Category: Portal Fantasy

A #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday Book Review | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan Fitzgerald

Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonderWednesday graphic made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Originally, I received this novel “The Living Waters” via a blog tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour which is now a closed blog touring company as they left our bookish community at the conclusion of 2021. This author and duology was my last chance to host for them and it was a pleasure of joy discovering stories, authors and worlds within their catalogue of blog tours. Let me share a bit of the backstory about how I found them and when they entered my bookish life:

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 was their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature (whether they were independently published, self-published or sought hybrid publishing options) and their ability to have found authors who were telling stories in Fantasy which intrigued me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which was why I felt blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I sought out a book to consider for review, I actively enjoyed 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 were 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. 

Thereby, I received a complimentary copy of “The Living Waters” direct from the author Dan Fitzgerald in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Please note: this is an extended review and discussion about the first half of the duology for the Weirdwater Confluence series which originally began on “The Living Waters” blog tour in November and December, 2021.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You won’t be surprised I’ve decided to join my first #SelfPubFanMonth this September, if you’ve been following along with my #WWWWeds posts! As I’ve announced my participation this past week. As I am re-approaching how I read and blog this Autumn, you’ll see that I’m taking the lighter load approach each week – whilst being mindful that if I cannot get to all the stories I want to be reading, just making progress into the stories is my new normal right now.

However, I need to clarify that this particular duology and release by Mr Fitzgerald is NOT a work of self-publication. Usually, I am the one to verify those kinds of details and this particular week, I thought I had double-checked myself before I wrote my #WWWeds post — however, to err is human as the saying goes and I’ve already amended my #WWWeds post to reflect the error as well as apologising to the author directly for mentioning this was self-published when in effect it wasn’t – as it was published via Shadow Spark Publishing.

I can announce other works which will be published by Fitzgerald will be self-published which made me feel a bit better as I moved into re-reading this story during #SelfPubFanMonth as you could consider this highlighting of what is coming next from him as a writer and as a published author.

I knew I wanted to re-connect to “The Living Waters” and this month felt like the right timing to do that as it is a duology which I first learnt about whilst hosting for Storytellers on Tour. I’ve been celebrating Indies & Self-Published authors since I first started book blogging in [2013] as nearly all my most beloved reads in #SpecFic are from those two categories of writers. Continuing to find new ways to send out a signal flare of joy on their behalf is something I am always happy to root out! Thereby, as I try to read as much as I can during #WyrdAndWonder (annually in May) and by extension during #SpooktasticReads (annually in October) — it is now with a bit of joy to finally join the community of Self Pub Fantasy Month which will be seen in other posts which populate onto my blog this September. And, no, I haven’t forgotten about #Mythothon and hope to bring some Mythological stories into my readerly queue as well.

After making my faux pas in claiming this duology was self-published, I decided to feature it during a showcasing of reviews during a newly designated heading of #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday wherein I will be sharing fantastical reads betwixt and between @WyrdAndWonder. It will give me a chance to read more Fantasy each year and during the months I find myself particularly drawn into a story of Fantasy outside of the month of May, I can celebrate finding it whilst helping new Fantasy nerds to find out about the event! Let’s all continue to #EnterTheFantastic, together.

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Before I share my fuller ruminations – these were the thoughts I had whilst I concluded my previewing of the novel during the original blog tour in (2021):

It will be interesting to see what becomes of their time together – what they discover about themselves as individuals but also what personal growth is meant to be undertaken as well. I had a feeling that despite the fact they were both put together on this journey, they each had a different path to follow afterwards or at least, perhaps they both had a different destiny to put it that way instead!? I wasn’t entirely convinced they were meant to be together in the traditional sense because I felt this was one journey which would encourage self-awakening discoveries. And, of course the artwork eludes to another conclusion altogether, too!

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A #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday Book Review | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan FitzgeraldThe Living Waters
Subtitle: Weirdwater Confluence : Book 1
by Dan Fitzgerald
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

When two painted-faced nobles take a guided raft trip on a muddy river, they expect to rough it for a few weeks before returning to their life of sheltered ease. But when mysterious swirls start appearing in the water, even their seasoned guides get rattled.

The mystery of the swirls lures them on to seek the mythical wetlands known as the Living Waters. They discover a world beyond their imagining, but stranger still are the worlds they find inside their own minds as they are drawn deep into the troubles of this hidden place.
 
The Living Waters is a sword-free fantasy novel featuring an ethereal love story, meditation magic, and an ancient book with cryptic marginalia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Portal Fantasy, Fantasy Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8493260940

Also by this author: The Living Waters (#25PagePreview)

Published by Shadow Spark Publishing

on 9th October, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

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The Weirdwater Confluence series:

Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald featuring Gilea and Temi. Provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission of the author Dan Fitzgerald.
Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald
featuring Gilea and Temi.

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a duology featuring:

The Living Waters by Dan FitzgeraldThe Isle of a Thousand Worlds by Dan Fitzgerald

The Living Waters (Book One)

& The Isle of a Thousand Worlds (Book Two)

An aging alchemist seeks the key to the Universal Tincture said to unlock the Thousand Worlds of the mind, but she never expected to solve the riddle of her hermetic heart.

A meditation acolyte travels the mystical social media known as the Caravan and finds that the Thousand Worlds lie just below the surface, if she can only learn to see the space between the stars.

This steamy romantic fantasy explores the confluence of the physical and the metaphysical through the commingling of bodies and minds.

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NOTE: It is independent from the Maer Cycle trilogy, but there are a few points of contact, and both are part of a planned larger universe called the Copper Circle, which will include a trilogy called the Time Before, set 2,000 years before the Maer Cycle. Found this sidenote about the duology from the author’s website and felt it was relevant to share in case others are keen on reading serial fiction with the foreknowledge of how different duologies, trilogies and universes in an author’s collective works interconnect.

Published by: Shadow Spark Publishing (@ShadowSparkPub)

Converse via: #Fantasy, #SpeculativeFiction and #FantasyRomance
as well as #WeirdWaterConfluence & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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About Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). The Living Waters comes out October 15, 2021 and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds arrives January 15, 2022, both from Shadow Spark Publishing.

He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
  • #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday
  • 2022 Backlogue Reviews
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Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2022 by jorielov in Aquaculture, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Eco-Fantasy, Ecology, Environmental Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Portal Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Storytellers on Tour, Vulgarity in Literature

#EnterTheFantastic with #MyYASummer epic first read | “The Twin Stars” (Book One: The Coseema Saga) by Bridgette D. Portman

Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. I am thankful I can continue to host and feature tours by this touring company from 2020-forward.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Twin Stars” direct from the author Bridgette Dutta Portman in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this story inspired me to read it:

Portal Fantasy is something I stumbled into in recent years – as I hadn’t come through that vortex of the genre previously. I wasn’t the right fit for Narnia (even though I enjoyed the first and third film adaptations) and I definitely was the kid who couldn’t stop watching “The Neverending Story”. What was interesting for me in your synopsis was the parallels to Neverending Story – how Bastian had to read and then live through the story which felt similar in context to your own character’s journey. I love stories which evoke such a strong reaction and connection between the world, the characters and the reader.

This is why this story appealled to me – as well as the self evolution and growth of Olive. I love coming-of age stories personally and I felt this was an interesting cross-section of why I love reading both MG and YA stories.

From the first moment I learnt of this story, I felt a pull of connection and knew I needed to feature it. I wasn’t sure at the time I signed on for the blog tour if I would be interviewing the author, hosting an extract or able to request the story for review consideration – but I felt as strong of a pull to have this story in my life this year as I have with other selections I’ve featured previously during our 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder! There was something uniquely different about this story and I had a sense about this world as being one I would find delishly devouring about how the writer wrote the story and allowed us into her character’s journey.

During #SelfPubFantasyMonth in September, I am curating a ‘final week’ of #WyrdAndWonder posts whilst endeavouring to carry forward further readings of Self Pub Fantasy novelists. Tied into those plans will be a forthcoming interview with Ms Portman as I wasn’t able to pull that together for this blog tour due to chaotically brutal lightning storms & a myriad of tech issues I had to work through just to finish this review.

I love finding writers who are writing coming-of age stories in Speculative Young Adult – the kind of stories you almost wish had been available to read during your own childhood but feel equally as blessed to find as an adult as YA doesn’t have an exit clause for readers! Everyone can appreciate YA at any age which is why I wanted to celebrate #MyYASummer all along.

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#EnterTheFantastic with #MyYASummer epic first read | “The Twin Stars” (Book One: The Coseema Saga) by Bridgette D. PortmanThe Twin Stars
by Bridgette Dutta Portman
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

A magical journal. A world savaged by its own suns. An evil prince. A princess in hiding.
And a teenage girl who learns to be the hero of her own story.

Sixteen-year-old Olive Joshi has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can't stop worrying about hurting the people she loves. She finds refuge in writing about Coseema, a magical princess on a distant planet. Coseema is fearless, confident, and perfect - everything Olive thinks she’ll never be. When she falls through a portal into her own unfinished story, Olive finds herself in a world in peril: double suns scorch the land, the brutal Prince Burnash seeks supreme power, and Coseema is nowhere to be found. Together with her friends - a bold poet, a cursed musician, a renegade soldier, and an adventurous girl from the desert - Olive will have to face her deepest fears to find the hero in herself.

The Twin Stars is an engrossing new portal fantasy in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, the Neverending Story,and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0995920422

Published by Titan1Studios

on 2nd July, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 326

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Ahead of reading my reactions to “The Twin Stars”
ENJOY this short extract of the novel which parlays into the ‘portal’:

She was underwater.

Olive realized it just in time to stop herself from gasping. Panic seared through her body as she thrashed about, kicking downward, tearing at the water uselessly.

There was nothing solid around her.

Murky darkness flooded her eyes; a churning roar filled her ears. Just as her starved lungs neared their limit, her left knee collided with something sharp and firm. She kicked and her foot met rock. She brought her other foot to the same position and pushed off the surface as hard as she could, propelling her body through the water.

The diminishing pain in her ears told her she was traveling upward, moving amidst an effervescence of tiny bubbles. She felt them swirling, fizzing, tickling her flesh, bearing her up toward the light as she begged her tortured lungs to hold out for another few seconds until, at last, she broke the surface.

Air.

At first, she could do nothing but devour it. When the haze of panic dissipated and her senses returned, her next coherent thought was that the plane had crashed. But this was not the icy water of the Arctic Ocean. This water felt like a warm bath. It bubbled like soda, and great plumes of vapor waltzed over its surface, spiraling upward until they melted into a golden haze. It reminded Olive of steam rising from mug. It might have been pleasant had she not nearly drowned in it.

The strange pool had a vague familiarity to it, but her head felt too muddled to sort it out.

Where was she? Where was the plane?

It crossed Olive’s mind that she was dead, and the thought sent a chill through her, but her sore knee and aching lungs reassured her. People weren’t supposed to feel pain after death, and they definitely shouldn’t need to breathe.

She treaded water, scanning her surroundings. She thought she saw movement through the curls of steam and paddled toward it, her knee smarting with each kick. Gradually the silhouette of something—no, someone—took shape as she moved through the plumes. At last, her feet touched the jagged, pebbly ground, and with a final rush of adrenaline, she pushed herself forward into the shallows. There she crouched in the warm water and stared up at the figure on the bank.

For a heartbeat, she thought it was Dadiji.

The woman had the same slight stoop, the same gently lined face, the same warm brown skin and long black hair frosted with silver. She was dressed differently, though; this woman wore deep crimson robes, with a fluted, draping cut that reminded Olive of an illustration she had once seen of an ancient Greek poet. A patch covered her right eye. Her left eye was a startlingly vivid purple, and it stared back at the young stranger who had just emerged from the steamy pool.

This was not Dadiji, and yet there was something jarringly familiar about the woman. Not until she spoke did Olive realize what it was.

“Coseema…” breathed the woman.

So, this was a dream. Olive felt a surge of relief. It did not seem like one—her knee throbbed with a very real pain—but this had to be a dream, because she was staring at a person she had made up herself.

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The Coseema Saga:

The Twin Stars (book one)

The Silver Sail (book two) *forthcoming release!

(there is a sneak preview of what is coming next @ the end of “The Twin Stars”)

I marked this as Upper YA due to the topics & subjects explored in the context of the story as well as how dark this fantasy turned in the final quarter of the novel. I felt it was better suited for Upper YA readers rather than for readers seeking traditional YA.

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Published by: Titan1Studios (@RelativityU)

Read About this debut release from Titan1Studios via their website

Converse on Twitter via: #YALit or #ILoveYA; #PortalFantasy + #SpaceOpera
as well as #TheTwinStars and #YAFantasy and #SciFantasy and #DarkFantasy

About Bridgette Dutta Portman

Bridgette Dutta Portman

Bridgette Dutta Portman is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Dozens of her plays have been produced across the United States and overseas. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, as well as a PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine.

She is past president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrights’ Guild, and the Dramatists’ Guild. She recently joined the board of the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, CA. The Twin Stars is her debut novel, and the first of a planned trilogy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Deepanshu and their two young children.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
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Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Dark Fantasy, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Portal Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

An Audiobook Spotlight w/ Notes | “The House Called Hadlows” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim Bretton

Posted Thursday, 8 October, 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 “The House Called Hadlows” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Kim Bretton 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 wickedly enchanted by my journey
into the Sebastian & Melissa series:

Walker plunges you into this world of mystery and magic with such an ease of alignment, you wonder why you’ve not yet traversed through her lens of enchantment sooner! From the nuanced details about the ways in which she built Sebastian’s world – to the foods his cook prepared for him to the more curious details how his life and world was now co-merging into another world’s dilemma. You found connection through the details but she also encouraged you to think further outside the box of what is unthinkable and plausible to imagine. She acts as the guide to give your imagination good folly to exercise its limits and I love her for it!

As I was listening to the story – I saw moments of familiarity within the story – of how it was being told and some of the entanglements of the magical bits of the world. I felt it had a brilliant cross matching of themes and events which could be pulled straight out of The Neverending Story and Jumanji and yet, I wasn’t sure if those stories were writ first or second to this one. Whichever way round, the beauty of course is recognising certain themes and story threads whilst finding a wonderful new world to entreat inside which plays by its own rules.

As Bretton describes the background of Sebastian’s world you can gather he’s living in a rather bustling community but it is how he absently walks through this towne and how he arrives where he is meant to be rather than where he was intending to be is what gave me the most smirks! As isn’t that just as real and humbling honest about our own lives? We sometimes make discoveries we aren’t meaning to make but still find all the same?! I love how he was walking without much direction and finding himself more in the way of others than enjoying the adventure of being outside. By the time he reaches the old furniture shop memories of visiting antiquarian book shoppes and early attic stores came back to mind! I loved those visitations in my childhood as they were great fodder for an emerging writer – as the objects and items for sale were futile ground for my imagination.

The descriptive details about Sebastian’s discovery of the mirror was pure joy! I loved how Walker leant into the scene to pull us closer to Sebastian’s widening eyes as he drew a more curious astonishment about what he was seeing – you can feel what Sebastian felt in that moment and it was awe-inspiring! Especially as the mirror itself was serving as a portal into a different world as much as Bastian’s book served him. The cat he encounters reminded me of the felicity of finding cats in places I had unexpected to find them and how their nature drew you towards them even if you had other things on your mind at the time.

As Sebastian starts to speak with Melissa, she helps him understand how her world and his can merge together – with one keen exception, she cannot cross into his world! When it came time for Sebastian to enter Melissa’s world I was so caught up in the moment with Sebastian, I, too, had forgotten to notice there had been a shifting of worlds – of where his and hers suddenly had merged together and he had taken such a keen step forward into the unknown! The cat (of course) plays a strong role in how he can make this transition as much as the magical object he hadn’t realised he was in possession over – yet, when it came time to visualise this transitional scene, Walker illuminated it with the childhood curiosity and wonderment you could sense and taste as an adult reader who still has the innocence of youth.

I liked how the story was ahead of its time showcasing the differences in boys and girls – and how girls should be seen on equal grounds with each other. Whilst at the same time, I liked how cheeky the fourth wall was broken in some places like when there is a point in the story where the focus is off of Sebastian and Melissa and the reader is acknowledged. I love how subtle this was done and how well those moments fit within the context of the story itself.

One of the best blessings though is her command of language and phrases – she has such a firm presence of wordsmithing this series into a wonderful display of descriptive narrative and sharp bursts of dialogue – the whole story simply feels alive on its own accord. You can almost feel the leaves which are part of Autumnus and you definitely feel like giving a big hug to each of the Seasonal Guardians Sebastian had met on his journey.

-quoted from my review of The Winter of Enchantment

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An Audiobook Spotlight w/ Notes | “The House Called Hadlows” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim BrettonThe House Called Hadlows
by Victoria Walker (Clayton)
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Kim Bretton

The sequel to The Winter of Enchantment and the return of Mantari the magic cat.

Sebastian and Melissa would never forget their arrival at the house called Hadlows. The long drive through the neglected park and woodland, the lake glimpsed through trees, the house, with its "thousand windows" looking down on them and the great hall, empty but for the portraits covering the walls. Hadlows held a secret, of that they were sure.

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Portal Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781906123024

ASIN: B08D26C1X3

Also by this author: The Winter of Enchantment

Published by Victoria Clayton Limited

on 22nd July, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 5 hours and 34 minutes (unabridged)

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The Sebastian & Melissa series:

The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria WalkerThe House Called Hadlows by Victoria Walker

The Winter Enchantment (book one) | see also my review

The House Called Hadlows (book two)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #KidsLit, #ClassicFantasy, #MGFantasy or #MiddleGrade and #Fantasy; #PortalFantasy

About Victoria Walker (Clayton)

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton Photo is being used with permission.

Victoria Walker was twenty-one when she wrote The Winter of Enchantment in 1968. A second story about Sebastian and Melissa, The House Called Hadlows, was published in 1972. In 1973 she went to Cambridge University to read English and married immediately after finishing her degree. Two children followed and two decades passed before she began to write under her married name of Victoria Clayton. She lives with her husband in Northamptonshire.

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton

(photo is the original illustration by the author on behalf of her series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 8 October, 2020 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Portal Fantasy, Self-Published Author

#EnterTheFantastic an Audiobook Review during #RIPXV | “The Winter of Enchantment” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim Bretton

Posted Thursday, 1 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made 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 “A Winter of Enchantment” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Kim Bretton 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 this series left me curious to listen too:

As one of the co-hosts of @WyrdAndWonder every year now for the past three years (2018-2020) I have been attempting to seek out Classics in Fantasy – especially Classical Children’s Fantasy stories as I would like to establish a better foundation for a genre I have loved since I was seventeen. I grew up loving the films within The Neverending Story series whilst I hungered after more Fantasy films ever since I first saw Pete’s Dragon (the original). There was a mysterious enchantment about those stories – about how magic was interstepping through our world and how sometimes the magical was just round the next corner in our own  individual journeys.

Knowing what I know now about my preferences for reading Fantasy, it shouldn’t have been such a keen revelation to realise I would learn to adore and become passionately enthused by reading (or listening) Urban Fantasy and/or Portal Fantasy. In this particular series, the two are interchangeable because it is partially within an Urban Fantasy framework as Sebastian must cross into the realm wherein Melissa has been living in confinement whilst Sebastian lives in our own world. Yet it is a beautiful Portal Fantasy wherein certain objects act as the transportation and teleportation channels of travelling through both worlds.

I was hoping this series might help me re-align into reading (and listening) to more Fantasy this Autumn. I’ve been attempting to get back into Fantasy since Wyrd And Wonder ended our third year in May; after a series of clustering migraines and other life adversities took me out of their stories. I fought hard during Summer to win back the joy I had in May and in some bursts of readerly blissitude, I had reattained that happiness I had felt in May but it never held. My migraines were a blustering nightmare this Summer and I am thankful as October has finally dawned I am hopeful they will start to lessen their hold on me.

I knew I would immediately connect with Ms Bretton’s voice but what surprised me so happily is how anchoured I felt inside this world of Sebastian & Melissa!! It is a world that is so engaging as you first start to read (or listen) to it – wherein you feel as if this isn’t your first foray into its world. Every turn of the story is a new chance to see something quite fantastical and there are creatures and sweet dialogue inside this story that warms your bookish heart, too! It is a charming representation of Classical Children’s Fantasy and the innocence of their journey together is what I loved most!

Thereby I was lead by earnest curiosity to listen to this series and through that curiosity I have found myself re-aligning back into a genre I love dearly! I am so thankful to be on this blog tour and to have found a new author whose artful crafting of Fantasy has become a new beloved favourite!

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#EnterTheFantastic an Audiobook Review during #RIPXV  | “The Winter of Enchantment” by Victoria Walker (Clayton), narrated by Kim BrettonThe Winter of Enchantment
by Victoria Walker (Clayton)
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Kim Bretton

A magic mirror enables Sebastian to travel from his Victorian world of winter snow and Mrs Parkin to a magic world of Melissa, Mantari, and wicked Enchanter and many other exciting people.

This wonderful audiobook follows in the great tradition of the E. Nesbit magic books. Since its first publication in 1969 it has proved its appeal to children of every age. Long out of print until republished by Fidra Books in the UK and Purple House Press in the USA, it received praise from respected children's authors. The sequel to this book is called The House Called Hadlows.

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Portal Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08B4645R9

Also by this author: The House Called Hadlows

Published by Victoria Clayton Limited

on 15th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

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The Sebastian & Melissa series:

The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria WalkerThe House Called Hadlows by Victoria Walker

The Winter Enchantment (book one)

The House Called Hadlows (book two)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #KidsLit, #ClassicFantasy, #MGFantasy or #MiddleGrade and #Fantasy; #PortalFantasy

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7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Middle Grade Fantasy.

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About Victoria Walker (Clayton)

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton Photo is being used with permission.

Victoria Walker was twenty-one when she wrote The Winter of Enchantment in 1968. A second story about Sebastian and Melissa, The House Called Hadlows, was published in 1972. In 1973 she went to Cambridge University to read English and married immediately after finishing her degree. Two children followed and two decades passed before she began to write under her married name of Victoria Clayton. She lives with her husband in Northamptonshire.

Photo Credit: Kim Bretton

(photo is the original illustration by the author on behalf of her series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 1 October, 2020 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Portal Fantasy, Self-Published Author