Category: Urban Fantasy

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

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

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “Soul Riders” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me that if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

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Why I wanted to read &/or listen to “Soul Riders”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524855338

ASIN: B087D8F3SW

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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

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

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

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Esme’s Wish” (Esme’s Series Trilogy: Book One) by Elizabeth Foster

Posted Saturday, 30 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I first heard from Odyssey Books late last year, however, the timing of accepting their review request for “The Monster Apprentice” wasn’t the best timing for me due to my health and my migraines. As I was setting to mind what I wanted to do for Wyrd And Wonder this year, I decided to reach out to the publisher to see if I could schedule guest author features and perhaps finally accept the chance to read and review “The Monster Apprentice”. I was thankful I could put together a mixture of guest features (guest posts and interviews) as well as two reviews for this Indie publisher in New Zealand. This marks my second book review and I am humbled in joy for the conversations and the stories I’ve discovered this 3rd Year of Wyrd And Wonder through Odyssey Books!

I received a complimentary copy of “Esme’s Wish” direct from the author Elizabeth Foster and the publisher Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What truly attracted me to read “Esme’s Wish”:

I was caught up in the essence of where this novel could take me as a reader – I love poetic stories which seek to give us something wonderful from their stories. I have been enjoying my journey back into Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction – however, most of the stories I enjoy the most from those branches of literature are within the Speculative realms. Writers who are writing #SpecLit for these readers are truly tapping into a beautiful vision of how Science Fiction and/or Fantasy can be imagined – whilst giving us layered stories in which to feel we’ve lived elsewhere for a short spell outside our own living experiences.

I knew this was going to become an emotional read for me – the heart of the story, even before reading it is a daughter’s search for her Mum; in different ways in how a daughter can look for her Mum whilst dealing with the realities of having this chasm of ambiguous loss between what Esme remembers from the past and where she currently finds herself in the future. Esme doesn’t remember exactly what became of her Mum – only that she knows others treat her mother’s absence as if she died and despite the tragedy of that moment, they’ve chosen to move on. Yet for Esme how can you move on when you cannot reconcile the past?

This story I felt would be an entry into how Urban Fantasy can feel wonderfully grounded in a contemporary lifestyle and yet, have small touches of the fantastical slowly take over the scope and depth of where the story can take the reader. This gentle hand in guiding us forward into the Esme’s Series is what I loved more about Foster’s writing style. She gives you such a firm grounding of place and setting – of allowing us to better understand her characters and then, she takes us on this wild adventure we simply are better for having experienced. This is why I wanted to read Esme’s Wish and this is why I am wicked thankful it became a part of my #WyrdAndWonder journey this 3rd Year!

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Two things I was attempting to do differently this year is to participate more in the #WyrdAndWonder Challenge (wherein I could take photos and share them on #bookTwitter) but I also wanted to create posts outside reviews & guest features. As the month wore on I realised the few times I was able to respond to the challenge prompts and the vlog video I had made featuring my #bookmail for #WyrdAndWonder might be all I would be able to contribute this year. I am most proud about how this turnt out as I have only released a handful of these so far overall!

I put together a short teaser of a #booktube #vlog #unboxing video which I shared on Twitter. I had a most delightful time answering one of the #WyrdAndWonder challenge prompts which was “The Best Things Come in Threes”.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Esme’s Wish” (Esme’s Series Trilogy: Book One) by Elizabeth FosterEsme's Wish
by Elizabeth Foster
Source: Direct from Author

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Genres: Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1925652246

Published by Odyssey Books

on 30th October, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 252

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

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Esme’s Series (trilogy):

Esme’s Wish (book one)

Esme’s Gift (book two)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #EsmesWish, #YALit, #YAFantasy
as well as #YoungAdult; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy and #WyrdAndWonder

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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 Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 30 May, 2020 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythology, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Portal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

An #AudiobookMonth Audiobook Blog Tour | “The Wonkiest Witch: (Book One: the Wonky Inn, series)” by Jeannie Wycherley, narrated by Kim Bretton

Posted Friday, 14 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 8 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 and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have 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 the Audiobookworm 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 (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Wonkiest Witch” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working with Jeannie Wycherley 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 inspired me to listen to this audiobook:

There are moments where I recognise that I read more dramatic stories than I do humourous ones. Typically though, I have sought out Speculative stories about witchy plots that tend to run the gambit of being more humourous than serious; I was hoping this might be of those kinds of stories, as I seriously do need a good punch of humour in my readerly life!

I also knew when I would listening to this, Audiobook Month would be underway and I wanted something a bit light & fun to listen too in order to get into the stories I had slated to listen to throughout June. I was recovering from those migraines of May and knew a fun-hearted comedy might just do the trick to give me a proper re-entry into listening to audiobooks and finding my traction within them.

The last time a witch gave me a tickle of joy to listen was when I was listening to the witchy adventures as conceived by Terry Maggert! I was hoping this particular series would not just re-instill the joy I had with Halfway Witchy but perhaps give me a Cosy series I could re-visit and re-appreciate throughout the installments as I came to meet them.

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An #AudiobookMonth Audiobook Blog Tour | “The Wonkiest Witch: (Book One: the Wonky Inn, series)” by Jeannie Wycherley, narrated by Kim BrettonThe Wonkiest Witch
Subtitle: Wonky Inn, Book 1
by Jeannie Wycherley
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Kim Bretton

Alfhild Daemonne has inherited an inn.
And a dead body.

Estranged from her witch mother, and having committed to little in her 30 years, Alf surprises herself when she decides to start a new life. She heads deep into the English countryside, intent on making a success of the once popular inn. However, discovering the murder throws her a curve ball. Especially when she suspects dark magick.

Additionally, a less than warm welcome from several locals persuades her that a variety of folk - of both the mortal and magickal persuasions - have it in for her. The dilapidated inn presents a huge challenge for Alf. Uncertain who to trust, she considers calling time on the venture.

Should she pack her bags and head back to London?

Don’t be daft.

Alf’s magickal powers may be as wonky as the inn, but she’s dead set on finding the murderer. Once a witch, always a witch - and this one is fighting back.

A clean and cozy witch mystery. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in this fantastic new witch mystery series, from the author of the award-winning novel, Crone.

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Paranormal Suspense, Paranormal Urban Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07R95BKYM

Published by Self Published

on 3rd May, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 20 minutes (unabridged)

This is a self-published audiobook.

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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The Wonky Inn series:

Wonky Inn series promo banner provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

The Wonkiest Witch (book one)

The Ghosts of Wonky Inn (book two)

Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn (book three)

Fearful Fortunes & Terrible Tarot (book four)

The Mystery of the Marsh Malaise (book five)

The Mysterious Mr Wylie (book six)

The Great Witchy Cake-Off (book seven)

The Witch Who Killed Christmas (book eight)

Converse via: #WonkiestWitch + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

OR #loveaudiobooks, #Paranormal #CosyCrime

About Jeannie Wycherley

Jeannie Wycherley

Genre-hopping introvert and word witch living somewhere between the forest and the sea in East Devon, UK.

Jeannie finds inspiration everywhere: in myths, stories and songs, while people watching, a word here, a look there. However, her main inspiration comes from the landscape. Devon has it all - a rocky coastline, pebble and sandy beaches, narrow winding lanes and picture perfect cottages, steep cliffs and an abundance of forest.

A good day for Jeannie means a blustery wind, racing waves and salty rain. She lives with her husband and two dogs, makes a lot of soup, plays too many computer games and loves watching movies.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 14 June, 2019 by jorielov in Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Witches and Warlocks

#ADayeAMonth | Book Review of “Rosemary & Rue” (book one: October Daye series) by Seanin McGuire

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

#ADayeAMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tim Mossholder (Creative Commons Zero)

Co-host | @FoxesFairyTale | Discussion *threads for Twitter

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Borrowed Book By: I’ve been consistantly borrowing “Rosemary & Rue” either through my local library and/or through ILL (inter-library loan) since January, 2019. I can’t even begin to remember how many times I’ve had a paperback copy of this novel on my shelf “to be read” – wherein, during January I only managed to read the first four or five chapters before my migraines disrupted my readings. I finally had a chance to extend my last local borrow of this novel until the 10th of June – re-reading those initial chapters starting on the 4th of June and thankfully being able to complete my readings of the novel before it was due back [again!].

I was not obligated to post a review in conjunction with this readalong however similar to my joy of sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the #smallangryplanet RAL I participated in November, 2018 – I decided to blog my thoughts as I move through the October Daye series. Ironically, both of these series were not ones I might have picked to read myself and am thankful for the RALs and my two co-hosts (ie. Lisa @deargeekplace for #smallangryplanet + Lou @foxesfairytale) for encouraging me to take a full step outside my zones of comfort to embrace these series. I am sharing my honest reactions whilst I read “Rosemary and Rue” which was able to be done was I borrowed the well-read paperback copy from my local library system. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I decided to read #OctoberDaye:

Strictly speaking, my love of Urban Fantasy is the key reason I agreed to read the October Daye series combined with the fact I stumbled across the series on my own not that long ago but never actually picked up the series to read. I am uncertain if it was because I was still considering whether or not this series was actually #notmycuppa or just slightly on the upper tier of a series I could get invested into is uncertain. All I knew is when Louise pitched the idea via Twitter to host this readalong in the New Year, I felt ‘why on earth not?’

I’ve taken a lot of chances on the books I am reading – either by suggestion and/or personal wanderings within sub-niches of beloved genres or new extensions of genres I’ve previously not had the joy of sorting out if I would appreciate them or just avoid like the plaugue. Either way, I knew October Daye might either a) become a challenging read for me OR b) become a series I would really feel connected inside and for whichever reason get a wicked lot of #bookJOY out of particpating in this randomly inspired RAL for 2019.

The only downside is I never realised how LONG it would take me to actually OPEN the book (ie. the first book, mind!) and get myself firmly settled into Toby’s world. #neversawthatcoming! Secondly, the other angst in my umbrella was the fact I couldn’t contribute to the Qs for the discussion *threads Louise was kindly assembling for us and my distance in the DM convo which has been evolving through the series since we became the ragtag team of readers discussing this Urban Fantasy has been quite impressively *active!* whilst I’ve been hanging in the margins of it for far, far too long.

This Summer – rather than re-queue an attempt to devour #20BooksOfSummer because the two years I had an #epicfail of that was not enough to dissway my re-attempt at the challenge – I decided this Summer 2019, I’d rather focus on a few other things such as a) #ADayAMonth RAL, b) #ReadingValdemar RAL, c) my extensive backlogue of reviews and d) devouring a bit of my #SpooktasticReads #WyrdAndWonder choices ahead of October as a precursor of having some of those featured in the opening days of the event rather than falling further behind like I had this past May. Ooh, and did I mention JUNE is #AudiobookMonth!? No. Hmm. How did I forget THAT?!

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Rosemary and Rue Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Rosemary and Rue
Subtitle: An October Daye novel
by Seanan McGuire
Source: Borrowed from local library

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0756405717

Published by DAW Books

on 1st September, 2009

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 368

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

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The stories #JorieReads this Summer
for the #ADayeAMonth readalong:

#ADayeAMonth banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer JR Korpa

Book One: Rosemary & Rue | (see also Lou’s Review)
Book Two: A Local Habitation
Book Three: An Artifical Night
Book Four: Late Eclipses | (see 3x mini Lou’s Reviews)
Book Five: One Salt Sea
Book Six: Ashes of Honour
Book Seven: Chimes at Midnight
Book Eight: The Winter Long

Legend: (avail via ILL) + (avail via local library)
+ (after book five OR eight I’ll rejoin the RAL group)

(*) as unsure as I am about how quickly I can get the missing books I need to be reading in order to ‘catch’ my group as their reading Six (June), Seven (July) and Eight (August) – I decided to plan ahead to where I’d either be right as rain by the end of whichever month this Summer I am able to get all the books I need through the borrowing routes I have available to me.

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook, Ebook and Mass Market

Converse via: #ADayeAMonth (this RAL) + #OctoberDaye (the series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Cats and Kittens, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Immortals, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature