Category: High Fantasy

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – through the first novel “Kings and Daemons” by Marcus Lee

Posted Saturday, 15 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: During my 3rd Year of co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder, I was able to participate on my first blog tour with Storytellers on Tour which was featuring the author Brianna Sugalski on her “Disenchanted” blog tour. What I appreciated about Storytellers on Tour is their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature and their ability to find authors who are telling stories in Fantasy which intrigue me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which is why I feel blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I might seek out a book to consider for review, I also actively enjoy hosting creative content using book photography and/or featuring their authors in conversation (ie. interviews) or giving them the breadth of joy to write a guest post based on a topic of my choosing. Overall, Storytellers on Tour are dedicated to creating community and for championing those of us who are choosing to share our readerly lives each day we bring content to our book blogs. 

I received a complimentary copy of “Kings and Daemons” direct from the author Marcus Lee in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What drew my eye into this Fantasy series:

I am constantly intrigued and surprised by where my fantastical wanderings take me,.. as generally speaking it is quite rare I will feel motivated to read a darker Fantasy novel but there are exceptions to this rule as I am sure other readers have exceptions to their bookish wanderings as well. Likewise, a new subniche of Fantasy I have discovered over the recent year is *Fantasy Romance!* courtesy of reading my first story by H.L. Burke!

For a reader whose grown passionate about reading Romance – from Contemporary to Historical to Suspense – it is a wonderment to me how I somehow have *missed!* this other niche inside a genre I have loved reading since I was seventeen! The premise round “Kings and Daemons” is what first allured me into the novel – how a complete unknown in this world could reconcile their destinies after a person in power sought to destroy them. Who wouldn’t want to read about an unsung heroine and her ability to free her people from the destructive influence of a King?

It was not lost on me the spelling of the word demon and what this alternative spelling is pointing out in reference. This stems back to a lot of conversations I had in high school with my best friend who was as passionate about Fantasy as I had been about Science Fiction. It led to a lot of interesting conversations and discussions – something I hadn’t seen until I became a book blogger and realised there was this whole bookish community who were doing the same thing about the topics they enjoyed talking about themselves. I normally might have taken a right turn on reading this novel – yet there was just ‘something’ about it that spoke to me and I dove in head first. As you’ll see on my review I had many surprising takeaways and a reading experience I had hoped to receive but was wickedly delighted by having experienced.

One quick note to readers who might seek this out – I’d say this is Cosy Horror intermixed with High Fantasy with a cutting thread of Sword & Sorcery. 

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Notation on Cover Art: I love the art of book covers which give you an honest impression or gateway into the world you’re about to enter and “Kings and Daemons” is doing exactly that with this lushly vibrant cover art which truly gives you a keen sense about Maya and how she would appear if you were to meet her yourself. I loved everything about the design – from the choices in colours to the layout – original artwork like this one on Fantasy novels was something I have always cherished and celebrated! Especially if you look closely at what is being highlighted in this portrait of Maya – specifically look at her feet and then compare that to what is behind her and you’ll see how much she effects her world. 

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – through the first novel “Kings and Daemons” by Marcus LeeKings and Daemons
Subtitle: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book One)
by Marcus Lee
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

A tale of conquest, dark kings, and daemonic heroes. A spellbinding story that will enchant you with its plot of ambition, love, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption.

Over fifty years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch-King and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom.
Now, with the once fertile lands and its enslaved people dying around him, the Witch-King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring Freestates. It will be the beginnings of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come.

Genres: Cosy Horror, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8646561931

Published by Self Published

on 26th May, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 414

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The Gifted and the Cursed Trilogy:

Kings & Daemons (book one)

Tristan’s Folly (book two)

The End of Dreams (book three)

This is a Self-Published novel and series!

Converse via: #Fantasy, #EpicFantasy or #HeoricFantasy or #SwordAndSorcery
as well as #storytellersontour #  & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

About Marcus Lee

Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me … but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.

As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.

Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.

So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.

However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be the first of many. I genuinely hope so.

Who knows, now these creatives juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.

Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and The Illiad as a seven-year-old. Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
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Posted Saturday, 15 August, 2020 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Horror-Lite, Immortals, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Storytellers on Tour, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery

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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

An Audiobook Spotlight | “Two Thousand Years” (The Empire Saga, Book Two) by M. Dalto, narrated by Amanda Abeillan

Posted Friday, 27 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Two Thousand Years” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with M. Dalto on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What drew my eye to listening to “Two Thousand Years”:

When I first read the premise of this story & the series it was beginning – I thought for sure it would be a wickedly good fit for me as an audiobook listener. Especially as I am one of three co-host & founders of a month-long Fantasy event called: #WyrdAndWonder {@WyrdAndWonder} – yet, I couldn’t have been more off base with this selection! I love soaking into worlds of Fantasy & seeing what an author can envision for their world – however, as I’ll explain – this unexpectedly just wasn’t my cuppa in regards to the story itself or the performance of the narrator. As I still stand by what I blogged previously about narrators – sometimes they really can break your interest in hearing a story!

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An Audiobook Spotlight | “Two Thousand Years” (The Empire Saga, Book Two) by M. Dalto, narrated by Amanda AbeillanTwo Thousand Years
Subtitle: The Empire Saga Book One
by M. Dalto
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Amanda Abeillan

Two thousand years ago, the prophecy of fire and light foretold the coming of the queen empress who would lead the empire into a time of peace and tranquility. But instead of the coming of a prosperous world, a forbidden love for the empress waged a war that ravaged the land, creating a chasm between the factions and raising the death toll of innocent lives until the final, bloody battle.

Centuries later, Alexandra, a 22-year-old barista living in Boston, is taken to an unfamiliar realm of mystery and magic where her life is threatened by Reylor, its banished lord steward. She crosses paths with Treyan, the arrogant and seductive crown prince of the empire, and together, they discover how their lives, and their love, are so intricately intertwined by a prophecy set in motion so many years ago.

Alex, now the predestined Queen Empress Alexstrayna, whose arrival was foretold by the annals of the empire, controls the fate of her new home as war rages between the crown prince and lord steward. Either choice could tear her world apart, as she attempts to keep the empire's torrid history from repeating itself.

In a realm where betrayal and revenge will be as crucial to her survival as love and honor, Alex must discover whether it is her choice - or her fate - that determines how she survives the empire's rising conflicts.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Historical-Fantasy, New Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781731461797

ASIN: B0849Z224C

Published by The Parliament House

on 3rd February, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Pages: 363

Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes (unabridged)

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The Empire Saga:

Full Details about the Saga!

Two Thousand Years by M. Dalto

Two Thousand Years (book one)

Mark of the Empress (book two)

Beginning’s End (book three)

& this series has novellas: (more info on author’s site)

Reylor’s Lament  (novella one)

Treyan’s Promise (novella two)

Sarayna’s Fate (novella three)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #TheEmpireSaga + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

as well as #Fantasy, #FantasyRomance and/or #NewAdult

About M. Dalto

M. Dalto

M. Dalto is a Young Adult and New Adult author of adventurous romantic fantasy stories. Her bestselling debut novel, Two Thousand Years, was a 2016 Watty Award winner (Wattpad.com). She has since released two companion novellas, and its sequel, MARK OF THE EMPRESS. Her sophomore release, LADY MUTINY, has been signed with Magnolia Press for publication in 2020.

She was recruited to participate in Wattpad Paid Stories program for serialized authors in March 2019, and has since been invited into the Wattpad Stars program. She continues to volunteer her time as a literary mentor and freelance developmental editor, where she hopes to engage, assist, and inspire new writers through their literary journey.

She spends her days working as a full-time real estate paralegal, leaving her evenings to pursue her own writing agenda. When she’s not typing furiously at her computer, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing video games, and drinking coffee. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, their daughter, and their corgi named Loki.

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Posted Friday, 27 March, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling

An Audiobook Spotlight | “Winterdream” (a Nutcracker retelling) by Chantal Gadoury, narrated by Anne Marie Lewis

Posted Saturday, 22 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Winterdream” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Chantal Gadoury on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was excited to be listening to WINTERDREAM:

A ballet [“The Nutcracker”] I once had the pleasure of seeing on stage during Christmastide (ie. 2001) as a friend of mine surprised me with tickets. It was the first time I had seen the story come alive in this way and the beauty of the actors and dancers on stage has never quite left me! It was such a magical experience because I had known a bit about the story ahead of seeing it burst to life in front of me, I felt I had had a more enriched experience than several people sitting near me who were completely in the dark. Thus, as I move into listening to Winterdream – I feel as if I will continue to make the transitions from the perspective of a reader who already loves the story!

Fairy-tale retellings and after canon sequels, inspired-by stories or re-tellings are some of my favourites to discover as a book blogger! I have tried to seek out the after canon narratives which not only pay homage to the originals but they seek to have their own individual stamp on how to tell the story from a refreshing perspective of entrance! These are the stories which give you a wicked good read whilst endeavouring you to re-see the past in a different dimension of thoughtfulness.

Being that I spent December & January this year binge-watching my favourite (new & old) Hallmark Christmas movies – I have been trying to ‘extend!’ the joy of reading Christmas stories and/or Christmas Romances this February & March. I was originally going to cap it at Valentine’s Day but it took me a bit longer to get into the rhythm of reading this New Year whilst two of my library purchase requests are taking a bit longer to reach me via my local library! One is a Christmas story and the other is a Valentine’s romance. Therefore, shifting into Winterdream just felt like the right timing as I still haven’t ‘let go’ of Christmas!

Having said this – I wonder if any of my followers and subscribers are as attached as I am to stories which seek to re-tell a famous story? To see it from a different angle or a different era of choice? Sometimes they can even gender-bend the lead characters or move from a Historical to Contemporary setting (or vice versa) whilst sometimes even endeavouring to be explored through elements of Speculative Fiction! Whichever way you slice it – I oft wonder who else *loves!* to unearth these stories and soak into the author’s vision for them?

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An Audiobook Spotlight  | “Winterdream” (a Nutcracker retelling) by Chantal Gadoury, narrated by Anne Marie LewisWinterdream
by Chantal Gadoury
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Anne Marie Lewis

This Christmas Eve, no creature was stirring, except, maybe, a mouse.

At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?

For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel viscount.

But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions and one special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams.

But will she be able to break the Nutcracker's curse? Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice Anton is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?

Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.

Genres: After Canons, Fantasy Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1790211678

ASIN: B083BWPQSQ

Also by this author: Narrator Interview (Winterdream)

Published by The Parliament House

on 31st December, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 22 minutes (unabridged)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #WinterDream + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

as well as #ClassicLit Re-Telling of #TheNutcracker

About Chantal Gadoury

Chantal Gadoury

Amazon Bestselling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing.

Since graduation, she has published The Songs in Our Hearts and The Songs We Remember with 48Fourteen Publishing. Allerleirauh, Between the Sea and Stars, Blinding Night and Winterdream with the Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. For Chantal, writing novels has become a lifelong dream come true! When she’s not typing away at her next project, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of iced coffee, and watching Disney Classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, sister and furry-‘brother’ Taran.

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Posted Saturday, 22 February, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories