Category: Equality In Literature

A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “The Marvelwood Magicians” by Diane Zahler, narrated by Sarah Zimmerman; courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Sunday, 2 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: In late Winter 2020, (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “The Marvelwood Magicians” direct from the publisher Live Oak Media via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me that if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

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Why I wanted to read &/or listen to “The .Marvelwood Magicians”:

I have had a certain attachment to circuses ever since I was a young girl who attend the Ringing Brothers circuses. This was during the age of Gunther Gebel-Williams. Beyond the excitement of the shows under the big top and the ways in which the circus can ignite the imaginations of anyone who attends them, part of me was concerned about the conditions of the animals and the treatment of them before and after the shows themselves. In time, I came to appreciate zoos more than the circus but only the ones who had the best interest of the animals at the heart of their mission, not the bottom-line when it came to selling tickets and/or earning profit.

Through the years, you might have noticed I RT and support The Australian Zoo – which is one of the zoos and wildlife outreach organisations I’ve come to appreciate as I spent years watching Steve Irwin and his family through their docuseries long before tragedy struck his family.

However, when it comes to ‘fantasy’ side of the ledger in literature – there is just something interesting about how writers are taking our love & excitement for performance art and close encounters with animals to a new heightened level of interest!! You might have first seen this coming across in my readings of the first bits of the Magical Midway series – and it continues this year, as I was unexpected surprised to find my copy of “The Marvelwood Magicians” was still on my NetGalley shelf waiting for me!

It was the best surprise – as it helped me move past the health woes of April (which let’s face it were adversely difficult) and re-settle myself into listening to audiobooks (its been terribly long since I could last listen to a story in full!) as well as finding my JOY again as a book blogger which is something I’ve struggled with since January, 2021. (you might have seen the reduction in posts every month!? the archives tell tales!) This became my segue novel – as much it became the novel my bookish heart wanted to HUG outright for the HAPPINESS it gave me as a reader!

Every night this week, I’ve been pulled into the throes of the Marvelwood’s — bit by bit and eagerly hopeful I might get ‘further’ into the story. Some nights I could barely keep my attention focused past a half hour but on our first day of #WyrdAndWonder *before!* midnight marked the second day, guess what?! I learnt how it ENDS. It was bittersweet for me, too, as I didn’t want to ‘let go’ of the Marvelwood’s!! Who would!? I felt such a kinship with this family!! Now, I can look forward to gathering this on audio & print and adding both to my personal library. Not sure when I can do that — but when I can, you can bet I’ll be tweeting my glee about bring this family HOME!!

The key reasons I wanted to listen to this lovely were due to the setting (ie. circus & travelling performers!) AND the fact this was a story set in a Fantasy world but dearly focused on family & community. Two of my favourite themes across the genres I regularly read. I wish I had a preteen to give this audiobook too – to see if they delight in the joys I had hearing it myself and to talk about it afterwards.

Read my review and see if this might fit into your #WyrdAndWonder plans – for this year or next – or any month betwixt and between! I appreciate you visiting with me as I’m just getting started – I’ve planned a whole literary holiday for myself where everyday I’ll be reading and/or listening to Fantasy stories and taking everyone on my readerly journey! Come back and see what I’ve discovered each week. For now,.. let the Marvelwood’s entice you into their world and find the JOY of the circus anew,.. .

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A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “The Marvelwood Magicians” by Diane Zahler, narrated by Sarah Zimmerman; courtesy of #NetGalleyThe Marvelwood Magicians
by Diane Zahler
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Sarah Zimmerman

Eleven-year-old Mattie Marvelwood comes from a family of traveling performers. Her dad is an illusionist; her mom is a fortune-teller; her brother has a vanishing act; and she herself is a mind-reader. But the Marvelwoods have a deep secret.

The acts they perform at carnivals, fairs, and circuses are not just acts. Their powers are real. In all their wanderings, the Marvelwoods have never met another performer with gifts like theirs—until they join Master Morogh’s Circus of Wonders! But it turns out that Master Morogh’s true talent is stealing the gifts of others. When he steals Mattie’s brother’s vanishing ability, the family has a big decision to make. Do they run, leaving Bell’s gift behind to save the rest of them, or risk exposure by trying to beat the duplicitous ringmaster at his own game?

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781629797243

ASIN: B0815B761C

on 1st October, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 19 minutes (unabridged)

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Published By: Live Oak Media (@MediaLiveOak)

Converse via: #KidsLit, #MGLit or #MiddleGrade, #Fantasy and #Magicians OR #Magic
and  #audiobook or #audioreads as well as #TheMarvelwoodMagicians
and especially #WyrdAndWonder !!

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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📖✍ Follow the author: @dianezahler

🎧📖 Visit the narrator: Sarah Zimmerman

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Sunday, 2 May, 2021 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #WyrdAndWonder, Audiobook, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Conservation, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Invisibility, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, NetGalley, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Preservation, Siblings, Small Towne USA, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Telekinesis, Telepaths & Telepathy, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Urban Fantasy, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | My #25PagePreview for “Love and Other Moods” by Crystal Z. Lee featuring an Extract and short Q&A from the author

Posted Monday, 22 March, 2021 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. I am thankful I can continue to host and feature tours by this touring company from 2020-forward.

I received a complimentary copy of “Love and Other Moods” direct from the author Crystal Z. Lee in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Whilst I didn’t get the chance to interview the author directly myself – she happily provided keen insight into her writerly process for this novel through a series of Q&A topical questions revolving round ‘transporting the reader’ into “Love & Other Moods” – which I felt you might benefit from knowing as well.

Love and Other Moods is based in Shanghai,
a city you had once lived and worked inside. What’s your favorite thing about Shanghai?

Lee responds: I love that Shanghai is a city of contrasts. You can see its history and modernity coexisting everywhere in that metropolis. There are ancient temples right alongside skyscrapers, traditional food stalls outside of fancy restaurants. It’s a city that attracts people from every walk of life, from all corners of the globe.

There are many, many delicious Chinese dishes
mentioned in your novel. Do you have a favorite?

Lee responds: In Love and Other Moods, one of the characters is a magazine food editor, one is a restaurant and bar owner, and one cooks as a hobby. Naturally there are many gourmet meal scenes in the book! Here is a sampling of some of the dishes that appear in the novel: Shanghainese truffle-flavored xiao long bao dumplings, Chongqing style liangfen spicy noodles, glutinous zongzi rice stuffed in bamboo leaves, lotus root pork bone broth, sticky niangao rice, Taiwanese oyster pancake, Peking duck and hairy crab. My favorite would be xiao long bao dumplings!

A favorite scene you enjoyed writing?

Lee responds: Chinese New Year is probably the most significant holiday in the Chinese-speaking world. In Love and Other Moods, there is a whole chapter that takes place in Nanjing and Shanghai during Chinese New Year, where some major developments happen to the characters. I relished writing this scene, and not just because it’s full of drama. I also enjoyed sharing all the cultural details of this holiday!

Were the romantic relationships in the book based on people you had known in Shanghai?

Lee responds: Somewhat. Almost every character and situation were inspired by something that had happened in real-life. For example, I had known people in China whose family were opposed to them dating a Japanese person because of what had happened during World War Two. I also knew some Joss and Tay types, where the second generation was loosely connected to the government in some capacity yet decided to date outside of their circle. I also knew many Logans in China—western men who had moved to Shanghai and treated the city as their personal playground. Although many foreigners have left China recently ahead of the pandemic, there is still a sizable expatriate contingent in Shanghai. Many of my friends are still there, and have married or are dating somebody from China.

Why did you decide to write the story in multiple third-person point-of-views?

Lee responds: I struggled whether to write the novel this way, but ultimately I wanted this book to mirror a city, with viewpoints from the multitude of characters you would meet in a sprawling metropolis. Therefore, in Love and Other Moods, there are POVs from the expats, the Shanghainese socialites, the corporate executives, the working class, the entrepreneurs, the doorman, the maid, the millennials, the aging parents. To me, all of their perspectives are essential to the story, and is what makes a city like Shanghai come alive.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your novel?

Lee responds:Although Love and Other Moods is billed as a Romance read–and there are many romantic moments in the book–there are also the more serious issues which many of us experience, particularly as women of color, such as racism and sexism.

Growing up, I adored reading rom-coms, but often felt I couldn’t relate, because the characters didn’t seem to endure some of the same issues I faced.

In writing this book, one of my greatest hopes is that some of my readers will feel less alone in their struggles, and feel more seen and heard.’

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From the first moment you open the Prologue – she has found a way to knit you inside the city she’s chosen as a setting in such a way as to be provocatively acute in understanding how to connect you to the place as much as the allure of why so many journey to the city in search of what they cannot find elsewhere. It is a powerful start to the story – similar in strength to how Matthew McConaughey gave an evoking spoken word speech at the start of his fundraiser for Texas over the weekend.

Some writers have a way of placing you into the contextual landscape of a specific setting with such acute clarity – it feels as if you’ve been there yourself even if you’ve never physically have spent anytime there at all. Lee captures Shanghai in a way only she could tell similarly to how McConaughey changed your perspective about Texas within only a few minutes of an address as they both share a passion for words and the expressive nature of connecting to their audiences.

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Blog Book Tour | My #25PagePreview for “Love and Other Moods” by Crystal Z. Lee featuring an Extract and short Q&A from the authorLove and Other Moods
by Crystal Z. Lee
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Love and Other Moods is a coming-of-age story set in contemporary China, about falling in love, learning to adult, finding strength, and discovering one’s place in the world.

Naomi Kita-Fan uproots her life from New York to China when her fiancé’s company transfers him to Shanghai. After a disastrous turn of events, Naomi finds herself with no job, no boyfriend, and nowhere to live in a foreign country.

Amidst the backdrop of Shanghai welcoming millions of workers and visitors to the 2010 World Expo, we meet a tapestry of characters through Naomi: Joss Kong, a Shanghai socialite who leads an enviable life, but must harbor the secrets of her husband, Tay Kai Tang. Logan Hayden, a womanizing restaurateur looking for love in all the wrong places. Pan Jinsung and Ouyang Zhangjie, a silver-aged couple struggling with adapting to the ever-changing faces of their city. Dante Ouyang, who had just returned to China after spending years overseas, must choose between being filial and being in love. All their dreams and aspirations interweave within the sprawling web of Shanghai.

This multilayered novel explores a kaleidoscope of shifting relationships—familial friction, amorous entanglements, volatile friendships—in one of the most dynamic metropolises of the twenty-first century.

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1913891015

Published by Balestier Press

on 8th December, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 324

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Ahead of reading my reactions to “Love and Other Moods”
ENJOY this short extract of the novel:

Naomi had packed four suitcases from New York, and right now they were stacked unevenly on top of one another in the hallway, forcing the front door to open only halfway, just tight enough for her to slide in sideways. She couldn’t remember the last time she had lived by herself. The lonely apartment was mildly depressing.

She felt like walking aimlessly. She passed by wrinkled men playing a game of Chinese chess, teenage girls in designer sunglasses taking photographs of each other, a woman gesticulating wildly as she yelled into her cell phone, tourists examining a guide book, a cloud of second-hand smoke drifting from outside a cafe, Uighur men selling kebabs, well-heeled shoppers clinging to their purchases, two men in yarmulkes talking heatedly, shrieking children competing with the racket from honking vehicles, and the sea of commuters gushing out of the Huangpi Nan Lu metro stop. Naomi let herself be swept up into the human river, bodies crushing against each other, arms brushing and shoving, no apologies no offense taken. Being in this city meant your senses were constantly accosted.

A man approached her with a flier featuring images of iPhones, Rolexes, LV handbags, and said that their shop was just ahead in an alley. She declined and quickened her pace. She spotted an empty bench by a bus stop and flopped down. Barely noticing as the traffic whizzed by, the racy selfie on Seth’s phone resurfaced in her head. A steady stream of downpour coaxed pedestrians to open a colorful array of umbrellas, or duck into convenience stores, boutique shops, malls entrances. Naomi felt wholly unequipped and unprepared, again, by this city.

Her hair was stuck to her face and her forehead was damp. She was relieved that the inclement weather matched her mood, for tears had started forming and slithering beneath her eyes, blending with the droplets of rain running down her face. She wiped it away with her sleeve. She just wanted to throw up all the fury and regrets that were lodged in her stomach, she wished it could all be flushed out of her head.

It was starting to hit her, the reality of having no boyfriend, no job, and nowhere to live.

She wondered if the sprawling metropolis of Shanghai was too small to co-exist with her ex-fiancé.

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Published by: Balestier Press (@BalestierPress)

Converse on Twitter via: #ContemporaryRomance & #NewAdult
as well as #LoveAndOtherMoods and #CrystalZLee

About Crystal Z. Lee

Crystal Z. Lee

Crystal Z. Lee is a Taiwanese American bilingual writer. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She was formerly a public relations executive who had worked with brands in the fashion, beauty, technology, and automotive industries. Love and Other Moods is her debut novel. She’s already hard at work on her next novel and a children’s book.

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Posted Monday, 22 March, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, China, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Lola's Blog Tours, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction

A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 2 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 enquiried 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 Soldier’s Unexpected Family” 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 a quick s/o and note to my readers & regular visitors alike – THANK YOU for visiting with me during February – as it became quite the epic month of CHANGE & TRANSITIONS for my family and I. I had meant to compose a Sunday Post about it all – however, to be honest, I’ve been having trouble with bouts of fatigue and exhaustion; this is the first week we’re I’m rested and able to get back to my blog – really *back!* on the blog, reading, composing my thoughts and rejoining the book blogging community I’ve loved being a part of for the past eight years come the 31st of March!! (in just a few short weeks – its my blogoversary!)

You’ll start to see more regularity again – on Jorie Loves A Story and on my social feeds – what better way to ‘come back’ than to come back and celebrate a favourite imprint by a publisher whose been giving me wicked good Romance reads! (big smiles) I’m working on the draft for that Sunday Post I kept mentioning in February – which should go live *this!* Sunday whilst I have announcements for #WyrdAndWonder (follow us via @WyrdAndWonder on Twitter), the RAL for ‘Unconquerable Sun’ I’m hosting throughout April via the community of @SciFiMonth (#SciFiMonth) and lots of bits and bobbles of life ‘behind the blog’ as well.

Bless you for your patience in me, for your comments & lovely notes you’ve been leaving me on my posts and for giving me a chance to sort out some of the changes in my life but still visiting with me as I was able to surface and share some new posts, blog tours & a wicked #TopTenTuesday all Janeites would be proud to watch (ie. it was a vlog interview!)

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.comWhy I loved my introduction into Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

It was hard not to burst into a proper fit of giggles when you first meet Lucie – if it weren’t for the seriousness of her situation and the hard-won luck she was providing for herself and her kids, it would have been a cracker of an opening! Plus, honestly – it just proved that whenever you think you are juggling all the chaos in your life, sometimes life has a way of giving you a bit more than you bargained after and proving that sometimes you just can’t lock it all down ahead of time! I loved how Agler gave us this comfortable opening to the novel – as it was a very relaxed start to the story whilst at the same time, it was full of cheeky humour lit round the edges!

I loved the tender moments Agler created between the twins, Mattie and Ethan with their Mum, Lucie as she gave you this wonderful warm home and hearth setting wherein a young family was patchworking their way into a better tomorrow. The young twins respected each other and their Mum, whilst they also had quite a large collection of animals to care after which gave you a burst of smiles because of how eclectic they were in species! It was the kind of home where you’d feel comfortable on your first visit and might not want to leave too quickly because of how engaging the family was to everyone who graced their home. It was a wonderful burst of life and love and I loved discovering this side of Agler’s writing style.

Ooh my dear stars! Caleb’s Mum stole the show for me! And, I loved her for it!! She had the most to lose and the most to gain but in the artful way Agler chose to give us a winning scene wherein Tina herself became the champion of her own story was the best moment of A Ranger for the Twins! It bespoke to the underlying theme of the story – about family, redemption and second chances – about rebuilding a life after the ashes have erased the past and of having the faithfulness of believing in the beauty of tomorrow! Ooh my goodness, what a wonderful toasting of mercy and the beautiful ways in which you can find yourself redeemed!

I definitely have found a new series to keep my eyes on for Heartwarming! I know this series isn’t officially named or even declared but for me, Hollydale is my new favourite small towne I can’t wait to revisit!! Here’s to more installments and more lives being healed and restored through Agler’s vision for her growing community where hearts and lives intersect with a lot of love and hope! Agler has a style for Contemporary Romance which is smooth as key lime pie and as charmingly lovely to read as a cool Autumn afternoon.

-quoted from my review for A Ranger for the Twins

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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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A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He had a plan…
She changed it all!

Major Aidan Murphy arrives in the charming small town of Hollydale to take full guardianship of his six-year-old nephew. Only there’s a slight problem—his vivacious, fiery co-guardian. School teacher Natalie Harrison has no intention of letting Aidan take her best friend’s heartbroken little boy away. Now Aidan must convince Natalie that blood is stronger than love…even if his heart tells him otherwise.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335179807

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins

Also in this series: A Ranger for the Twins


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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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

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

*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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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, 9 March, 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 #HistoricalMondays Book Review | feat. the thrilling conclusion within the pages of “Chaos in Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Three) by Edale Lane

Posted Monday, 15 February, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: When I first started book blogging in [2013] one of my first touring companies to work with was Tomorrow Comes Media who worked in conjunction with Seventh Star Press (an Indie publisher of Speculative Fiction) whilst featuring other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour hostess with Tomorrow Comes Media and enjoy getting to read a wide range of Speculative Fiction across Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres of interest. Sometimes the stories are genre-benders and/or they’re embracing the beauty of #SpecLit to such a degree they are their own unique niche in the larger expanse of the genre itself. 2020 marks my seventh year hosting for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press respectively.

I received a complimentary copy of “Chaos in Milan” direct from the author Edale Lane in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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And, for the new visitors & readers alighting on this review –
You might be curious what drew me into the Night Flyer Trilogy:

One of the highlights for me during the turmultous 2020 year of reading was the DISCOVERY of Edale Lane and her Night Flyer trilogy! I kid you not – it was one of the most engaging & layered Historical Fantasies I’ve read in recent years whilst it was wickedly historical in scope and even brought forth a variant of impressioning Leonardo da Vinci into the background of a series he isn’t technically physically present inside! And, yet,… dear hearts, he is evermore a part of this trilogy!

I originally crossed paths with Ms Lane early-on in February, 2020 wherein I first started my journey into her Night Flyer trilogy and of whom has written such a convicting slow-burn Historical Romance set within a Renaissance Fantasy world. And, that dear hearts – right there is the heart of the series itself – how one author can curate such a convicting premise & carry it through a trilogy you’re not sure you’re even prepared to see END and give us a thirst of excitement about what the ‘finale’ and final installment will mean for the characters we’ve come to know so dearly well!!

I first discovered her style of writing whilst I read “Merchants of Milan”. I anchoured the delightful #vlog interview I shared after my readings of “Merchants of Milan” with my ruminative thoughts of “Secrets of Milan” and a follow-up interview on behalf of the second installment as well.

Meanwhile, If you haven’t yet seen the lovely in-depth #behindthebook featured guest essay Ms Lane contributed to my stop on her tour with OWI – kindly take a moment to visit her words to find out how Art History and research into the world of art played such a strong role in how she developed the background of this series! This blog tour was a bit of a preview of what would come next during the Tomorrow Comes Media tour (for “Secrets of Milan”) which is why I was thankful to be a part of both tours and have the chance to feature this author on five separate occasions whilst helping to relate to my readers why I am enjoying her stories and why they ought to consider placing her trilogy on their #nextreads list!

Oh! And, not to mention I nominated AND advocated for “Merchants of Milan” as one of the books to be added into the library during a library drive during September, 2020! And, for those of whom missed my End of the Year Survey – you might want to open this TWEET!

However, we also had a delightful time meeting up with each other in 2020, too! It was the first year where I could meet an author I had loved reading and appreciated the conversation we shared, the memories we had over lunch and the joys of being a reader in a time and age where writers like to meet their readers on the spur of when their lives can intersect with each other!

To continue hosting this author via Tomorrow Comes Media has been a delight of joy – as they truly champion Indie Authors and Indie Publishers. It felt right to celebrate this third and final (?) installment of the series with TCM as the story comes to its natural conclusion. Or does it? I know there is a question mark if this is indeed the final story of the Night Flyer series – something I will be addressing after my review in regards to what my takeaways are about this series extending itself past the first trilogy and where I hope the series could go from where we’ve concluded this sequencing of the story itself.

If you’ve been privy to all the posts as they alighted on my blog last year, you know what you’re bracing for in the finale as much as I do! I am quite eager to see if I’ve unearthed whom is whom behind the whole conspiratorial plot as much as I want to see how Lane has knitted together all the fragments and tangents of the story overall! She has such a creative mind and an ingenious way of fusing it all together – just to see the final showdown (or is it?) happen is going to be EPIC.

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For those of you whom are new to Jorie Loves A Story,
let me share a bit about why I loved reading the Night Flyer trilogy by way of Secrets of Milan:

One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed reading this trilogy by Ms Lane is how she’s chosen to merge Historical details from our own living histories of the Renaissance into a new timeline of where Historical Fantasy can cross-sect with known History. In this way, we’re re-peering into the Renaissance through the eyes of a keen researcher who knows how to insert historical details which align with her fantastical elements (such as the Night Flyer). The series itself is definitely a succession of sociological observation and intrigue – in how she chooses to lay a firm hand on the behaviours and choices of her characters (lead, supporting and even the villain’s!) to where she orchestrates this lovely symphony of drama percolating through the series.

There are even moments wherein I learnt more about History and the ways in which History afforded certain allowances for women (both in the freedom of pursuing business to how the structure of society had been laid out) through reading this series and of which I will highlight within our conversation when I share my follow-up interview with Ms Lane on the 6th of July. This is another reason why I love reading Historical Fiction (overall) as it let’s you tuck close to the historic past and re-see those historical eras with finite detail you might have either overlooked elsewhere or been unable to find.

The human condition is definitely explored throughout the Night Flyer trilogy – however, in this instance, for the sequel I felt Lane did a wonderful job of giving us a more introspective response to the continuing events which are shaping her characters’ lives. She choose to take us deeper into the heart of what is fuelling Maddie’s quandary over embracing newfound happiness and romance whilst at the same time she presented us with a morally gray character who was seeking his own redemption for a life he felt was forfeited. It is through these new insights on behalf of her characters we start to see the greater picture of the series itself – not just the intrigue about the unknown but how her characters are shaping the trilogy and how the trilogy is being built behind them.

A special treat of this installment I felt was the inclusion of the Christmastide celebrations of Renaissance Milan! You get to see the traditions and the cultural or religious ways in which people would celebrate the Christmas season as a reflection of the era but also a reflection of how despite everything going on in their lives, Christmas did not take a hiatus from arriving. They each had to find ways to both acknowledge Christmas and either make peace with the holiday on arrival or find ways to muddle their way through it. I loved those details because Christmas has always been a special holiday for me and my family; as it was one of those holidays where traditions were constantly passed down, cherished and celebrated.

I was not quite prepared for how Secrets of Milan concludes because it owns to the title – wherein there are far more secrets afloat in the series now than there were previously! Including one that I felt would be difficult for Florentina to maintain as it might drive a wench in her relationship with Maddie – time will of course tell in that regard but for me personally, I loved how this one concluded because it honed in on the heart of the series – giving us more time to spend with Florentina and Maddie as their relationship drew closer together and allowed us further chance to peer into this hidden dark world Florentina is bent on exposing. Towards that end, the tenacles of how this secret world interacts with society is more intricate than a spider’s web and far more deadlier than a black widow.

-quoted from my book review for Secrets of Milan

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A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | feat. the thrilling conclusion within the pages of “Chaos in Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Three) by Edale LaneChaos in Milan
Subtitle: Book Three of the Night Flyer Trilogy
by Ms Edale Lane, Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Author

One woman stands between chaos and order – the Night Flyer.

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them. The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?

Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like action and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a sweet romance, then you’ll want to complete the Night Flyer saga.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, LGBTQIA Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8578153334

Also by this author: Merchants of Milan, (Video) Interview feat. Edale Lane (Merchants of Milan), Secrets of Milan (Guest Post by Author), Secrets of Milan, Secrets of Milan (Interview)

Also in this series: Merchants of Milan, Secrets of Milan


Published by Past & Prologue Press

on 8th December, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 246

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Merchants of Milan by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan by Edale LaneChaos in Milan by Edale Lane

The Night Flyer trilogy:

Merchants of Milan (book one) | see also Review

Secrets of Milan (book two) | see also Review

Chaos in Milan (book three)

Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Alternative History,
as well as Renaissance (time period), Action and Adventure, Superhero Fiction

Identities represented: F/F Romance, Lesbian friendship/relationships

Converse via: #WyrdAndWonder, #HistoricalFantasy, #SapphicFiction,
#SpeculativeFiction, #LGBTQ and #NightFlyerTrilogy with #EdaleLane

About Ms Edale Lane

Edale Lane

Edale Lane is the author of an award winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 15 February, 2021 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, #JorieLovesIndies, Blog Tour Host, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fantasy, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Self-Published Author, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Vulgarity in Literature