Category: Heroic Fantasy

#SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Shifty: Tales from the world of SAGE” (anthology) by Marian Allen

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission.

The following selection is part of the stories I am reading for #SpooktasticReads – which are curated to route me through the following genres of interest: Dark Fantasy, Cosy Horror, Paranormally inclined stories inasmuch as stories of Suspense, Thriller and Cosy Mysteries. 13 days to read the spooktacular stories we’re drawn inside leading into Halloween!

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Acquired Book By: One thing I love about being active in the bookish side of the twitterverse is being able to interact with authors. Ms Allen is one of the authors I first crossed paths with when I first started to interact with the authors and friends of Seventh Star Press back in Autumn of 2013 and the first six months of 2014 – when I was a 1st Year Book Blogger. Over the years, I have happily been following her writerly career, however it wasn’t until I accepted for review an anthology called: Gifts of the Magi from an author who I also knew of via Seventh Star Press (RJ Sullivan*) gave me the chance to become properly introduced to the collection of stories and the writers who wrote them a few years ago. I wasn’t able to review the anthology until January 2017 – giving my first introduction to the world of SAGE writ by Ms Allen.

(*) On my connection to Mr Sullivan and Ms Allen: 

I have reviewed stories by Mr Sullivan whilst hosting for Seventh Star Press via Tomorrow Comes Media or directly for the author himself. His writing style is one of the ones I happen to love reading and without being able to host blog tours for Seventh Star Press, I am unsure if I would have discovered his writings, Ms Chris (Garrison), AshleyRose Sullivan or Stephen Zimmer’s as well. They are one of my favourite Speculative Fiction publishers in the Indie market.

My path in the twitterverse crossed a few times with Ms Allen, especially in regards to events attached to Seventh Star Press, The Star Chamber Show or the Imaginarium (an annual writer’s convention); however, despite our paths crossing over the past five years since I first went on Twitter, I sadly haven’t had the chance to seek out one of her stories to read. Reading her short story “The Warmth of Midwinter” from the anthology ‘Gifts of the Magi’ was my first introduction to her craft of writing Fantasy fiction and from there, a conversation emerged between us how I could re-enter the world of SAGE.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Allen or Mr Sullivan during bookish events online or in convos via Twitter. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author, whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their series in sequence of publication.

Closer to the time I released  my review for ‘Gifts of the Magi’, Ms Allen and I were in communication and she offered for me to receive ‘Shifty’ the anthology of stories which also takes place in her world of SAGE. This anthology was released in print and thereby was a good option for me to continue reading her stories. I had fully intended to read this close to the time she sent it to me, however, for most of 2017 I was still adjusting to the first year of healing my father was undergoing after his stroke and for most of 2018 I was transitioning through my own set of health afflictions and issues. Autumn 2018 became the first time I could honestly focus on reading the stories within this anthology and I am so very thankful I could feature them during my co-hosted event called #SpooktasticReads which is an extension of my co-hosted event #WyrdAndWonder (@WyrdAndWonder) which celebrates the world of Fantasy.

I received a complimentary copy of “Shifty” by the author Marian Allen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-Visiting my Introduction to the world of SAGE:

I liked how Ms Allen pre-empted her story by asking the question ‘does time truly matter when it comes to stories that encircle your mind?’ to which I would aptly reply: not really!

What was quite stirring about this short, is how wicked interesting the world was where Ms Allen set her tale! To have food magically appearing in cookpots and having a hen produce eggs which whip up the delights of your foodie senses upon cracking them? Or rather, upon first crack of an egg – what you truly need might not even be food? It could be something dearly necessary (i.e. clothes) by which somehow your thoughts of willing an object or item to be ‘hatched’ is stirred inside the egg and thus, the egg produces what is needed. Who wouldn’t want to live there!? It would be a foodie’s dream or a baker’s delight – imagine if you could cull the magic to help you bake everything ‘right’ the first time you attempted a new recipe!? How fetching the aromas would be in that kitchen! Not to even mention how all the rudimentary necessary items would no longer be a worry because you’d always have exactly what you need!? I am sure there is more to this kind of magic, but on the onset of learning about it, how lovely it would be to know by cracking an egg, at least one immediate worry is dissolved?

There are two rather eccentric characters at the heart of this story – an elder man of unknown years and his equally elder grandmother; she is a bit more interesting because she’s attending the scene peripherally rather than centre-focused. You gather this man wouldn’t be housed in this particular part of his realm if circumstances hadn’t exiled him. From his grandmother, you sense he should be thankful for what he has now and not bitter about what he has lost in the past. They have an interesting duality to them.

The beauty of the tale is one of finding the moral ground to walk in a life of duty and honour, where the fine line between what is right or wrong might not be as clearly visible. It’s a good story to read at the holidays because of the truthfulness in being humble and forgiving; to err your wrongs and to find ways to affect other people’s lives for the good. You get so caught up in this short piece of literature, the ending comes far too soon!

I’d love to find out if this was a one-off or a connected story to one of Ms Allen’s series. I’m thinking it’s a one-off addition as per each story in the anthology, there is a footmark of where to ‘read’ next if you wanted to continue your appreciation of the author’s collective works you’ve been treated to viewing. This is how I knew about the series attached to the other authors and why I think this might be a gem of an extra rather than an inclusive piece to a series. Knowing that – the other question that sparked to mind, is which series should I seek out first after having appreciated this short!?

-quoted from my review of Gifts of the Magi (anthology)

As you can see I felt immediately connected to this world and how crafty Ms Allen was with the fantastical bits which were so dearly stitched into the heart of the story! You almost felt this short was fuller in scope than its short delivery allowed it to feel as there was a lot of world-building happening in the background! As this short is included in Shifty I won’t be re-reviewing it but I will be re-reading it as I move through the collection! I happily wanted to re-share my thoughts as a precursor to explain why I was so dearly excited about receiving Shifty and why Ms Allen’s fantastical style appealed to me in the first place!

This is why I will always contend the best way to feel introduced to a new writer is to seek out anthologies as the shorts and novellas contained within them have a depth of joy awaiting you! I realise not everyone feels this way, as over the years of declaring this joy of my own, other readers have found this to be a bit hit/miss for their own reading tastes. All I can say is that you just never know when you’ll find an anthology which will speak to you and within it, there is a chance a writer will capture your heart and your imagination. I hope we all get to continue reading those writers who ignite a joy of happiness through their shorts with longer works of fiction as they are developed and released! I know I have a long #mustread list myself now as a fifth year book blogger!

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Shifty
Subtitle: Tales from the world of Sage
by Marian Allen
Source: Direct from Author

Whether you've read Marian Allen's SAGE trilogy (The Fall of Onagros, Bargain with Fate, Silver and Iron) or not, you can dive right into these stories set in the same world. Some feature settings and characters from the trilogy, some explore lands and people only hinted at in the novels, but all are filled with strong characters and Fantasy.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1942166207

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction


Published by Per Bastet Publications

on 25th November, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 131

Published by: Per Bastet Publications (@PerBastetBooks)

Converse via: #DarkFantasy, #Fantasy and #HighFantasy

About Marian Allen

Marian Allen

Marian Allen was born in Louisville, Kentucky and now lives in rural Indiana. For as long as she can remember, she has loved telling and being told stories. She writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form.

Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, including multiple appearances in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s SWORD AND SORCERESS anthologies. Her latest books are the SAGE fantasy trilogy, her science fiction comedy of bad manners SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, her YA/NA paranormal suspense A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, her collection of science fiction stories OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS, and SHIFTY, her collection of fantasy stories set in the world of SAGE, and LONNIE, ME, AND…. her collection of humor, all from Per Bastet Publications.

She is a member of the Southern Indiana Writers Group.

Allen is married, with three step/adopted daughters and one birth daughter.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SpooktasticReads 2018
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Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dark Fantasy, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Haunting & Ethereal, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Short Stories or Essays, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery

Blog Book Tour | “The Sky Throne” by Chris Ledbetter A new approach to the back-story of #Zeus with a #GuestPost by the author explaining the ‘Sky Throne’.

Posted Monday, 16 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been aware of the publisher Month9Books for quite a few years now, as I used to host their Reveals & other special tours – even interviewing a lovely batch of their authors as books released I felt I would appreciate reading. However, in truth – I have only read two releases by them (as of yet) and this one marked an interest as it is a gateway into Greek Mythology. I received a complimentary copy of “The Sky Throne” direct from the author Chris Ledbetter in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Ahead of my review, I asked a topic of interest for Mr Ledbetter:

How did you conceive of the ‘the Sky Throne’ and how did you best want to endeavour to describe the power of the Gods previously only generally known through Myth and Legends? How did you want your story to stand separate and together from the legacy of what has already been written?

Since I primarily write for the young adult audience, I ultimately wanted to tell an “origin” story that re-imagined the deities of ancient Hellas as teenagers. From that genesis point, I had to decide which myth to begin with. One of the most well known myths is that of Kronos eating his children to prevent a prophecy from coming true. This is a huge cornerstone of the Hellenic gods’ creation myth as told in Hesiod’s Theogony.

From there, I had to choose which deity I’d focus on as the main character. Even though the number of myths containing each deity varies widely, from a source material perspective, I love each of the Olympians. But I’ve always been drawn to Zeus strictly from the lightning and thunder aspect of things. And because he’s the king of the Gods. I realize the myths paint him as a bit of a sordid character… and I’m not excusing his colorful behavior in the myths, but I sought to create a more sympathetic version, while still remaining generally true to his essence. He is indeed one of the most dynamic figures in myths.

After I’d conceived the story concept, I tried to describe their otherworldly powers and abilities as if they were super heroes and heroines. In many ways, the Gods of pantheons past were our first super heroes and villains.

In the marketplace, there was a plethora of young adult titles in which the main character was a half blood, demigod child of an ancient god. I wanted to go to the source and tell the story of the deities themselves. That’s what separates The Sky Throne from its peers.

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Notation on Cover Art: I personally love the image of Zeus which is not only gracing the cover but it is inclusive to every ‘chapter’ page within the novel! There is simply something quite striking about this representation of Zeus and it stays with you as you read the story!

Blog Book Tour | “The Sky Throne” by Chris Ledbetter A new approach to the back-story of #Zeus with a #GuestPost by the author explaining the ‘Sky Throne’.The Sky Throne
by Chris Ledbetter
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus's quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781945107870

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, After Canons, Alternative History, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Genre-bender, Greek Mythos | Legacies, Quantum Physics, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Month9Books

on 18th April, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 311

Published by: Month9Books (@Month9Books)

Converse via: #Zeus, #GreekMythos + #CleanReads + #YALit

About Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter is an award-winning author of short fiction and novels for young adults. “Jason’s Quest,” a short story retelling of the Jason and Medea Greek myth was published in the anthology, Greek Myths Revisited. His first full-length novel, Drawn earned him two awards, Library of Clean Reads Best YA 2015 and Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice Award Best YA 2015, as well as a USA​ ​
TODAY “Must Read” recommendation. His second novel, Inked, concludes that duology. The Sky Throne is his newest young adult novel. The second book in the series is set to release in 2018.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. He now writes and lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

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Posted Monday, 16 October, 2017 by jorielov in After the Canon, Alternative History, Ancient Civilisation, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Gods & Goddesses, Good vs. Evil, Greece, Greek Mythology, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Heroic Fantasy, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, iRead Book Tours, Literature for Boys, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Mythological Societies, Parapsychological Gifts, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Re-Told Tales, School Life & Situations, Science, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Siblings, Speculative Fiction, Superhero Adventure, Superhero Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Teacher & Student Relationships, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Upper YA Fiction, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Flames of Nevyana” by Edward Willett

Posted Friday, 28 October, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Chapter by Chapter, where I receive opportunities to host Author Guest Features on behalf of the Indie Publisher Month9Books and review for Indie Publisher: Rebelight Publishing of whom I love the stories by their Middle Grade & YA authors! As 2016 started, I received more opportunities to read and review Canadian authors through Chapter by Chapter. I love being able to discover more #CanLit whilst appreciating the beauty of the stories I am discovering through this touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Flames of Nevyana” direct from the publisher Rebelight Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On the joy of reading a new Rebelight Author:

I am wicked happy I can close out 2016 reading another new author by Rebelight Publishing – as this is the Canadian publisher I had the joy of discovering through Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours! Each selection I am making through them, are future books I will be giving to my children, as I am delighted to find such wonderful stories for young readers, that not only challenge them through thought-provoking literature, but their the type of stories that can instill confidence and curate empathy through the showcasing of life lessons that seek to inspire readers of all ages.

I love unique story-tellers and unique narrative cores of Science Fiction or Fantasy – realms that you can sense are not entirely opposite or differential of our own living sphere of existence but are altogether quite uniquely developed in their own right. They have their own laws of nature and of order – where there is a particular balance which bridges the world together – or draws them apart; it depends on where we enter the story-line per each writer’s vision for their story. What I love the most about seeking out stories within the umbrella of Speculative Fiction is the ability to continue to always seek out the plausible curiosities of what inspires the stories to alight in the pages of the books I’m reading. Writers who seek to tell a story in such a creative methodology – to reach past imagination and unite readers through the timelessness of their character’s journey.

As I’m on the fringes of celebrating Science Fiction throughout November, it is a joy of mine to bring a few Speculative Realms to my blog and readers ahead of the month-long celebration here on Jorie Loves A Story and throughout the book blogosphere as we all rally together through the collective gathering Rinn Reads puts on each year through #RRSciFiMonth! I must admit – the premise of this story combined with the cover art to help grant an early visual clue towards what I might find inside the novel was the combined motivation to read the novel. Although on a personal note, I was truly captured by ‘Voltpunk’ and was wondering if this was either a new sub-genre of Science Fiction, Fantasy or the hybrid I love myself: Sci-Fantasy!? OR was it merely the name of the series being developed and launched through Flames of Nevyana!? Whichever way it would become revealled one thing is certain: Rebelight authors continue to inspire me onwards and upwards into their creative worlds of literary exploration!

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Notation on Cover Art: I truly loved how the cover art represents light and the synergy of how light can be reflected or sparked into motion – initially I thought this story might have a Nation American or First Nations thread of story-line, because the cover art looked so very familiar to me of Native Artisans and Craft patterns. There is  a repetitive pattern on the cover, both dissolving and expanding (inward and outward simultaneously) and I wondered if this was prove to be a clue towards understanding the light and energies on Nevyana. And why is the blue fire and the orange energies co-merging or intermixing with each other?! Almost is something being reborn, re-generated or created wholly anew by ‘something’ that caused this reaction!?

Blog Book Tour | “Flames of Nevyana” by Edward WillettFlames of Nevyana
by Edward Willett
Source: Direct from Publisher

Blue Fire is both blessing and curse. A gift from the gods, its mystical light and energy powers and protects the land of Nevyana, but it also divides her people into three distinct groups. In the wrong hands, it becomes a formidable weapon. When sacred objects for channelling Blue Fire are stolen, sworn enemies Petra, Amlinn, and Jin set out to find them, and their paths converge on a collision course with the truth. Can they bridge the centuries-old divide between their communities? Or will their search for the truth and the explosive power of Blue Fire signal the end of Nevyana?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780994839961

Genres: Canadian Lit, Science Fiction, Upper YA Fiction


Published by Rebelight Publishing Inc.

on 1st August, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 316

Published By: Rebelight Publishing, Inc. (@RebelightBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #FlamesOfNevyana, #Voltpunk, #YALit, #SciFantasy

About Edward Willett

Edward Willett

Edward Willett is the award-winning author of more than fifty books of fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults. He lives in Regina with his wife, Margaret Anne; their teenage daughter, Alice; and their Siberian cat, Shadowpaw.

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Posted Friday, 28 October, 2016 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Canadian Literature, Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Science Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Sword & Scorcery, Upper YA Fiction, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction