Category: Folklore

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.

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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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Showcase in [cycles of six] Reviews | The journey Jorie takes into the world of “Cycles of Mythology” by Glenn Searfoss feat. [Cycle One]

Posted Thursday, 28 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.Acquired Book By: I was approached in late August 2019 – just ahead of #Mythothon Year 2 to consider reviewing a tome of a book (over 800+ pages) regarding Norse Mythology. At the time the book review request came into my blog, I must admit, I was slightly *gobsmacked!* at the timing of it – as how could a book such as this about the very topic of discovery I was about embark on during September come into my Review Requests? I considered it writ in the runes as they say – eagerly excited about what the book would reveal to me about the Norse Mythologies but also, the challenge of reading, dissecting and blogging about a book separated into six distinctive sections called “cycles”.

Initially, I had projected to read and review this work of fictional excellence within the month of September, however, due to unforeseen illness and a severe migraine; I re-grouped and realised I needed three months not thirty days! I also re-planned how I would attack reading and reviewing this book – as per each ‘cycle’ of the story, there was loads to ruminate over and discuss with my readers – therefore, this is a review in [six] installments – where each ‘cycle’ in the book itself is a separate review [similar to when I read serial fiction?] and it will be anchoured with a Q&A at the beginning of my readings [featuring nine questions, one per post featured in this series of showcases]; a more extensive interview at the conclusion of my readings [featuring 20 questions] and a cumulative review wherein I will re-address each of the cycles (and their reviews) whilst talking about what truly resonated with the book overall as the whole story will have become revealled to me at that junction.

My health proved to be a stumbling block I could not circumvent in late 2019 – I had two months of migraines and two months of illness to shift through to where focusing on Non-Fiction and headier reads like this one were not going to work out very well for me. It wasn’t until May, where I felt I could re-settle into the context of the story and truly honour the text with reviews I had originally planned to write on its behalf where I felt renewed to re-attempt my original goals of sequencing the reviews into six installments whilst interviewing the author at the end of finishing the book and giving my overall impression of what I had read. Sometimes you have to let life be lived before you can return to something you were enjoying to read – such as this lovely book I received last year.

I received a complimentary copy of “Cycles of Norse Mythology” direct from the author Glenn Searfoss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The mood I created for myself as I read:

Regular followers who actively read Jorie Loves A Story will have denoted a section on my reviews where I talk about the playlists I listen to on a variety of platforms – from Spotify (my first choice), Pandora (my secondary choice), iHeartRadio (a distant third) and when I was able to have a subscription Hearts of Space programmes which I originally discovered on analogue radio broadcasts. If I could ever remember the Sunday Playlists are *free!* to stream via Hearts of Space – I could soak into their beautiful soundscapes which feature ambient and trance electronica.

As I was embarking on a reader’s odyssey into a wholly new dimension of a) literature and b) Mythology – in the Classical study of the field – I opted to use Spotify due to the choices the platform affords readers who are seeking a personalised soundscape as they’re reading. I’ve mentioned this previously on different reviews – how I equate the components of a novel or work of Non-Fiction with the sounds, tones, lyrics or non-lyrics, classical orchestrations or other experimental sound environs which are either contemporary, classic or somewhere betwixt the two – either featuring stateside artists or stepping through the window into the world’s musical stage. In essence, my musical adventures cast a wide net.

For Cycles in Mythology, I knew instinctively it would be similar to my original pursuits of Irish, Celtic and Gaelic stories – wherein I would pursue the music in-line with my readings across Contemporary and Historical story-crafters who were intriguing me into their sagas and/or genre fiction. Happily Spotify did not let me down – all you had to key into their lovely search box (it is a bit like a treasure box of infinite random joy; at least to me) was “Nordic” – this gave me such a motley ecelecticity of choice I was at first unsure which playlist, album or artist to begin my journey.

Previously I had discovered melodic metal bands Sonarta Artica and Nightwish – with this kind of background of layered sound and an intriguing approach to how music can transcend time, place and language inasmuch as create a soundscape intuitive aware of its origins, I let my eyes roam over the selections. Sometimes you have to just trust your intuition. This is how I landed on “Nordic and Viking Music” – a collection of music spanning 7 hours and 50 minutes with a total collection of 93 tracks. I felt it was fittingly long enough to dive into my “Day One” readings.

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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Showcase in [cycles of six] Reviews | The journey Jorie takes into the world of “Cycles of Mythology” by Glenn Searfoss feat. [Cycle One]Cycles of Norse Mythology
Subtitle: Tales of the AEsir Gods
by Glenn Searfoss
Source: Direct from Author

Edda's and Sagas of the Northland recount epic struggles for control of the world. In this land lost amid the cycles of time, canny gods confront shrewd giants, while valiant heroes battle honorable foes.

Cycles of Norse Mythology takes the reader on a thrilling exploration of the Norse Universe as the Gods and Giants are exposed in their complex interactions. From the creation of the world to its violent ending, this comprehensive re-imagining breathes life and modern relevance into the Norse gods and their foes, while remaining faithful to the traditional myths. Through engaging, lyrical storytelling, this work presents the gripping adventures of the Norse Gods in a style to delight modern readers of all ages.

Cycles of Norse Mythology comprises six cycles of 100+ interconnected stories that encompass the entire breadth of Norse Mythology. All tales are extended to create greater tension between the reader and the characters. Sequence gaps are filled by interpolations based on cross references in classic and modern literature.

Cycle 1: Prophesy. Odin travels the dark road to Niflhel seeking knowledge from the withered lips of the long dead seeress. In this frozen land, he is forged to his purpose by the harsh lashings of the seeress as she relates the creation stories of the cosmos, the nine worlds, the sun and moon, day and night, the origin of giants, dwarves, elves, mankind, and the gods themselves.

Cycle 2: The Victory Gods. Returned to Asgard, Odin learns the truth of prophecy and the ultimate cost of purpose. As the Æsir expand their number and their power, Gullveig’s brutal death at their hands sparks a bloody war with a rival clan, the Vanir; their eventual truce unifies the godheads in an uneasy alliance. Post-war rebuilding introduces the primary gods and goddesses, along with the Einherjar, valorous warriors gathered from battlefields across Midgard. Meanwhile, Thor’s martial journeys into Jotunheim underscore the constant tension with the offspring of Ymir.

Cycle 3: The Sword of Vengeance. Accompany the fiery blade born of love and hate that is destined to play a pivotal role in the shaping of the Norse universe, through the tragedies of Volund its creator, Nidud king of the Njara who is ordered by the Odin to capture the blade, and Svipdag the chosen son of man fated to recover its keen edge, and who ultimately gifts it to the Æsir for his marriage to Fryeja .

Cycle 4: Premonitions. Victory, jealousy, and revenge follow the Æsir gods and goddesses as they seek to avert their ultimate fate. The Fenris wolf is tricked and bound. Baldur’s death sends shudders through the nine worlds as innocence dies and the first portents of Ragnarök begin to align. Vali, fresh born from his mother’s womb, slays Baldur’s hapless killer. Freyr gives away the Sword of Vengeance for a bride; an ill-fated gift which ultimately finds its way into the hands of Surt at Ragnarök. Loki’s devious and sometimes, vicious attempts to humble the gods highlight the strife and dissent of within the Æsir clan and result in his horrible punishment.

Cycle 5: Ragnarök. Unable to avoid the final confrontation, the Æsir gather their band of chosen warriors and prepare for battle. The rainbow bridge shatters as ancient enemies charge onto Vigrid Plain, eager to end the reign of the victory gods. Follow the fortunes of the primary combatants as they boldly face known defeat, the Æsir goddesses awaiting their fate in the great hall of Fensalir, and the remnants of mankind who survive to greet the dawn.

Cycle 6: Of Gods and Men. While Cycles 1-5 focused on interactions among the gods, this cycle encompasses stories of direct interaction between the Æsir gods and mankind. These stories contrast human folly with the morality inherent in Norse Mythology.

Glossary: Norse Mythology heralds from an era when names reflected the character attributed to an object, such as a weapon, a person’s character, or their current station in life. This glossary provides a quick reference to the meaning behind names and terms used in the book.

Source Reference: References for further reading are included for persons who want to delve deeper into the study of Norse Mythology. This bibliography is restricted to books published in or translated into English and is by no means, exhaustive. As with all resources, the harder and longer you look, the more there is to be found.

Genres: After Canons, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, Mythological Fantasy, Norse Mythos | Legacies, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781789820829

Also by this author: Author Q&A with Glenn Searfoss (Cycles of Norse Mythology)

Published by Acorn Press

on 11th April, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 825

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Published By: Acorn Press,
an imprint of Andrews UK Limited

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NorseMythology, #Norse, #Mythology and #Odin
as well as #WyrdAndWonder

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About Glenn Searfoss

Glenn Searfoss

Engaging storytelling transports the reader to a different time/place/viewpoint and encourages their exploration of a subject. A professional writer of 28+ years, Glenn Searfoss has authored numerous technical manuals (bills must be paid), as well as books in computer science, language identification, natural history, science fiction, and mythology.

Glenn lives with his wife and two boxer dogs in a turn-of-the-century, brick farm house in Colorado, USA. When not busy making a living, he gardens, works on the house (there is always something with an old house), reads classic and not-so-classic literature, and does research for new book projects.

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 28 May, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Heroic Fantasy, Indie Author, Norse Mythology, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction

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.

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


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


Published by World Weaver Press

on 7th March, 2017

Pages: 224

Published By: World Weaver Press (@WorldWeaver_wwp)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

The Genie Chronicles series:

Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs

Genre(s): Speculative | Young Adult | Fantasy | Lore & Legends

the Jinn (or Jinnis or Genies) | Adoption

Similar Reads: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (see also Review)

About Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities.

When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group.

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

An #IndieApril #WyrdAndWonder Book Spotlight | “Kingdom Above the Cloud” (Tales from Adia: Book One) by Maggie Platt

Posted Tuesday, 28 April, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner 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 “Kingdom Above the Cloud” direct from the publisher Ambassador International 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

A sneak peek at the first book #JorieReads for #WyrdAndWonder:

I have been as eager as the next book blogger to receive her #bookmail lately – as with all the changes in our world recently – one of the industries affected has been the pub world of how books are getting published and their availability of being able to ship to readers. It has been a disheartening moment of our lives as we receive updates from readers who have gleamed further insight into what has been going on ‘behind-the-books’ & the production of books whilst as readers, we all must remain patient and understanding about the confines of how sometimes you have to wait longer to read certain books when there is a global pandemic affecting everyone’s life.

My #bookmail has been a bit unusually sluggish as a result as generally books take a bit longer to reach me overall – just one of those routes, I suppose, however, finding this lovely in the post the morning of my tour stop was wicked wonderful as it gives me just enough time to read it before the conclusion of the tour and makes my spotlighting an extract from its heart a bit sweeter, as well!

Most of my dear hearted readers know I’ve been co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder for the past 3 years this May – however, for those of you who are visiting through the #KingdomAboveTheCloud blog tour – this is a celebration in the book blogosphere for all things fantastical! My co-hosts (Imyril & Lisa) and I set out each May to uncover the stories, the authors and the mediums of Fantasy each of us personally are passionate about showcasing whilst embracing the wider community Wyrd and Wonder has become as fellow book bloggers, and socially bookish participants join us every May to signal flare a mutual love of Fantasy (as a genre and as a movement).

I’m thankful to have a book in hand to kick-off my journey this year as I have a pretty diversely eclectic Fantasy stack of lovelies to read – I look forward to diving into INSPY Fantasy as the event kicks off this Friday whilst getting ready to reveal which authors, which stories and which series I’ll be reading throughout May! Stay tuned for more information on my participation for #WyrdAndWonder and let’s celebrate Fantasy together! Leave me a note in the comments if you’re joining us!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An #IndieApril #WyrdAndWonder Book Spotlight | “Kingdom Above the Cloud” (Tales from Adia: Book One) by Maggie PlattKingdom Above the Cloud
by Maggie Platt
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother's sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas' advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

Genres: Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, High Fantasy, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1620205884

Published by Ambassador International

on 17th April, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Ambassador International (@ambassadorintl)

Converse via: #KingdomAboveTheCloud, #YALit, #YAFantasy
as well as #ChristianFantasy, #IndieAuthor/s, #KACPrism and #MaggiePlatt

About Maggie Platt

Maggie Platt

Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University, and she lives in a cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #IndieApril 2020
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Posted Tuesday, 28 April, 2020 by jorielov in Biblical Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, High Fantasy, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Prism Book Tours, Questioning Faith as a Teen, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction