Category: Folklore and Mythology

A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (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 “Soul Riders” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing 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 “Soul Riders”:

I was attracted to a few elements about this story when I first found it on NetGalley – the horses, the sisterhood friendships of the girls’ and the fact this is all set in a fantastical world. I originally thought this was a story that was ‘set elsewhere’ without any tangible connection to our own living reality however as I shifted into the audiobook itself, I realised this is an Urban Fantasy wherein there are elements of modern life (our world) within the sphere of the series but there are elements of the fantastical in the background running concurrent to the girls’ school and life experiences.

I have a personal attachment to horse dramas & Westerns – whenever I can find one or the other which suits my interests, I love to soak inside the stories! Having had a close connection to horses when I was a child I believe plays a strong part in why I continue to seek out stories which features horses and/or the world of horses – from Contemporary &/or Historical Westerns to Contemporary Western Romances or Cowboy Romances (such as my Harlequin Heartwarming readings).

Finding a story set in a blended Middle Grade & Young Adult world for Fantasy which brings into focus my love of horses with the added advantage of hidden talents and special gifts given to the girls who ride star horses – honestly, what could be a better bookish find!?

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A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalleyJorvik Calling
Subtitle: Soul Riders (series), Video Game Tie-In (Star Stable)
by Helena Dahlgren
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley

Step into the universe of the massively popular adventure game Star Stable, and follow four friends who discover their magic powers and learn that every girl can be a hero in this fantasy trilogy.

Soul Riders tells the heroic tale of four young girls who have been chosen by destiny to save the world from the ancient demon: Garnok and his band of dangerous Dark Riders. Lisa is a teenage girl who is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of her mother in a riding accident and has sworn never to go near a horse again until she met Starshine, a mysterious blue-maned steed who comes to her in dreams. New on the island of Jorvik, Lisa befriends Alex, Linda, and Anne. Under the guidance of mystical druids, they discover they each have a special bond to their horses that gives them magical powers. While trying to balance school, family, and friendships they have to figure out what it means to be a Soul Rider. They are attacked by the Dark Riders and the mysterious Mr. Sands discover that their horses are in danger. Instead of relying on their combined strength, they decide to split up on their quest to find answers and learn to fight back against their enemies. However, will it be too late before they realize their mistake?

Jorvik Calling is the first installment in the epic, fantasy trilogy, Soul Riders, about magic, friendship, and horses bound to thrill all young equestrian fans.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Video Game Tie-In Series, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Suspense, YA Urban Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524855338

ASIN: B087D8F3SW

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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Published By: Andrews McMeel Audio
an imprint of Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel)

NOTE: When I first started listening to this title I thought for sure it would be considered Middle Grade Fantasy – however, as it progressed forward, I started to see it leans into YA Fantasy. It might be on the fence of merging Upper YA into Adult Fantasy within an Urban Fantasy world-building and setting. Ergo, if your considering this for younger readers rather than adult, know that this has the innocence of a Middle Grade Fantasy intermixed with the darker villains of an Upper YA/Adult Fantasy wherein if you are seeking lighter readers for Middle Grade readers I would advise against this one.

Converse via: #UrbanFantasy as well as #DarkFantasy and Upper #YAFantasy
+ #SoulRiders, #audiobook or #audioreads as well as #JorikRising and #StarStable

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Bullies and the Bullied, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, NetGalley, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

A special #EnterTheFantastic #FolkloreThursday | Jorie’s affinity for stories set in and round ‘Cinderella’ come together in H.L. Burke’s new release “Ashen”!

Posted Thursday, 17 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!!

Welcome to my [special] Enter the Fantastic guest feature rooted in the lore and appeal of ‘Cinderella’ which happily befits #FolkloreThursday! I cannot recollect how old I was when I first drew a close connection to Cinderella – both the character and her story, however, as a teenager, the actress I’ve realised this week could have been my elder sis, respun this lovely tale into the beauty of what became ‘Ever After’. I can never tire of that adaptation due to the brilliant way in which Drew Barrymore gave life and depth to Danielle as much as how the film honoured both the character of Cinderella and re-told the tale in such a Feminist driven plotting – you cannot help but take stock of *everything!* contained within it!

I am, unfortunately a day late and a dollar short as they say – I was meant to feature this lovely guest post by an author I first ‘met’ during #WyrdAndWonder 2019 – wherein I read this wickedly wonderful Fantasy Romance! My first! And, it sealed the deal I wanted to be reading more of her stories – (do yourself a favour and find out what drew me into her world of the fey) as I happily featured her during my bookish chat @SatBookChat as well!

The key reason I wanted to host her this September on this unexpected blog tour (thank you, Ms Burke for announcing it in your author’s newsletter!) is because I had already slated myself to finally dive back into the first novel in her duology “Daughter of Sun, Bride of Ice” – a unique Fantasy storyline I had hoped to listen and review last year, but had to keep pushing it forward until I could lay heart and mind into the storyline. I requeued this for #SelfPubFantasyMonth (my first year to join the celebrations!) during September as I’ve been wanting to re-explore Fantasy and the fantastical realms I love being a traveller ever since Wyrd And Wonder concluded this year and I fell short of my end goals. (courtesy of my neverending chronic migraines which love to rage during *May!* the height of pollen season! OY!)

Let me give a short recap of my ‘Wednesday’ which ought to have been a proper ‘manic Monday’ instead – woke by 630a, wherein a two hour appointment turnt into seven whilst the whole day round was one near disaster after another and all told, I didn’t get back home til after 10p! The key reason this post was delayed wasn’t due to my insane Wednesday – it was due to the fact my connectivity went fully wonk yesterday afternoon shortly after receiving confirmation about this lovely guest post as this blog tour was assembled quite fast compared to other tours I’ve hosted wherein I had more than half a day to prep to share it. I didn’t get on til after midnight rounding out my day to a full 18+ hours!!

Ergo, forgive the delay but let’s celebrate why you’ve landed on Jorie Loves A Story! I could not have done more if I desired it and I shared this as quick as I could wherein having my connectivity resolved was one nightmaric obstacle I was thankful I didn’t have to worry over for another day!

If you love CINDERELLA, wait til you meet the characters within ASHEN –

Ashen Quote graphic provided by Uncommon Universes Press and is used with permission.

And yet, before we can do that, we need to better understand how ASHEN was bourne! Brew yourself a lovely cuppa, dear hearts and let’s drink in Ms Burke’s words together about how she cobbled together a story which was sparked out of the COLD!

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A special #EnterTheFantastic #FolkloreThursday | Jorie’s affinity for stories set in and round ‘Cinderella’ come together in H.L. Burke’s new release “Ashen”!Ashen
by H.L. Burke

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.

Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Fantasy Fiction, Inspired by Stories (Author/Book), Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08CZZFKKX

Also by this author: To Court A Queen

Published by Uncommon Universes Press

on 22nd September, 2020

Published by: Uncommon Universes Press (@UncommonUnivers)

Genre(s): Folklore & Fairytales, After Canon Stories, Reinventing Cinderella

Converse via: #FolkloreThursday, #Mythothon and #Cinderella
as well as #Ashen, #Fantasy and #Classics

About H.L. Burke

H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

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So, the inspiration for Ashen. (Cracks knuckles)

Heidi was Cold and had NO MARINE so she wrote an MC that couldn’t get cuddles to take it out on her. The end.

K, I’m done. I can has cookie … wait, no, apparently this post needs more words. Um, hmm ….

In early 2019, a knee injury made it impossible for my husband to continue his military career. While he started separation paperwork (from the military, not us, but … yeah, spoilers, the military kept us separated off and on for almost a year), the plan was for me to move up to Oregon with the girls, look for a house, get them started in school, and then he’d join us once his retirement was finalized.

We left for Oregon in May. Matt didn’t join us (except for short visits) until March of 2020.

In the meantime, I did get a house: an older one that I love for it’s quirkiness and personality, but yeah … in the winter it’s drafty.

So there I was, in a house that could get fairly cold at night, with no husband to snuggle up against, and I started thinking about a protagonist whose primary issue is that she’s cold. Why is she cold? Maybe she can’t get near people because she takes their heat. She’s a heat vampire. Maybe it can get to the point where she can accidentally freeze someone to death if she touches them for too long …

And from that sprang Lizbete, a lonely little sad floof who just wants to connect with others but is afraid to because her need to draw heat from external sources makes her a danger to those closest to her.

Then she started hanging out in the ashes by the fire, and I was like, “Dang, people are going to think that’s a Cinderella reference … maybe it IS. Oh gosh … this is a Cinderella retelling.”

My husband is home now, by the way (thanks for asking). And (without being too spoilery), I promise Lizbete also gets her happy ending.

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Ashen Quote graphic provided by Uncommon Universes Press and is used with permission.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I, admit, when I learnt where the Burke’s were living right now, I shuddered because my heart, my very soul has been so dearly attached to newsfeeds via streaming news services out of Oregon for the past fortnight (at least!) that I feel as if I’m going through the whole atrocity with them! My heart was in full grief that for the second time this year the environment, the landscape and the lives of the persons living in the path of wildfires were being irrevocably affected by what the fires are afflicting on the wildlife and on the humans who are falling victim to the fire.

I’ve been to Oregon – I LOVED Oregon and the whole Pacific Northwest (PNW) as the climate was so much more gentler than were I am myself – you couldn’t find the sun if you tried back then (in the late 90s) and blessedly it was not humid, nor hot and in the middle of June it was a blustery environ of oceanic breezes and the chilly comfort of overcast grey skies with a chill in the air as the natural thermostat was in the low 50s! It was my own bit of Heaven,…

This makes it even more special I think to help book boost an author whose living there and dealing with such a heavy load – not just the wildfires of today, but as you’ve read, she had to shoulder the relocation *and!* the adjustment of waiting out her husband’s retirement! The strength that takes and the toll it can have on your person is incredible. I am full of gratitude for her sacrifices and for his service.

I didn’t understand the theme of the post at first – let’s just blame my inability to see her cheekified humour on soldiering through a bluster of a migraine this week, too much personal IRL stress and a newfound joy of finding out I can BAKE a SCONE. Okay, that last bit? That’s the bright rainbow of joyfulness that marked a turning of tides this week, wells, til you know, Wednesday arrived and you would have found me at sixes and sevens – running round ragged and pushing through heat exhaustion because you know, Summer has a wrath of the volcanic on you! Throw in a few birds of prey, a real bonefide rainbow and some unexpected blessings today and it rounded out to a lovely day despite the angst and the afflicted way in which I felt the day would never end.

I finally caught on to her humour and it was a refreshing look into how she approaches her craft of writing whilst giving out a personal antidote from the life behind the books as Ms Burke has somehow managed to achieve what I haven’t yet – write and continue to develop her writerly craft whilst living through circumstances that would give the impression you might not feel as creatively inclined to accomplish anything at all. I give full credit to all creatives who can push through that kind of incredible weight of stress and circumstance and produce wicked incredible stories – Ms Burke is one author to keep your eyes on — she’s going to surprise you and I hope you’ll find the stories she’s penning as entertaining as I do!

Meanwhile, despite the rocky start to hosting for this lovely Indie Press, I am hopeful they’ll forgive my delay to post as I’d love to continue to work with them on future blog tours. I love championing Indie Publishers & Press as much as Indie & Self published authors – as throughout the past seven years on Jorie Loves A Story, those are the creative economists and storycrafters I take great pride in discovering, reading and being a book cheerleader for as I expand my literary horizons.

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A reader’s thoughts on behalf of ASHEN:

Although this Cinderella retelling twists them into something quite different, it retains most of the traditional elements of the story; the girl given a nick-name due to being covered in ashes, the cruel guardian, the “ball” attended in disguise, shoes of glass and the giant lava-dwelling fire octopus.

OK, so that last one isn’t usually part of the story but it really ought to be. The story flows easily from the first page effortlessly drawing you in and keeping you enthralled right through to the end. -LJ

I don’t usually share a quote by another reviewer, however, in this particular case I could not miss the chance to share this one – as I felt she captured it brilliantly how attached we insta-feel towards Burke’s writings. I know I felt that way last year! And, of course, I cannot wait to read ASHEN but it might take me a bit before I can bring a copy of it home. I definitely hope to fetch a copy via my library but for now, I’m wicked happy I can champion it on the blog tour!

Am I the only one who WISHED the octopi was real?

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This guest feature is courtesy of: Uncommon Universes Press

Ashen and Met By Midnight Blog Tour Banner provided by Uncommon Universes Press and is used with permission.

Kindly seek out more travellers of the fantastical to gain more insight off this lovely blog tour – whilst finding yourself wickedly delighted by what you find! As you click through the tour banner, you will find links to guide your route! Plus, you’ll find a link to the Facebook Launch Party – I can’t go as I’m on #bookTwitter but GO if you are on Facebook!

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#EnterTheFantastic banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This guest feature is part of my continuous journey to #EnterTheFantastic!

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings!
– or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Ashen”, book synopsis, author guest post, promo quote badges for “Ashen”, blog tour banner as well as the review extract were all provided by the publisher Uncommon Universes Press and are used with permission. The author photo and biography were previously provided by H.L. Burke and are used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Guest Posts and Reviews banner, #EnterTheFantastic banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

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Posted Thursday, 17 September, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Author Guest Post (their topic), Blog Tour Host, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight, Classical Literature, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Re-Told Tales, Uncommon Universes Press