourself from them but also, on the importance of family. This is a close-knit family who appreciate being with their grandmother but also with each other – even if half the time, I suspect they drive each other a bit batty round the edges, as all good-natured large families do.

You have to laugh, really! Combs has worked in some cleverly placed real-world cultural points of interest into the background of the story – such as Ginn’s Mum having an affinity of interest for the cooking shows we all get excited about time after time – giving her children a bit of an interesting voyage into the culinary arts! I was smiling the whole time as apparently Ginn’s Mum isn’t as gifted in the kitchen as my Mum is nor is she as naturally intuitive about how certain ingredients work best together. This is why I was smiling the most – hearing Ginn tell it, they would be better off if they cooked from ready-made boxes and ate out on occasion if they could afford to do it.

Where the story took a turning into the fantastical is when Rashmere shows up rather unexpectedly and how he points out to Ginn all the different ways her current life is about to unravel. The expressive nature of Rashmere is too adorable! You’ll have to read the story to find out the species Rashmere is on first sight but somehow, Combs tapped into how he could be expressive despite his small presence when he initially enters Ginn’s life. In essence he steals the scene!

I immediately felt connected to Gran – she’s the kind of grandmother you can warm up to rather quickly because of her approach to life! She has a zest for humour and she has a winsome attitude when it comes to how she disarms your nerves. I loved her back-story about how she had to overcome the odds against her on the Army bases her husband had been stationed on? It shows how sometimes the people who exhume the most confidence can sometimes have their own struggles to bear and work through just like everyone else. Mostly though – she just seemed like a wicked awesome grandmother and definitely someone you could confide in the worries weighing on your mind such as the kind Ginn had on hers.

Gran had a keen ability of telling Ginn her back history in such a way that makes it credible despite the fact it has a lot of fantastical elements inside it – as this is a heritage which involves the Jinn. Though not quite the kind of Jinn everyone has heard of before but the kind who has a mixed heritage that involves the Jinn and humans. From there, what was quite impressive is how well Gran took to ensure Ginn of the details even to discuss how her feelings on this matter of disclosure were not the same as her parents – which struck me a bit as an interesting piece of information – as if Ginn’s adoptive parents dismissed a portion of her back-story, than if it weren’t for Gran disclosing the fuller story to her on her birthday, one had to wonder – would Ginn have started to deepen her curiosity about all the unexpected events happening to her since she turnt thirteen?

As we shift into the story of the Jinn – Combs does a wonderful job at educating us on the past histories of the Jinn, how they can exist and what their nature involved in regards to how they used their gifts of magic. It never felt like a specific section of information being given to you as she used Ginn’s own lack of understanding her birth origins as a route of information being passed onto the reader. The closer Ginn went with her own research, the closer we felt we understood who the Jinn were and the laws of how they existed. This also broached the topics of the books of Jinn known as the ‘grimoire’ and how the ancestry of the Jinn was as ancient as it were timeless.

Personally, my favourite character was not Ginn but Rashmere! He had the best attributes as a character but also, I felt his role in the story was so rounded and fleshed out, that his presence was a true delight to have threading through the background. I definitely am hoping he has a strong presence in the next volume of the series Solomon’s Bell as he was a keenly pivotal character within Heir to the Lamp.

This is a good novel to serve as a gateway into Magical Realism (as its the lighter side of the genre) whilst also giving a good footing of insight into Urban Fantasy and mythological Fantasy involving the Jinn. I think it would appeal to a lot of readers who are seeking a bit of danger and adventure within a fantastical world where not everything is exactly as it seems on the surface of what is being presented but where if you dig a bit deeper into the heart of what is being said, you’ll find the truth glimmering as strong as the purple smoke which is Ginn’s trademark.

-quoted from my review of Heir to the Lamp

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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Solomon’s Bell” (Book Two: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell
Subtitle: Genie Chronicles Book Two
by Michelle Lowery Combs
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Sarena Ulibarri
Source: Direct from Publisher

Ginn thinks she has problems at home until she magically lands herself in 16th Century Prague. To save her family, Ginn uses her newfound genie powers to transport herself and her friends to 16th century Prague. Only one thing there remains the same as at home: she can't let anyone know what she really is.

The Emperor of Prague and those closest to him are obsessed with magic. In pursuit of it, they’ve waged war on the citizens of their city. In the citizens' defense, someone has brought to life a golem, a dangerous being with connections to an artifact capable of summoning and commanding an entire army of genies.

Can Ginn escape the notice of the Emperor as she attempts to discover a way to defeat Prague’s golem in time to save her family from a similar creature?

Solomon's Bell is the sequel to Heir to the Lamp and the second book of the Genie Chronicles series.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 978-0997788877

Also by this author: Solomon's Bell (Cover Reveal + Extract), Heir to the Lamp

Also in this series: Heir to the Lamp


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


Published by World Weaver Press

on 7th March, 2017

Pages: 224

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 Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Adoption, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Equality In Literature, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Foster Care, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Orphans & Guardians, Siblings, Speculative Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, World Weaver Press, Young Adult Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “The Monster Apprentice” (Rahana Trilogy: Book One) by Felicity Banks

Posted Saturday, 16 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I first heard from Odyssey Books late last year, however, the timing of accepting their review request for “The Monster Apprentice” wasn’t the best timing for me due to my health and my migraines. As I was setting to mind what I wanted to do for Wyrd And Wonder this year, I decided to reach out to the publisher to see if I could schedule guest author features and perhaps finally accept the chance to read and review “The Monster Apprentice”. This sparked my idea of hosting Felicity Banks during @SatBookChat as 1 of 3 guest Indie Fantasy Authors for #SatBookChat (the bookish chat I host on the weekends featuring strong female characters across genres) and having the chance to read and review her novel. I was thankful I could put together a mixture of guest features (guest posts and interviews) as well as two reviews for this Indie publisher in New Zealand.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Monster Apprentice” direct from the author Felicity Banks and the publisher Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Prior to finishing my readings of “The Monster Apprentice”

– I hosted the lovely Ms Banks during our first #SatBookChat during #WyrdAndWonder:

I love having the chance to feature Indie Authors on Jorie Loves A Story and during #SatBookChat – as it helps me showcase authors, publishers and stories I personally love seeking out myself who are on the Indie side of book world. I’ve been showcasing the Indies since I first started book blogging as at my heart as a reader is an Indie sensibility as I grew up having such a wonderful Indie bookstore in my city. Not to mention as a book blogger my knowledge of Indie publishers, press and authors is now on a world-wide scale of discovery.

Ever since Year One of #WyrdAndWonder, I’ve wanted to select Indie Authors and/or publishers to highlight, read and showcase as I want to help encourage other readers of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy to take a chance on an Indie novel and/or series. This is also the same mindset behind why I love hosting Indie Authors during #SatBookChat – whose roots were in hosting strictly Romance & Women’s Fiction novelists – however, in early 2020 I started to lay down the bones of change wherein we’re now featuring *all!* genres wherein you can find wicked strong female characters and/or stories which have a Feminist bent to them. We still focus on Romance & Women’s Fiction – however, I’m expanding it as my own readerly inclinations are more encompassing now that we’ve reached our six year of the chat!

What was so dearly delightful about Ms Banks is how she made the chat personable (sharing photos in the timeline of the chat) and how she answered questions directly about the world within the Rahana trilogy. To gain a bit of insight into how this world was constructed be sure to seek out the archive of our #SatBookChat.

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Ahead of discussing this lovely book on both #SatBookChat and on Jorie Loves A Story – I put together a short teaser of a #booktube #vlog #unboxing video which I shared on Twitter. I had a most delightful time answering one of the #WyrdAndWonder challenge prompts which was “The Best Things Come in Threes”.

I had planned to finish reading this novel and release my review last weekend – however, the hours escaped me and I wasn’t able to finish until now. I cannot wait to hear what my fellow #WyrdAndWonder readers will think once they find out about this intriguing world – wherein heroines step through ordinary lives into extraordinary circumstances!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “The Monster Apprentice” (Rahana Trilogy: Book One) by Felicity BanksThe Monster Apprentice
by Felicity Banks
Source: Direct from Publisher

The only weapon Dance has is her name.

When pirates threaten the tiny hidden island of Luar, Dance knows her home has only one hope of survival: the magical monsters that killed her twin sister.

Dance loses her friends one by one as she attempts to prepare her strange apprentices for the showdown between monsters and pirates. Can she do it alone?

The Monster Apprentice is a powerful story of looking at the world differently and finding an answer in an unexpected place.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781925652130

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


Published by Odyssey Books

on 1st May, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 139

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

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.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 16 May, 2020 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, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Twin Siblings

Blog Book Tour | “Second Sister” by Chan Ho-Kei (an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller)

Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been enjoying hosting blog tours for the UK Indie publisher Head of Zeus as I feel blessed to work with them as a book blogger being that I love celebrating authors from the UK and the stories they are telling through the different genres Head of Zeus is publishing. These blog tours have been encouraging my bookish and readerly wanderings into Crime Dramas, Historical Fiction and Historical Sagas whilst also engaging into my passionate love of Speculative Fiction which encompasses Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am thankful to be hosting tours for the publisher directly and with their publicity team at Midas PR.

I received a complimentary copy of “Second Sister” direct from the publisher Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What intrigued me about “Second Sister”:

I have noticed a shift in my reading patterns has brought me back into *Crime Fiction!* recently – even before I announced becoming an influencer for the Crime Fiction Subscription Book Box which is focused on highlighting Canadian Crime Writers and Crime Fiction from around the world. This is a niche of literature I personally LOVE to be reading – from Contemporary Suspense & Thrillers to Cosy Historical Mysteries to dramatic Cosy Crime and police proceduals and amateur sleuths – there is something truly captivating about reading stories which invigorate your mind whilst your attempting to uncover the writer’s vision of how to tell a captivating suspense novel through their own lens of inspiration to leave you gripped inside a novel that might be hard to put down after its read.

From the moment I first read the premise of “Second Sister” – I just had this murmuring of interest as this was my first takeaway having read the synopsis:

It isn’t often I find a Thriller like this one which intrigues me to read the story. The author reminds me of what I enjoyed about reading J.S. Monroe’s “Forget My Name” and why I am dearly eager to read his new release “The Other You” – which I hosted an Author Q&A for earlier in January of this year.

It isn’t often I find Crime Fiction in translation – the first novel of I read of this nature was The Swimmer which happily took me by surprise and was a wicked good read. This is the other reason “Second Sister” appealled to me as a reader – not to mention the premise was a gutting one – how it effectively was about the lives and choices of two sisters and would take me to Hong Kong to hear their story. I’ll admit the tagline attached to this novel was quite alluring in its own right –  an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller!

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Blog Book Tour | “Second Sister” by Chan Ho-Kei (an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller)Second Sister
by (Translator) Jeremy Tiang, Chan Ho-Kei
Source: Direct from Publicist

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide.

Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Second Sister is part detective novel, part revenge thriller. It explores timely themes of sexual harassment, online trolling, victim blaming, fake news and data privacy scandals , vividly capturing the zeitgeist of Hong Kong and the world today.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1788547116

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Setting: Hong Kong


Published by Head of Zeus

on 18th February, 2020

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 496

Published By: Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)

Converse via: #SecondSister, #Thriller

as well as #Contemporary and #TechnoThriller

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

About (Translator) Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang's short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was published by Epigram Books in 2015. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, Esquire, Asia Literary Review, Brooklyn Rail, Drunken Boat, Meanjin, Ambit and Best New Singaporean Short Stories.

He has translated more than ten books from Chinese, including work by Yeng Pway Ngon, You Jin, Wong Yoon Wah, Yan Geling, Yu Qiuyu, Su Wei-chen and Zhang Yueran. Shorter translations have appeared in Two Lines, the Iowa Review, Asymptote and The Stinging Fly.

He is a 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellow, and has received grants from PEN/ Heim and the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature. Jeremy also writes and translates plays, including Floating Bones (The Arts House, Singapore), A Dream of Red Pavilions (adapted from the novel Hong Lou Meng; Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, NYC) and The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth Theatre, London).

About Chan Ho-Kei

Chan Ho-Kei

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He was graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a B.Sc. degree in 1997. He has worked as software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan made his debut as writer in 2008, with short story The Murder Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the 6th Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan reentered and won this award in the next year with The Locked Room of Bluebeard.

After receiving a couple more of awards, Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011. Chan's novel, The Man who Sold the World won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

 In 2014, Chan's work The Borrowed was published in Taiwan and has been well acclaimed. It has sold rights in eight countries, and the film rights sold to director Wong Kar-Wai.

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Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Thriller, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Head of Zeus, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Vulgarity in Literature

#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena Richins

Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours since [2016], where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sense without Sensibility” direct from the author Keena Richins in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how Jorie is spending the New Year 2020 lost in #JaneAusten:

Some years organically shape themselves into how your bookish & readerly life is going to manifest itself. For me, 2020 soon alerted me to the fact it was finally the year where I could re-shift my focus back into Jane Austen’s canon whilst entertaining her after canon sequels & retellings which I have been enjoying since I first started blogging my readerly life in [2013]. Prior to these years as a blogger and an avidly joyful tweeter – I never sorted out which of the after canon novelists I wanted to read due to the sheer amount of stories which are regularly published!

My journey of course began in December, 2013 when I read J. Marie Croft’s “Love at First Slight” which restylised “Pride and Prejudice” (singularly my favourite by far and one I highlighed in 2017 during #AustenInAugustRBR). From there I moved into my first “Sense & Sensibility” retelling entitled “Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale” by Rebecca H. Jamison proving that despite not reading nor seeing the motion picture adaption of the original with Emma Thompson (as this was a special gift to movie tie-in from my Mum; both the novel & the screenplay at time of release) you can definitely alight into a respun Austen story! I read this in August of 2014 (still within my first year as a book blogger) whilst years later I would re-cross paths with the author due to following Janeite & Austenite group author blogs and participating in INSPY related readathons!

Conversely, my attempts at participating in Roof Beam Reader‘s annual (until it took a sabbatical) Austen in August event was both productive and futile; depending on how you view my history of participation! Laughs at self.

When I soaked into “Liam Darcy: I Loathe You” by Heidi Jo Doxey (May, 2015) I learnt that there is still much to be learnt about comedic & satire writings in relation to Jane Austen! By October 2016, I was discovering “Sketching Character” (a variant of “Pride and Prejudice”) by Pamela Lynne. Yet in 2018, I discovered my first ‘not my cuppa’ variation of “Persuasion” whilst by November of the same year, I gushed over my first #25PagePreview of reading “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi!

Which brings me to the incredibly layered and wickedly smashing trilogy by Collins Hemingway entitled “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen”! First read in 2018 and finished in 2019 – this became ‘the’ novel for all Janeites as I have regularly attested in my ruminations on the series behalf which acculmuated this New Year 2020 in the capstone interview I featured on Mr Hemingway’s dedication to bringing “Jane” to life as eloquently as he had! (see also reviews of Volume One, Volume Two & Volume Three)

In 2019 – I also had the honour of discovering the Quill Collective – of whom published a delightful Jane Austen anthology wherein all the writers took a round robin approach to adding in their variations to each of the canonical stories of Jane’s. The audiobook truly had a strong impact on me and I am not even done listening to it yet and ruminating over it as some portions of it I had to withhold listening til I could read the originals. This was meant to lead-in to my listening of a second anthology by the Quill Collective between November & December, 2019 entitled “Yuletide” which is a variation of “Pride and Prejudice”!!

Sadly – I had a hard ending to 2019 – from October – December my health was beyond afflicted and in January, 2020 my focus was simply removed from reading altogether. I barely blinked online – by blog or Twitter and focused more on showcasing #TopTenTuesday than reviews or features. It is only now in February where I have a renewal of spirit despite having a well of inactivity and a respite of absence from reading altogether as highlighted in my recent #BookishNotBookish.

Except to say – one audiobook series which is in of itself a variant of Jane Austen’s legacy is what truly helped ‘pull me out of my bookish funk’ and began to reinspire me to read again – the #JaneAustensDragons series by Maria Grace! I was able to share my initial takeaways and impressions on behalf of the first audiobook narrated by Benjamin Fife entitled “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon” – whilst I also featured an interactive, candid and insightful interview with Mr Fife. The sequel “Longbourn: Dragon Entail” is next in line to be featured before I reveal my thoughts on the third in sequence which is “Netherfield: Rogue Dragon”!

In a recent convo on Twitter with @KhatriHina I realised I needed to break the trend of ‘not reading’ the original canons of Jane and to resume my love of her after canons. Thus, we’re reading “Emma” first and then moving into her other works whilst as this blog tour via Poetic Book Tours implies I am also reading her after canons in succession betwixt and between those readings as well! I want to dive into Jennetta James’s “Suddenly Mrs Darcy” as much as finally feel rooted into “Yuletide” in order to properly share my reactions to both as I move through their stories.

I am going to alternate from reading the books I currently have visible on my shelves (ie. “Northanger Abbey”, “Mansfield Park” & “Persuasion”) whilst borrowing the others except for “Pride & Prejudice” as I’ve read it oft enough to bypass it this year – though I do want to finally finish Stephanie Barron’s first Jane Austen Mysteries “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor”). “Emma” is being borrowed on audiobook and I am thankful for it as I am striving for balance between what I read in print and what I listen to in audiobook.

I might have taken the long road back into reading #JaneAusten but I am appreciative of the fact that despite the adverse years of 2018-19 where my migraines raged – this New Year 2020 it is blissful to be migraine-free allowing me the grace of realigning back into Classical Literature & my selections of Non-Fiction which had to be back-burnered until the migraine lost their grip on me.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena RichinsSense without Sensibility
by Keena Richins
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

After a stroke that devastates the mind of her father, Elinor expects her life will never be the same. But she wasn’t expecting to lose her job and her family home thanks to a legal technicality.

Facing ruin, Elinor prepares to fight against the selfish, cruel man who would ensure that ruin. However, Edward turns out to be the opposite, a kind soul who only wants to fulfill his duty. So Elinor hatches a new plan: get Edward on her side and utilize their own legal technicality. The only problem? Edward would have to go against his very influential and wealthy family.

Would he risk losing everything–his job, his family, and his massive inheritance–to save Elinor?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781074858070

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by Self Published

on 23rd June, 2019

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 286

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The Pemberley Estates series:

Book One: Persuading Him (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Two: Persuading Her (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Three: Sense without Sensibility (A Modern Sense & Sensibility Re-telling)

Read the Author’s Guest post on the tour which explains why #stroke is an important part of the story within “Sense without Sensibility” whilst read my previous posts about how this has impacted my own life with my father. (Not Your Traditional Thanksgiving)(Returning)(& Top Ten Tuesday)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #AfterCanon of #JaneAusten, #SenseAndSensibility
& #SenseWithoutSensibility as well as Retellings of #ClassicLit

About Keena Richins

Keena Richins has a curse: she must write the stories bubbling in her head or go mad. Seriously. You should see the hordes of characters in her head constantly babbling about their lives. When she needs a break, Keena will delve into books and her favorite are the Jane Austen books, so it is only fitting for her first debut to be a modern twist on one of those classics. And many more are soon to come.

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Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Re-Told Tales, Sense & Sensibility Re-telling, Sequel Authors, Siblings

A Jane Austen Conversation | featuring Collins Hemingway in discussion about his Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series

Posted Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I am not entirely sure if everyone who reads my blog is aware of my admiration for Jane Austen or the fact, I consider myself a #Janeite. I have loved the author’s style of narrative for many years, in fact, I wrote an Essay about it during 2017’s #AustenInAugust and couldn’t help but gush over the reading of the first novel in this trilogy as well.

What implored me truly to read this after canon selection on a theory of Jane Austen’s life is my affection for the author herself. I love reading after canon works based on her collective works but I also like to entertain readings of stories which relate directly to the writer, herself. Previously, I have explored this through the Jane Austen Mysteries a series I look forward to re-visiting, as I hadn’t had the time to re-read the first novel nor continue with the rest of the stories which followed suit. This was initially my goal whilst reading the first volume in this series – however, in the past few years, my readings of Austen Literature has taken a few interesting hiatuses.

Whilst noting this is a novel of an evolving theory based on what ‘could have been’ in accord to Ms Austen’s life, I felt it warranted exploring because after all, how much do any of us know about the Classical authors we love to read? In this, I had a curious thought – what if this novel had a foundation of grounding based on one of the author’s own works? This is something which came into better clarity as I read the novel directly and one in which, I had wondered if other readers on the blog tours had noted themselves.

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Directly though – I was dearly curious to continue reading this series due to these
ruminative thoughts I had shared after finishing Volume Two:

As I re-entered Jane’s life as a married woman, I was happy to find Cassandra was beside her, news of the Napoleonic War held good news for her family (especially in regards to her brother) whilst her new life was still one she was settling into accepting. Ashton provided a step-up in social standing for Jane, including how they lived and what they had within their environs. You can see her a bit uncertain how to handle the luxuries of this life compared to what she was used to previously with the Austens, who lived a humbled existence.

Jane is the newly minted Mrs Dennis in the household – a duty and station which comes with a litany of obligation, responsibility and a foresight of understanding for social trademarks for a hostess. It is here where we first start to notice how Jane’s own upbringing fell short of what she would have to endure as a married woman. How her mother-in-law wouldn’t hesitate to point out her faults and where her sister Cassandra would provide a moral anchour to her nerves. It is here we find Jane attempting to do the biding of her husband but without the fuller knowledge of what a disaster it could become if she would blindly follow his advice without taking into consideration the suggestions of his mother, the other ‘Mrs Dennis’.

It is interesting to see how Jane would approach married life – how she is open to discussing things with Ashton or of finding ways to engage him in the romantic gestures she endeavours to instigate. Nothing is seen as this was inspired by Jane Austen and thus, Hemingway happily kept her style of narrative intact without deviating out of the tastefulness of a romance which made her infamous for the genre; yet what was interesting is how he gave a bit of freedom of expression to both Jane and Ashton. They were happily enjoying their married lives – all facets of it but most importantly the ways in which they were endearing each other in their more intimate moments.

There is a bit of cheeky humour threading into the backbone of this installment – how Jane is reflectively musing about how she’s surprised at how natural being a married woman has come to her and how she enjoys being with her husband. There are other sides to Jane as well, such as the woman who is not yet ready to lead a household but of whom, is attempting to remain outside her comfort zone if it means improving her connection to her husband, her staff and her mother-in-law. This is a story of growth – of seeing Jane move away from her years of youth and of embracing this new chapter where she is writing the hours as they arrive.

As Jane started to see how marriage loomed ahead of her, her one regret truly was the lack of hours in which to be creatively engaged with her pen. She spoke of this to Ashton, of whom did not see why she was upset (not really, though he attempted to try) as she had chosen to be with him, to be a wife and to have responsibilities that would naturally come out of the union. Quite a typical response, except that it fell short of realising from a husband’s perspective, how sometimes a woman in a marriage was not realising they were sacrificing a part of themselves for the sake of being with the man they loved. I think in this instance, Jane had become caught inside the romance and hadn’t fully thought about how her life might become altered if she followed course.

A lot of truth in those worries of Jane as I readily observe how not all husbands are supportive of their wives (especially if their writers) and how it would appear that women are still even now needing to defend why they write or why they want to be economically engaged outside of their marriage. This was a moment of reckoning for Jane, as it wasn’t just putting aside her desires to write which plagued her conscience but certain aspects of marriage itself; which also acted as a conflict with how she was raised and the more sheltering views of being a clergy’s daughter.

Similarly, Hemingway was not shy to highlight the other tensions in their marriage – such as the blunderment Ashton made in deference to Jane in private conversation. It shows how he was effectively examining their marriage from an outside vantage point which had the pleasure of seeing the more intimate moments of their private hours. In thus, he pulled back the layers of what was shielding them from the outside world – drawing them out, letting them reveal their raw emotional thoughts and to speak plainly how they felt about not just one another but the topical issues of their era. They were together for most things but they struck a chord apart on deeper issues I think bemused both of them to notice they truly were two passionate souls who each had their own individual mind. To which end, there were some aspects of their disagreements which were worth owning and there were others worth realising they would never agree on the finer points which separated them.

They do remain united in their ability to draw back together after their differences are shed – for they have a strong marriage built out of trust and truthfulness. It is through their discussions they realise certain aspects of their business and their personal lives are coming to a head of discourse. They cannot continue to engage in partnerships which go against their own minds and hearts which reflect the current events – from slavery to the promise of war, they are keeping on the fringes of what is reflective in the papers. This causes disruptions for them naturally but at the heart of their marriage is a union sparked out of love and united in a fond respect for each other, the world at large and the auspicious emblems of living a life with ethical morals.

As we peer more into Jane and Ashton’s world as a married couple, we start to see how difficult it is for both of them – how they must learn to yield to one another and draw a closer circle of strength to tackle what is awaiting them. There is a joyful revelation in this installment – one that further enlarges our scope of understanding for how Jane is fully lit alive by her experiences as a wife and how by embracing these subtle changes she is finding herself radically new and altered. Jane is happily introspective throughout the story – owning to her pursuit to understand herself and her environment but also, to acknowledge how each new year of a life lived is a chance to see the milestones of the experiences you’ve gained.

This particular installment ends on a happy note but one which is guarded for the future – for not everything is certain and there are a few key reasons for Ashton and Jane to feel as if the future yet to come might prove to be far more taxing than the hours that they have just passed through. It is a keenly intriguing series and one I hope more Janeites discover as it truly is a unique testimony about how a modern writer can re-tap into the life of Jane and bring her out so wholly original and true of her person to give us a near-living testimony of how she would have lived had she taken the paths and passageways he’s explored in this trilogy.

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It is hard to put into words how much this trilogy has taken up a cosy niche of joy in my heart – as I first started reading this beautiful sequence of Jane Austen’s life in January 2018. The past two years has given me a lot of heartfelt joy to reconnect to Austen in a plausible and believable way of re-introducing myself into her world and the ways in which this sequence of her life could have been lived. I have felt from the start, Hemingway himself was channelling a special entreaty into her life and world – the ways in which he instinctively knew how to write about her innermost thoughts, the way he tucked in letters and correspondences into the trilogy and how he captured the heart of the Regency as an era and background to the story itself.

His capacity to tell this story has been a heartwarming experience for me and I am truly thankful I could close out 2019 with reading the finale installment which brings our experiences with Jane in this beautiful trilogy to a close.

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A Jane Austen Conversation | featuring Collins Hemingway in discussion about his Marriage of Miss Jane Austen seriesThe Mariage of Miss Jane Austen
Subtitle: Volume Three
by Collins Hemingway

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga

In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781979472760

Also by this author: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen

Genres: After Canons, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Re-telling &/or Sequel


on 4th November, 2017

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy:

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3 by Collins Hemingway

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction, #HistRom + #JaneAusten

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Posted Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Christianity, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, the Regency era, Women's Fiction, World Religions