Category: Equality In Literature

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review | “Secrets of Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Two) by Edale Lane

Posted Wednesday, 1 July, 2020 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 ARC copy of “Merchants of 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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Let’s re-visit why I have enjoyed sharing my features showcasing this trilogy:

The author I am featuring for a regeneration of my featured posts showcasing Fantasy novelists I love reading (ie. #EnterTheFantastic) is Edale Lane. I originally crossed paths with Ms Lane earlier this year 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.

I first discovered her style of writing whilst I read “Merchants of Milan”. I am anchouring 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. To continue hosting this author via Tomorrow Comes Media has been a delight of joy – as they truly champion Indie Authors and Indie Publishers. You’ll have to come back to Jorie Loves A Story lateron on this blog tour (Monday, 6th of July) to read over our conversation which delves into the series at large and what comes ‘next’ after ‘Chaos in Milan” (book three).

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:

Lane inserted such a beautiful scene wherein the children of Maddie, Florentina and her childhood friend discussed how da Vinci painted The Last Supper, noting the techniques he used in the paint choices, the ways in which he used perspective to draw your eye towards a particular section of the painting itself and what this representation of the scene he painted reflected on himself as a painter, an artist and a man of faith. This isn’t the first inclusion of Medieval thoughtfulness on religious discourse in the novel – where Lane has bridged the gap between known history and religious history as it would be anchoured into this background given the age of where enlightenment first began and how openly curious those persons were who lived in the age of the Renaissance. It was a time of rebirth but also of intellectual curiosity – where pursuing knowledge was the mainstay of those were intellectually adventurous.

This first installment sets down the foundation of how Maddie and Florentina must join forces in order to seek the truth of what is happening in the shadows of Milan’s powerful houses. There is something untoward going on whilst the rest of the city is going about its business as usual. If the Night Flyer hadn’t started to make appearances and seek out truth from the shadows of night, they might not have learnt as much as they had now. It was only when they each started to question certain truths in their own lives did they start to discover the levels of deceit in their lives. The hardship of course is what to do with all the information once it is learnt? This became a bit of a battle of wills for the women as neither of them felt they would have anything to gain but vengeance and peace of mind for their actions.

The Night Flyer exists similar to Zorro – as a person for the people and the ones in their society without the voice to give light to the ills of the city. It is here where you start to see how the Night Flyer has taken on more than what they originally sought because it is too hard to bypass the needs of the people in pursuit of one man who wronged so many in his lifetime. It was a clever plotting how the Night Flyer could have a bit of duality – not only in their life when their unmasked but as a masked figure they had a certain layer of freedom and of movement that would not have been afforded to them if they hadn’t conceived of the masked identity. That in of itself spoke volumes about the greater purpose of the Night Flyer and also how hard it would be to find truer justice in this world that was severely unjust to the working class.

There is a secondary focus on the villain’s family – wherein his wife Daniella and his daughter Agnese are discussing their health and how the mother feels that perhaps her own health was destroyed by the personal care products she had been using ahead of her own health’s decline. Products such as cosmetics and hair dye – which I felt were a fitting reference, as in other historical narratives it is revealled how toxic those products were to be used and how uninformed people were of what they were actually using on their hair and face. It was also a stark contrast to today’s world where there is still a misalignment with safety when it comes to personal care products and cosmetics overall.

I loved how approachable Lane made this world – you took up residence in the story as soon as it began – with the presumption of a horrid man getting away with a despicable truth and wherein two women join together to take-on the conspiracy of injustice they both mutually shared. I loved the descriptions of the objects in the novel, too, from Florentina’s father’s clock to how Lane wanted you to have a fuller appreciation for the engineering and production of things in this world.

-quoted from my book review for Merchants of Milan

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Quote banner for Secrets of Milan provided by the author Edale Lane and OWI Blog Tours; used with permission.

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 previous blog tour was a bit of a preview of what would come next during the Tomorrow Comes Media tour – I was thankful to be a part of both tours and have the chance to feature this author on three 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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review | “Secrets of Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Two) by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan
Subtitle: Book Two of the Night Flyer Trilogy
by Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Author

The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.

Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane's Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and s romance that deepens into true love, then you'll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8643642060

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

Also in this series: Merchants of Milan


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


Published by Past & Prologue Press

on 5th May, 2020

Format: Unbound Manuscript (ARC)

Pages: 262

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Merchants of Milan by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan by Edale Lane

The Night Flyer trilogy:

Merchants of Milan (book one) | see also Review

Secrets of Milan (book two) 

Chaos in Milan (book three) *forthcoming release!

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 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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 1 July, 2020 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, #JorieLovesIndies, #WyrdAndWonder, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Jorie Loves A Story Features, OWI - Other Worlds Ink Blog Tours, Self-Published Author, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

An #EnterTheFantastic Special Feature | “Secrets of Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Two) by Edale Lane

Posted Saturday, 13 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Guest Contributor and/or Reviewer of JLAS banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might have gathered by my re-emergence back onto Twitter on Friday (erm, yesterday!) I am starting to end my unexpected social hiatus. It was necessary for me to retreat a bit offline in order to recover from my afflictions stemming from severe seasonal allergies; I am not alone in succumbing to these and I have full sympathies for everyone whose life is made miserable by ‘pollen’. Blessedly – I exited May with only one migraine (at the start of #WyrdAndWonder) and dodged 3x others in the fortnight since the event officially concluded on the 31st of May.

However, as I didn’t get a proper send-off for my final two review showcases for #WyrdAndWonder – nor did I get the chance to reveal and share my photo challenge posts (there are two still in queue) outside of the first one I was able to assemble – you could say, I still have a bit of Wyrd And Wonder happening on Jorie Loves A Story this June! I am full of gratitude to extend the event a bit as each June I have struggled with ‘letting go’ until the next May wherein we get to rally together, celebrate our community of Fantasy enthusiasts and champion a genre we’re mutually passionate about celebrating. 

My featured author today is Edale Lane who first inspired me to begin hosting for OWI – Other Worlds Ink Blog Tours – whilst I read a wickedly delightful Historical Fantasy novel. I happily get to anchour this delightful #vlog interview I shared after concluding my readings of the first novel in this trilogy “Merchants of Milan” with my ruminative thoughts on a review of “Secrets of Milan” and a conversation thereafter this July whilst hosting for Tomorrow Comes Media.

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 when I first discovered Ms Lane’s writerly style:

Lane inserted such a beautiful scene wherein the children of Maddie, Florentina and her childhood friend discussed how da Vinci painted The Last Supper, noting the techniques he used in the paint choices, the ways in which he used perspective to draw your eye towards a particular section of the painting itself and what this representation of the scene he painted reflected on himself as a painter, an artist and a man of faith. This isn’t the first inclusion of Medieval thoughtfulness on religious discourse in the novel – where Lane has bridged the gap between known history and religious history as it would be anchoured into this background given the age of where enlightenment first began and how openly curious those persons were who lived in the age of the Renaissance. It was a time of rebirth but also of intellectual curiosity – where pursuing knowledge was the mainstay of those were intellectually adventurous.

This first installment sets down the foundation of how Maddie and Florentina must join forces in order to seek the truth of what is happening in the shadows of Milan’s powerful houses. There is something untoward going on whilst the rest of the city is going about its business as usual. If the Night Flyer hadn’t started to make appearances and seek out truth from the shadows of night, they might not have learnt as much as they had now. It was only when they each started to question certain truths in their own lives did they start to discover the levels of deceit in their lives. The hardship of course is what to do with all the information once it is learnt? This became a bit of a battle of wills for the women as neither of them felt they would have anything to gain but vengeance and peace of mind for their actions.

The Night Flyer exists similar to Zorro – as a person for the people and the ones in their society without the voice to give light to the ills of the city. It is here where you start to see how the Night Flyer has taken on more than what they originally sought because it is too hard to bypass the needs of the people in pursuit of one man who wronged so many in his lifetime. It was a clever plotting how the Night Flyer could have a bit of duality – not only in their life when their unmasked but as a masked figure they had a certain layer of freedom and of movement that would not have been afforded to them if they hadn’t conceived of the masked identity. That in of itself spoke volumes about the greater purpose of the Night Flyer and also how hard it would be to find truer justice in this world that was severely unjust to the working class.

There is a secondary focus on the villain’s family – wherein his wife Daniella and his daughter Agnese are discussing their health and how the mother feels that perhaps her own health was destroyed by the personal care products she had been using ahead of her own health’s decline. Products such as cosmetics and hair dye – which I felt were a fitting reference, as in other historical narratives it is revealled how toxic those products were to be used and how uninformed people were of what they were actually using on their hair and face. It was also a stark contrast to today’s world where there is still a misalignment with safety when it comes to personal care products and cosmetics overall.

I loved how approachable Lane made this world – you took up residence in the story as soon as it began – with the presumption of a horrid man getting away with a despicable truth and wherein two women join together to take-on the conspiracy of injustice they both mutually shared. I loved the descriptions of the objects in the novel, too, from Florentina’s father’s clock to how Lane wanted you to have a fuller appreciation for the engineering and production of things in this world.

-quoted from my book review for Merchants of Milan

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Quote banner for Secrets of Milan provided by the author Edale Lane and OWI Blog Tours; used with permission.

This post was a lovely surprise for me as I signed on to host something special by the author and I am wicked thankful I had! I *love!* grab bag surprises – for me, getting a wholly original post by an author on a blog tour is just about as wicked sweet as it can get – this is the second time I’ve been thus blessed by an author via OWI!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An #EnterTheFantastic Special Feature | “Secrets of Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Two) by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan (Guest Post by Author)
Subtitle: Book Two of the Night Flyer Trilogy
by Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa

The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.

Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane's Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and s romance that deepens into true love, then you'll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8643642060

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

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


Published by Past & Prologue Press, Self Published

on 5th May, 2020

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Merchants of Milan by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan by Edale Lane

The Night Flyer trilogy:

Merchants of Milan (book one) | see also Review

Secrets of Milan (book two) * review forthcoming!

Chaos in Milan (book three) *forthcoming release!

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, #Fantasy,
#SpeculativeFiction, #LGBTQ and #NightFlyerTrilogy with #EdaleLane

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
Divider

Posted Saturday, 13 June, 2020 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, #WyrdAndWonder, Author Guest Post (their topic), Blog Tour Host, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Jorie Loves A Story Features, OWI - Other Worlds Ink Blog Tours, Self-Published Author, Speculative Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

A #SatBookChat Book Review | “Happy Everything” (Merry Hanukkah series, Book Two) by Debby Caruso

Posted Friday, 12 June, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! I naturally was curious about the sequel and when she offered to send me “Happy Everything” I felt it was a fitting way to begin my New Year reading the sequel and kicking off my #SaturdaysAreBookish featured reviews.

Except to say, it took me until #IndieApril to find the focus I needed to re-absorb myself back into this lovely series – as the first bits of the New Year did not quite pan out the way I had intended them too! By sharing this review during April, I was hoping to re-highlight how much I enjoy hosting my #SatBookChat authors whilst also noting that I am a champion for #IndieAuthors both on my blog Jorie Loves A Story and through my @SatBookChat showcases.

I had the best of plans to run this during #IndieApril – however, a migraine and seasonal pollen allergies interfered and I had to bump this showcase forward to a weekend where I was free of both! I find May the hardest month to transition through for my pollen allergies and thus, this review kept getting bumped forward until now, finally in JUNE I can share it at long last! It also kicks off a new sequence of #SatBookChat Reviews wherein I am reading and reviewing my @SatBookChat backlogue!

I received a complimentary copy of “Happy Everything” direct from the author Debby Caruso 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

On what I enjoyed about “Merry Hanukkah”:

We enter Rhonda’s life at her wedding – where despite the festive nature of the day, there is a foreboding undercurrent of doubt in regards to whether or not her in-laws truly accept her as they’re daughter-in-law; as an ill-fated scene played out at the height of the celebrations. You could gather there was something brewing in the background – perhaps, the in-laws weren’t certain of their son’s choice due to the combining of their religious backgrounds? As the ceremony was delightfully equally divided between both their traditions, uniting them both through love and the faith they shared between them. Yet, I could imagine this might not settle well for traditionalists who might prefer the ceremony had been singular rather than plural and spilt.

It is here where you see how Rhonda is trying to balance her life through the holidays – as we fast forward a bit to where she’s bursting with anxiety about how to combine Christmas and Hanukkah – or rather, to come up with a crazy plan of action with her best friend Dez (whose never out of zingers and zany remarks!) as this is the year she wants to prove to her mother-in-law she and James can have a happily ever after as a family who celebrates both religious heritages. The irony though is that she is approaching it as if she needs to make it the picture perfect reality she envisions rather than trying to keep it a bit more real and humble, knowing not everything has to go smoothly in order to be the best holiday you’ve celebrated.

Before Rhonda can make her plans though, life starts to grab her at the quick! Her agency wants her to be part of the team who can deliver an ad campaign worthy of a New Year and her husband’s family goes through the process of loss before the holidays even start to blink into sight. It proves that no matter how hard you try to organise your life, there are days and moments you can’t plan for ahead of time. Life finds a way to unsettle your status quo and take you for a bit of a ride whenever things seem to be a bit on the quiet side.

As soon as you pick up Merry Hanukkah, you know your in for a delightful fun read – as Caruso has a natural talent for humour and wit; lacing in her style of Contemporary life with the fuell of comedy she evokes a sense of festive cheerfulness in her story. This isn’t a story to take too seriously as at the heart of the story itself is the truer blissitude and purpose behind why we all celebrate the holidays together as best we can as we merge our families together. Not all families can agree on the details but for those of us who celebrated the holidays whilst combining traditions and memories, those were the holidays you remember the most. Where everyone found a way to come together uniting through the blessing of the season and finding a reason to celebrate the joyfulness of being together.

This is what you can pick up on whilst reading the story – as Caruso wants to show how even if you have a family at odds with one another on certain points, there is renewed hope in being able to come together for the special moments in life which unite us without having to worry about all the little particulars that no one will remember anyway!

Caruso has a quick style – similar to writing for screen where she places you in-scene rather immediately and lets each individual scene speak for itself. As you shift between the chapters, you notice her style as you don’t wait long for embellishments on the previous disclosure and sequences, as you’ve found the plot has already moved forward. This works well for a short Holiday Contemporary like this one, as the pacing is matching the rush you feel at the holidays where there is never enough time to get everything accomplished you wish to get done.

-quoted from my book review for Merry Hanukkah

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #SatBookChat Book Review | “Happy Everything” (Merry Hanukkah series, Book Two) by Debby CarusoHappy Everything
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Happy Everything is the ongoing story of Rhonda and James, following them from Merry Hanukkah directly into the much anticipated second installment in the Merry Hanukkah series.

Everyone’s favorite newlyweds have settled into married life, but now it’s Dez and Jack’s turn to make it official. In typical Rhonda fashion, she’s determined to give her best friend Dez the best bridal shower ever, all while juggling yet another work crisis and still trying desperately to fit in to her new family situation. Unfortunately, Aunt Bunny is diagnosed with cancer, and the entire family starts coming apart at the seams. Rhonda and James step in to help support Uncle Ben any way they can, but it’s never enough for Rhonda’s incorrigible mother-in-law, Vivian. Will Vivian’s constant meddling finally cause Rhonda and James irreparable damage? Is there any way that Rhonda can pull the family together by hosting both Passover and Easter on the same weekend?

Why is Rhonda’s Dad suddenly dating someone much younger than him? And how can Rhonda come up with a new and exciting way to sell protein bars?

Follow Rhonda into this new chapter of her life, where success hinges on the latest and greatest ad campaign, and her personal triumphs are determined by how much she can do for others. Journey with her as she begins to slowly realize that she can’t be all things to all people; even the ones you love the most.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732519022

Also by this author: Merry Hanukkah

Also in this series: Merry Hanukkah


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Women's Fiction


Published by Self Published

on 13th September, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 182

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Merry Hanukkah series:

Merry Hanukkah by Debby CarusoHappy Everything by Debby Caruso

Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review

Happy Everything (book two)

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #WomensFiction or #RomCom

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 12 June, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Judiasm, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, World Religions

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Highlander’s English Bride” (Clan Kendrick, Book Three) by Vanessa Kelly

Posted Saturday, 6 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

I received a complimentary of “The Highlander’s English Bride” direct from the publisher Zebra Books (an imprint of) Kensington 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

Why I wanted to read “The Highlander’s English Bride”:

It has been a bit too long since I’ve tucked into a traditional Romance novel such as this one – wherein, there is a saga unfolding between installments and there is a continuity threading within the context of the stories as well. I used to read quite a few authors who wrote series like this one and then, for whichever reason I abandoned reading them. I’ve meant to delve back into them over the years but never found the time.

When this blog tour came round – I thought for sure I could listen to the first two novels in the series via Scribd but the months dissolved too quickly off the clock for me to dive into them. I decided to begin this as a new reader might – picking up the storyline on the third in a series rather than starting at the beginning. I’ve had my eye on stories about the Highlands for many years – as I don’t oft get to read stories set in Scotland. My favourite series set there is “Monarch of the Glen” which is a delightful series involving one very eccentric Scottish family and their estate.

Quite soon after I started reading this story, I realised not having read the previous installments was doing me a bit of a favour because there is so much to process and enjoy in this installment! If I’d have had enough time to go through the audiobooks for the series, I think I would have enjoyed the lead-in into the third storyline but without that back-history, the beauty of starting here is seeing where Graeme and his family intersect with Sabrina’s timeline. The fact that Kelly writes a cleverly spun tango of intrigue is part of what rooted me into her story whilst the humour is what kept me in laughter!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Highlander’s English Bride” (Clan Kendrick, Book Three) by Vanessa KellyThe Highlander's English Bride
Subtitle: Clan Kendrick | United in Desire
by Vanessa Kelly
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In this dazzling new novel from bestselling author Vanessa Kelly, the wildest member of Clan Kendrick has found his purpose as a government agent. Now he must also meet his match…

Lady Sabrina Bell has never been so embarrassed in her life. Not only did her new suitor fail to appear for their morning rendezvous in Hyde Park, but a thief pushed her into the Serpentine. Being rescued by a burly Highlander just adds to her humiliation. Nor is he content with rescuing her just once. Even when Sabrina travels to Edinburgh as part of King George’s entourage, Graeme Kendrick is there, interfering, exasperating, and so very tempting…

Once notorious for being the most unruly Kendrick brother, Graeme now runs dangerous missions for the King’s spymaster. Yet nothing has prepared him for Sabrina. The only child of a wealthy earl, and the pampered goddaughter of the king himself, she is stubborn, impetuous, and far too good for him. He doesn’t deserve her, but he can protect her and then send her safely back home. But the bonny Sassenach has her own ideas—and a plan for seduction that no red-blooded Highlander could resist…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781420147056

Genres: Historical Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Zebra Books

on 26th May, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 448

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Clan Kendrick series:

The Highlander Who Protected Me (book one)

The Highlander’s Christmas Bride (book two)

The Highlander’s English Bride (book three)

Published by: Zebra Books
an imprint of Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

In regards to the ‘heat’ of sensuality & sexuality explored in this novel,
I felt I ought to let my readers know this one was a bit more intense than your regular Romance novel.

three-flames

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #ClanKendrick and #HFVBTBlogTours

About Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.

Vanessa’s first Clan Kendrick book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. The Highlander’s Christmas Bride, her latest book, hit the top 50 on both the Barnes & Noble mass-market bestseller list and on BookScan. The Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller.

When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Saturday, 6 June, 2020 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, the Regency era, Vulgarity in Literature

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:

Divider

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