Category: Fly in the Ointment

Happy 8th Blogoversary, Jorie Loves A Story! (#JLASblog turns 8!) | Celebrating with a #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “Catching Mr Right” (Seasons of Alaska, Book Seven) by Carol Ross

Posted Wednesday, 31 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

8th Blogoversary of Jorie Loves A Story banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Yes, you’ve read correctly!

Jorie Loves A Story turns eight today!!

And, yes, I’ve spent the last 8 years explaining I purposely capitalised the A!

On the 31st of March, 2013 Jorie Loves A Story was in its infancy – being tinkered with behind the scenes of the internet as I as not yet *live!* to the world (that came along lateron in August, 2013 – hence why this blog has a ‘blog birthday’ as well as a ‘blogoversary’!). In the humbled origins of Jorie Loves A Story – I had no idea what was going to come out of this project I had undertaken. I wasn’t self-hosted until 2014 and the earlier days of the blog – I was experimenting with both the style of how I wanted to blog and the ways in which I would showcase stories and authors alike. There were always reviews but its the interviews which have provided me with a hearty challenge and a bounty of unexpected joy to host.

I’ve been exploring genres of interest (both known to me and unknown), styles of literary voice as much as cross-global literary markets and the unique variants of literature as seen through both mainstream and faith-based markets of interest, too. I have tackled reading poetry and works of poetic drama which took me into a different layering of how stories can be told through prose and poetic voice. I helped develop @WyrdAndWonder which is about to celebrate its 4th Year this May, 2021 and I founded the Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Fiction bookish chat @SatBookChat in 2014.

I’ve participated in bookish reading challenges, readathons and other book blogger community events throughout the years as well as #ArmchairBEA. My second favourite annual event I am always a part of in some fashion is @SciFiMonth as it co-anchours my interests as I explore Fantasy during #WyrdAndWonder.

Yet. What remains are the memories. The conversations. The characters and their stories. The settings and timescapes I’ve traversed. The people I’ve communicated with in the comments and the interviews I’ve organised to get to the heart of what inspires the creative economnist to create their style of story. There is a lot of History on Jorie Loves A Story – of a reader redefining her journey into literature and the origins of a writer moonlighting as a book blogger and finding herself wholly inspired back into her own writings. Even if her season of publishing hasn’t yet arrived – the stories she can read and digest as she articulates her reactions throughout Jorie Loves A Story has been a blissitude of its own.

Here’s to celebrating ringing in my 8th Year of blogging on Jorie Loves A Story. May the stories and the authors who write them continue to inspire this blog and the writer behind it.

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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 “Catching Mr Right” direct from author Carol Ross in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading Carol Ross & Harlequin Heartwarming novelists:

my #TopTenTuesday where I disclosed how much I personally LOVE reading Harlequin Heartwarming novelists

Return of the #BlackwellBrothers of which I had an ardent & passionate attachment of

her small towne series Seasons of Alaska which bewitched my heart & soul

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I regularly express gratitude to Prism Book Tours for helping me become introduced with Harlequin Heartwarming and for inspiring me to fetch their stories regularly through inter-library loans at my local library and/or borrowing directly from a reciprocal library which has a few of their authors in their card catalogue! In future, I’ll be ‘filling in gaps’ of my personal library and in my reading queues by frequenting Thrift Books online as I found they are one of the best resources for purchasing these novels second hand which makes collecting them fit my book buying budget! On the latter note – there will be announcement in APRIL 2021.

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my 6th Blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story lamenting about my love for Ms Ross’s Seasons of Alaska series and now that I’ve just celebrated my 7th Blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story 

my first Heartwarming #SatBookChat this Autumn, 2020 featured Claire McEwen in September, 2020 (whilst you can read why I am dearly attached inside her Heartwarming series #HeroesOfShelterCreek)

→November, 2020 showcased ALL *5* #BlackwellBrothers & #BlackwellSisters authors on @SatBookChat for a seriously EPIC #SatBookChat!!

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You might have noticed these features & showcases throughout the years of Jorie Loves A Story. In truth, I have only been reading the stories by Ms Ross since [2018] – it has been such a wicked wonderful journey into her different series and seeing how she attaches us with the vision of her characters’ worlds simply by how she creates the drama behind their lives. I have felt dearly attached now to *Seasons of Alaska* as I had the pleasure of joy binge reading this series via interlibrary loan. One of these days I’m going to bring the series home to roost on my shelf in full point of pride as it has given me an infinite delight of happiness to discover, read and savour.

It is hard to capture *why!* I love Harlequin Heartwarming as much as I do except to say – if you’re seeking relationship-based Romances with a deepening centre of focus on family (biological, adopted, found, etc) and the strength of community – these are realistically told romantic dramas with a particular encaptured portrait of contemporary modern life within the backdrop of realistic characters living real lives. You can tell what inspires these stories by the authors who pen them and how much heart and soul of themselves they etch into the stories as you’re reading them. You don’t want to put these lovelies down – their #unputdownable, memorable and they knit themselves into your heart. The epitome of a #bookHUG if there ever were one to be had, too!

Whilst in regards to Ms Ross – I had the chance to speak with her shortly after her guest appearance on #SatBookChat and it was one of the most cherished convos I’ve shared because I had the chance to talk to one of the authors whose given me such a positive boost of encouragement during the months/years where life felt especially adverse and where the future was looming off in the distance with more than a shadowing of stormy weather. Her stories anchoured me in moments of where I needed a respite and a settling of mind – her characters gave me something I needed during the hours I visited with them and for that I shall remain forever grateful.

More than that even,.. Heartwarming stories give all of us singletons the hope of what tomorrow can bring when we least expect our lives to intersect with a bit of romance & the unexpected blissitudes of meeting someone who understands us without having to explain ourselves. Romance is an uplift for the heart and a pulse of inspired joy for the joy and that is why I love reading Harlequin Heartwarming stories. Their the kind of Romances I crave to read and the kind of Romances I cannot get enough of as a reader.

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Happy 8th Blogoversary, Jorie Loves A Story! (#JLASblog turns 8!) | Celebrating with a #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “Catching Mr Right” (Seasons of Alaska, Book Seven) by Carol RossCatching Mr Right
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

They can’t both win…

Can they?

Louisiana angler Victoria Thibodeaux needs the spokesperson contract with Romeo Reels to keep her business going and give her daughter a better life. But her hard-won confidence sinks to the bottom of the bayou when her rival, Alaskan fisherman Seth James, arrives. With his smooth-talking charm, handsome Seth could steal both her job and her heart, unless secrets from her past catch up with her first…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335179746

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th February, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

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A quick recapturing of the JOY I had reading the last novel in this series:

Rankins is coming up in the world now – the hospital is fully staffed and ready for receiving patients – a feat in of itself, as most of the more remote areas of Alaska in today’s world still require the efforts of real-life Tag’s to fly you out to the nearest hospital; generally speaking, those are located in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau – whilst having subscriptions to the three main air ambulances to get you evac’d is a good idea as sometimes your best bet is to get to a hospital in Canada rather than stay in Alaska depending on where you are when the emergency occurs. When Tag asks Ally to fly to either Alaska Regional or to Bartlett – you can have a better understanding where Rankins is located as Bartlett is in Juneau and Alaska Regional is in Anchorage. I’ve been trying to discern since I first began reading Seasons of Alaska where Ms Ross might pin down Rankins on a map. The problem of course is that there are 23 hours separating the two cities and a world of wilderness, small townes and cities between the two hospitals. Juneau is tucked under the Yukon and is next door to British Columbia – so I was a bit surprised Tag hadn’t mentioned going to the Yukon to reach the hospital in Whitehorse. This is what made me question if Rankins is somewhere in the more remote areas of interior Alaska outside of the cities which have hospitals and why Rankins getting their own hospital was as imperative as it was to become a more established city with self-sufficient means to help their own community.

Ross broached the option taboo topic of ageism in relationships and how old/young is too much of a chasm to bridge between two people who are falling in love? Technically speaking – I think more people ought to learn about Tony Randall’s life and realise when it comes to true love – age is never a barrier you should entertain. I personally found it a bit ironic that Tag was thinking that a woman aged 22 and a bloke aged 38 was too big of a difference in age – as realistically, he was only 16 years older than Ally. Generally, the upper limit I’ve seen is a 15 year difference but if you factor in how Ally had grown up and what she’d accomplished in her 22 years – to me she felt closer to 35, which would make plausible sense and also might have been why I observed their ease with each other was as natural as it seemed. I think maybe even Ms Ross felt that herself – as emotionally Ally was much older than her lived years.

I loved seeing this side of her writing explored – it gave a lovely tug-of-war aspect to the relationship – where you can see what conflicted Tag and how enlightened Ally truly was before Tag could wrap his head round why he was feeling any attraction at all. Men, truly! Sometimes they can be quite thick-headed about what they don’t or choose not to understand.

By the time I started to see how Iris and Flynn’s story-line was expanding and evolving to become inclusive of the entire James’ family – where updates on marriages within the series were coming back to centre focus and how the children of the series were maturing towards adulthood, my feelings for the series deepened. The continuity is brilliant and as I felt this was a duology attached to Bachelor Remedy I couldn’t be happier for how everything tied together in the end.

-quoted from my review of In the Doctor’s Arms

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Season of Alaska series:

Bachelor Remedy by Carol RossIn the Doctor's Arms by Carol RossCatching Mr Right by Carol Ross

Mountains Apart (Book One)

A Case for Forgiveness (Book Two) | see also Reviews of Book One & Two

If Not for A Bee (Book Three)

A Family Like Hannah’s (Book Four) see also Reviews of Book Three & Four

Bachelor Remedy (Book Five)

In the Doctor’s Arms (Book Six) see also Reviews of Book Five & Six

Catching Mr Right (Book Seven)

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Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse on Twitter via: #ContemporaryRomance & #HarlequinHeartwarming
as well as #SeasonsOfAlaska and #CarolRoss

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Posted Wednesday, 31 March, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Family Drama, Family Life, Fishing, Fly in the Ointment, Geographically Specific, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Nature & Wildlife, Non-traditional characters, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Southeastern USA, The Natural World, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – in the conclusion of the trilogy “The End of Dreams” by Marcus Lee

Posted Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#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 “The End of Dreams” 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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My thoughts on behalf of “Tristan’s Folly”:

At the heart of the series is the love story of Maya and Taran – of how they found each other and how their love grew out of the battle to survive the oppressive overreach of Daleth. Theirs is a romance that is rooted out of their relationship having a strong foundation of friendship and the mutual respect they each shared for the others’ gift. Without each other by their side, I am quite sure they would not have survived as long as they have now as they have a way of renewing each others’ strength as much as they are the truer compliment of each other as well. You cannot help grieve alongside them when their fears and anxieties about the prospects of their future are revealled – of the checks and balances they undertake to better recognise their advantages and disadvantages to re-engage in war with Daleth and yet, find small measures of joy in renewing their affirmed love for each other as well. The ways in which Lee has presented their relationship’s growth throughout this sequel re-affirms why this series seeks to redirect the reader off the war itself and re-align the reader’s eye on the more important aspects of what life is meant to give everyone. It isn’t about conquest or war nor is it about the rise of power – there is a unifying will to seek out one singular part of our lives which redefines the purpose of all men (and women) and truly illuminates our purpose through the strongest light possible.

Yana’s efforts to insurrect her own footing into the confidences of those round her was a bit discomforting knowing that her intentions were without honour. She could have given more to their cause if she hadn’t turnt her back on what a more just person might have pursued. Her mind was stuck on one particular goal and whatever came next paled in her original plans to overturn a relationship she had no right to interfere against. It spoke to her truer nature and of how she never set out to establish her own path to walk. She was constantly conniving her way into measures of confidence and trust with those round her and yet, part of me questioned how she could ever find true happiness if her happiness was completely tethered to the destruction of joy in others.

The greater crust of the story is about the battles themselves – the art of warfare and of how those who fought for either Daleth or Tristan had to choose their actions wisely against the intelligence of their enemies. Neither side would admit defeat and both sides felt they had the upper hand against each other – to more or less extent, this was true but the greater issue is what this world would yield once the battles concluded. What could be left of a world where everyone was pitted against each other and where those in power had their own agendas to see through which contradicted the reasons why the men and women fought in this war?

The hardest part of the story of course are the attacks of conscience of the players in this war whom are not below undermining others free will in order to gain something themselves. They seek to take what they feel is rightly theirs when in reality, it never was theirs at all. This plays out continuously as two persons in this story are content to pine after what they cannot have and then in the end, choose to take what cannot be given freely. It is this under-thread of deceit which has the greatest power to change the course of the souls in the series because of how much their survival is connected to the war itself. Each battle won is a small step forward towards the freedom of the world and yet, some battles are not on the battlefield but held in closed quarters where people bank against their own soul for the prize they desire moreso than the life they breathe.

-quoted from my review of Tristan’s Folly

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On my connection to Marcus Lee: I first crossed paths with Lee during the blog tour for Kings & Daemons in August 2020. Being fellow writers and voracious readers – it felt like a natural extension of the first blog tour, we would have something to talk about together about this world being built within the series of the Gifted and the Cursed as well as outside of the series itself. We continued to ‘chat’ privately after the blog tour and then, shortly before the start of the second we reconnected finding we’re both at different junctions of our writerly careers. However, I withheld discussing my thoughts about the sequel until my review for the second blog tour was released.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Lee through our respective joy in being writers as well as enjoying discussing the merits of Speculative Fiction as it applies to Dark Fantasy. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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Notation on Cover Art: I am simply in love with the cover art for this book series –

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – in the conclusion of the trilogy “The End of Dreams” by Marcus LeeThe End of Dreams
Subtitle: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book Three)
by Marcus Lee
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

As Daleth the Witch-King and his horde ready themselves for the final battle, a small alliance prepares for a desperate last stand.
However, the alliance is weak and fractured, led by a king interested only in retaining his wealth and a lord commander consumed by his thirst for revenge. With a seemingly unbeatable army before them, invisible foes amongst them, and broken hearts between them, the alliance appears destined to fall.

Yet in these dark times, her light almost extinguished, a peasant huntress is soon to be queen. But if she can find what was lost, she might prove to be more powerful than two kings combined.

This war will bring about the end of dreams, but for whom, the gods have yet to decide.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8598984192

Also by this author: Kings and Daemons, Tristan's Folly

Also in this series: Kings and Daemons, Tristan's Folly


Published by Self Published

on 23rd January, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

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The Gifted and the Cursed Trilogy:

Kings and Daemons by Marcus LeeTristan's Folly by Marcus LeeThe End of Dreams by Marcus Lee

Kings & Daemons (book one) | see also Review

Tristan’s Folly (book two) | see also Review

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 Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Cosy Horror, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, High Fantasy, Horror-Lite, Immortals, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Storytellers on Tour, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery

A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | feat. the thrilling conclusion within the pages of “Chaos in Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Three) by Edale Lane

Posted Monday, 15 February, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: When I first started book blogging in [2013] one of my first touring companies to work with was Tomorrow Comes Media who worked in conjunction with Seventh Star Press (an Indie publisher of Speculative Fiction) whilst featuring other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour hostess with Tomorrow Comes Media and enjoy getting to read a wide range of Speculative Fiction across Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres of interest. Sometimes the stories are genre-benders and/or they’re embracing the beauty of #SpecLit to such a degree they are their own unique niche in the larger expanse of the genre itself. 2020 marks my seventh year hosting for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press respectively.

I received a complimentary copy of “Chaos in Milan” direct from the author Edale Lane in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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And, for the new visitors & readers alighting on this review –
You might be curious what drew me into the Night Flyer Trilogy:

One of the highlights for me during the turmultous 2020 year of reading was the DISCOVERY of Edale Lane and her Night Flyer trilogy! I kid you not – it was one of the most engaging & layered Historical Fantasies I’ve read in recent years whilst it was wickedly historical in scope and even brought forth a variant of impressioning Leonardo da Vinci into the background of a series he isn’t technically physically present inside! And, yet,… dear hearts, he is evermore a part of this trilogy!

I originally crossed paths with Ms Lane early-on in February, 2020 wherein I first started my journey into her Night Flyer trilogy and of whom has written such a convicting slow-burn Historical Romance set within a Renaissance Fantasy world. And, that dear hearts – right there is the heart of the series itself – how one author can curate such a convicting premise & carry it through a trilogy you’re not sure you’re even prepared to see END and give us a thirst of excitement about what the ‘finale’ and final installment will mean for the characters we’ve come to know so dearly well!!

I first discovered her style of writing whilst I read “Merchants of Milan”. I anchoured the delightful #vlog interview I shared after my readings of “Merchants of Milan” with my ruminative thoughts of “Secrets of Milan” and a follow-up interview on behalf of the second installment as well.

Meanwhile, If you haven’t yet seen the lovely in-depth #behindthebook featured guest essay Ms Lane contributed to my stop on her tour with OWI – kindly take a moment to visit her words to find out how Art History and research into the world of art played such a strong role in how she developed the background of this series! This blog tour was a bit of a preview of what would come next during the Tomorrow Comes Media tour (for “Secrets of Milan”) which is why I was thankful to be a part of both tours and have the chance to feature this author on five separate occasions whilst helping to relate to my readers why I am enjoying her stories and why they ought to consider placing her trilogy on their #nextreads list!

Oh! And, not to mention I nominated AND advocated for “Merchants of Milan” as one of the books to be added into the library during a library drive during September, 2020! And, for those of whom missed my End of the Year Survey – you might want to open this TWEET!

However, we also had a delightful time meeting up with each other in 2020, too! It was the first year where I could meet an author I had loved reading and appreciated the conversation we shared, the memories we had over lunch and the joys of being a reader in a time and age where writers like to meet their readers on the spur of when their lives can intersect with each other!

To continue hosting this author via Tomorrow Comes Media has been a delight of joy – as they truly champion Indie Authors and Indie Publishers. It felt right to celebrate this third and final (?) installment of the series with TCM as the story comes to its natural conclusion. Or does it? I know there is a question mark if this is indeed the final story of the Night Flyer series – something I will be addressing after my review in regards to what my takeaways are about this series extending itself past the first trilogy and where I hope the series could go from where we’ve concluded this sequencing of the story itself.

If you’ve been privy to all the posts as they alighted on my blog last year, you know what you’re bracing for in the finale as much as I do! I am quite eager to see if I’ve unearthed whom is whom behind the whole conspiratorial plot as much as I want to see how Lane has knitted together all the fragments and tangents of the story overall! She has such a creative mind and an ingenious way of fusing it all together – just to see the final showdown (or is it?) happen is going to be EPIC.

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For those of you whom are new to Jorie Loves A Story,
let me share a bit about why I loved reading the Night Flyer trilogy by way of Secrets of Milan:

One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed reading this trilogy by Ms Lane is how she’s chosen to merge Historical details from our own living histories of the Renaissance into a new timeline of where Historical Fantasy can cross-sect with known History. In this way, we’re re-peering into the Renaissance through the eyes of a keen researcher who knows how to insert historical details which align with her fantastical elements (such as the Night Flyer). The series itself is definitely a succession of sociological observation and intrigue – in how she chooses to lay a firm hand on the behaviours and choices of her characters (lead, supporting and even the villain’s!) to where she orchestrates this lovely symphony of drama percolating through the series.

There are even moments wherein I learnt more about History and the ways in which History afforded certain allowances for women (both in the freedom of pursuing business to how the structure of society had been laid out) through reading this series and of which I will highlight within our conversation when I share my follow-up interview with Ms Lane on the 6th of July. This is another reason why I love reading Historical Fiction (overall) as it let’s you tuck close to the historic past and re-see those historical eras with finite detail you might have either overlooked elsewhere or been unable to find.

The human condition is definitely explored throughout the Night Flyer trilogy – however, in this instance, for the sequel I felt Lane did a wonderful job of giving us a more introspective response to the continuing events which are shaping her characters’ lives. She choose to take us deeper into the heart of what is fuelling Maddie’s quandary over embracing newfound happiness and romance whilst at the same time she presented us with a morally gray character who was seeking his own redemption for a life he felt was forfeited. It is through these new insights on behalf of her characters we start to see the greater picture of the series itself – not just the intrigue about the unknown but how her characters are shaping the trilogy and how the trilogy is being built behind them.

A special treat of this installment I felt was the inclusion of the Christmastide celebrations of Renaissance Milan! You get to see the traditions and the cultural or religious ways in which people would celebrate the Christmas season as a reflection of the era but also a reflection of how despite everything going on in their lives, Christmas did not take a hiatus from arriving. They each had to find ways to both acknowledge Christmas and either make peace with the holiday on arrival or find ways to muddle their way through it. I loved those details because Christmas has always been a special holiday for me and my family; as it was one of those holidays where traditions were constantly passed down, cherished and celebrated.

I was not quite prepared for how Secrets of Milan concludes because it owns to the title – wherein there are far more secrets afloat in the series now than there were previously! Including one that I felt would be difficult for Florentina to maintain as it might drive a wench in her relationship with Maddie – time will of course tell in that regard but for me personally, I loved how this one concluded because it honed in on the heart of the series – giving us more time to spend with Florentina and Maddie as their relationship drew closer together and allowed us further chance to peer into this hidden dark world Florentina is bent on exposing. Towards that end, the tenacles of how this secret world interacts with society is more intricate than a spider’s web and far more deadlier than a black widow.

-quoted from my book review for Secrets of Milan

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A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | feat. the thrilling conclusion within the pages of “Chaos in Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Three) by Edale LaneChaos in Milan
Subtitle: Book Three of the Night Flyer Trilogy
by Ms Edale Lane, Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Author

One woman stands between chaos and order – the Night Flyer.

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them. The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?

Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like action and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a sweet romance, then you’ll want to complete the Night Flyer saga.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, LGBTQIA Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8578153334

Also by this author: Merchants of Milan, (Video) Interview feat. Edale Lane (Merchants of Milan), Secrets of Milan (Guest Post by Author), Secrets of Milan, Secrets of Milan (Interview)

Also in this series: Merchants of Milan, Secrets of Milan


Published by Past & Prologue Press

on 8th December, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 246

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Merchants of Milan by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan by Edale LaneChaos in Milan by Edale Lane

The Night Flyer trilogy:

Merchants of Milan (book one) | see also Review

Secrets of Milan (book two) | see also Review

Chaos in Milan (book three)

Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Alternative History,
as well as Renaissance (time period), Action and Adventure, Superhero Fiction

Identities represented: F/F Romance, Lesbian friendship/relationships

Converse via: #WyrdAndWonder, #HistoricalFantasy, #SapphicFiction,
#SpeculativeFiction, #LGBTQ and #NightFlyerTrilogy with #EdaleLane

About Ms Edale Lane

Edale Lane

Edale Lane is the author of an award winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 15 February, 2021 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, #JorieLovesIndies, Blog Tour Host, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fantasy, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Self-Published Author, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Vulgarity in Literature

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – within the second novel of the trilogy “Tristan’s Folly” by Marcus Lee

Posted Monday, 30 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#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 “Tristan’s Folly” 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 kept me rooted to the pages of “Kings & Daemons”:

As you first alight inside the Ember Kingdom you are greeted by such a terrible reckoning of the high fatality rate which has afflicted the women in this world. For a couple who knew what was coming the day their daughter was bourne it was not bringing them the luxury of happiness (by her birth) but rather the pain of the loss which was imminent. Except to say if that had happened this story would not have a fierce warrior as a heroine as even in infancy. Maya had a special awareness about the world as she intuited pain and understood healing. The lengths in which her parents went to keep this secreted from others in their world points to a harder look at what any parent would do to defend and protect their child. You feel emotionally rooted in these opening scenes to where you want to stand in solidarity with this family and also become one of the guardians of Maya to ensure she is allowed to grow in this loving environment of her family without outside influences which might seek to separate her from her parents.

To keep herself removed from her own society she had become a forager of whom was allowed to be gone long hours of the day and return at dusk. The hardest part to understand about Maya’s life as she was growing out of girlhood into womanhood is the loss of her mother which was never fully resolved and the fact that in order to be alive she had to mask her truer nature as much as  her true identity. Even the ways in which she presented herself was the illusion her parents had chosen for her rather than the most ideal situation to continue for such a long time without drawing notice to oneself. You feel for Maya because she is not allowed to live authentically nor is she allowed any of the common courtesy you’d expect a child and young woman would be granted – such as conversation, friendship and being one with her own community. She was living a full step removed from this community and you had to wonder – what were they afraid of? What threat did her birthright and gift afford her that others afeared? Those are the thoughts going through my mind as I entered into the initial chapters and tried to muse about what could have happened in this world to have such a locked mindset which heavily prejudiced itself against each other.

There is such a humbling and honest scene involving Maya and the awakening she had with her gift – it is tender and sweet, with the innocence of how new birth and a re-genesis of the organic healing from within her can affect the natural environs she touches with her presence. It involved a rose and it is how this particular flower found its new roots under Maya’s tenderness of care and the thoughtfulness of how she helped a plant heal itself was truly a remarkable passage in the opening pages of Kings and Daemons! She is someone who can cause a transfiguration of growth – from the point of decay to the celebration of rebirth and it is beautifully written to give you this founding sense of what her gift means to her as a person (as it renews her own spirit to use it and cultivate it) and how that gift translates into the world in which she lives.

Taran by contrast is an interesting bloke in this world who is also harbouring a secret of his own about the innate gift he has developed first out of fight or flight circumstances and secondly out of his own instincts which have served him well. His own childhood had its own challenges wherein where Maya was folded into a loving home life despite the concerns of her parents that others might discover her truer nature – Taran was blighted with a childhood wherein his art of defence and skill to deflect his father’s domestic violence against himself and his mother was a defining part of his younger years. Yet despite what they had against them both Taran and Maya shared the will to not just survive but to survive with their gifts aiding their efforts.

Whilst reading Taran’s entrance into the story, I must admit, part of me wondered if this bloke could run out of luck because he enjoyed living on the edge of society. He might not have chosen this life for himself as that was a consequence of his father’s domestic abuse (which personally felt like an injustice of its own) but it was a life he had carved out of the embers of his former life and it had enabled him with enough to survive on in a world that was unwelcome to both change and strangers. As a wanderer you could say Taran would immediately connect with Maya because she wanders in a different way than he does in her own community. Each of them self-exiled away from both prying eyes and the framework of their societies.

I was truly bewitched and enchanted by how Lee has writ this novel – you feel so dearly rooted to both Maya and Taran whilst your reading that you can barely notice anything else in your own world after you’ve entered theirs! So much so, when Maya was being pursued by a hunger-mad pack of wolves it brought me back instantly to seeing The Neverending Story for the first time as a child and the terrifying moment where Atreyu has to defend himself against a wolf. Not since that cinematic moment have I found another writer whose writ such a harrowing account of predator vs prey when it involves a wild animal and a human. You are on the very edge of your seat as you want to encourage Maya as she flees for her life but then, at that moment where both instinct and hope seem lost – it is a battle of will to turn the pages and see what happened!

-quoted from my review of Kings & Daemons

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On my connection to Marcus Lee: I first crossed paths with Lee during the blog tour for Kings & Daemons in August 2020. Being fellow writers and voracious readers – it felt like a natural extension of the first blog tour, we would have something to talk about together about this world being built within the series of the Gifted and the Cursed as well as outside of the series itself. We continued to ‘chat’ privately after the blog tour and then, shortly before the start of the second we reconnected finding we’re both at different junctions of our writerly careers. However, I withheld discussing my thoughts about the sequel until my review for the second blog tour was released.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Lee through our respective joy in being writers as well as enjoying discussing the merits of Speculative Fiction as it applies to Dark Fantasy. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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I will be the first to mention, this series is completely removed from my regular readings of Fantasy and a complete forward step outside all my zones of comfort – which is why if you are curious why I was originally tempted to read the trilogy and why I am continuing to read it now – it is quite simple: I love to challenge myself! To go into a niche of genre I am not as well versed in travelling through and/or to seek out stories with the layers of depth I love finding as a reader. Even if on the outside of starting those stories it would look like a full step removed from anything I’d generally seek out to read. Sometimes those are the moments you discover the stories which give you a hearty challenge to both read and dissect. This is one of those series for me.

Yet, it wasn’t until I started to binge watch the military drama series “Army Wives” this November (ie. I nearly saw the full three seasons of the show within less than a forthnight of watching it!) – I couldn’t quite put my finger on how I came to have an appreciation for Sword & Sorcery stories. The truth of it is – it was the fierce spitfire character of Pamela (Chase’s husband on the series) who tipped the missing gaps of my memory – as she was involved with an ill-fated tv series I loved back in the ’90s which was ROAR.

However, it won’t surprise too many of you who’ve been following me for awhile to know I have had occasion to blog about this particular genre in the past, as I was smitten with the ‘idea’ of a tv series pilot moreso than I was keenly curious to watch it. In other words, I sought out a way to interview the actors involved with the Sword & Sorcery pilot as well as the filmmaker and author behind the series; knowing I couldn’t read the books series which inspired it nor could I watch the pilot itself considering what you see on the takeaway shots and BTS videos via YoutTube! Take a gander at the interview I’m mentioning and perhaps the series might be a better fit for you – as it stands, I’m wicked proud of the interview and what I learnt out of interviewing everyone I choose to speak with about the production and their role in it.

If you visited with me for my first review in this series, you already know I have made a few notations about the level of violence and excessive use of violent sequences within the context of the story itself. Which became a bit of an underline issue with me as I am not a reader who appreciates explicit or excessive violence in any of the stories she’s reading but as you gleamed from my review, this particular book was the exception to the rule in regards of finding an author who redeemed himself by the breadth of how he wrote the larger scope of the story itself and how he endeavoured to give a layered central arc to thread into the next two installments of the trilogy.

Again, I could have had quite a few small battles excluded from the journey Maya and Taran were taking towards the Witch-King because it soon became a bit too repetitive for me to constantly see people swinging swords or stabbing with daggers and all round was nothing but death and the dead stacked in a reckless act of violent outrage. And, that too is also a keen aspect of the novel – as Dark Fantasy illuminates the darker variants of ourselves and our souls – keeping to that theme, Lee has used different techniques to showcase how darkness can overtake the mind, the body and the soul to where it is a maddening fight to find freedom from under that kind of influence and that is at the heart of where we first enter into this series. These people are fighting for not just the right to live and the will to live but they are fighting a battle against an enemy they cannot even fathom being real.

I might be a hard sell at times as a reader but it boils down to each individual author and how they choose to tell their stories – if they do it well, they have me hooked into their world and if they choose to make choices which remove all my enjoyment of reading their stories; I am a reader whose never afraid to call foul and claim a book as an DNF.

As I saw the calendar ticking down the hours for me to begin reading Tristan’s Folly, I must admit I had a certain level of anxiety. Where would the sequel fit within my readerly barometer of what I can both handle reading and appreciate reading? Which of my personal thresholds of angst would be tested and how would I walk out of the experience as both a reader and as a book blogger who inks out her thoughts and shares them with her readers?

The one blessing I had is trusting whichever way I walked out of this novel, the author would understand what I had to share about it because he already knows my bookish preferences and where I stand on some of what is inclusive to his genre of choice and the methodology of how its written. When authors understand the book blogger experience it makes reading their stories as a book blogger much more enjoyable because we don’t have to defend how we blog or how we choose to blog our readerly life – because all of us are blogging our honest thoughts, impressions and opinions about the stories we’re reading. There is a certain vulnerability to that kind of experience and after seven years as a book blogger, I still find myself feeling especially grateful and blessed to be in a position to read as diversely as I can whilst seeking out new genres, subniches of genres and literary styles as I have every month I’ve sought to propell myself forward into new dimensions of literature.

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Notation on Cover Art: I am simply in love with the cover art for this book series –

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – within the second novel of the trilogy “Tristan’s Folly” by Marcus LeeTristan's Folly
Subtitle: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book Two)
by Marcus Lee
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

Tristan’s Folly. An ageing fortress built over fifty years ago to repel the invading hordes of the Witch-King, Daleth, an invasion that never materialised – until now.

Now the stronghold is a crumbling reflection of its former might, with a mere fifteen hundred men all that stands between Daleth’s savage horde of a hundred thousand, and certain doom for the Freestates.

As Kings and Daemons face one another, there is but one shining light that pushes back the encroaching darkness, but even her flame is slated to be extinguished thanks to Tristan’s Folly.

In this epic tale of a battle against the odds, the best and worst of humankind collide … sacrifice, bravery and love, set against betrayal, greed and hatred.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8698105718

Also by this author: Kings and Daemons, The End of Dreams

Also in this series: Kings and Daemons, The End of Dreams


Published by Self Published

on 26th October, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 291

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Gifted and the Cursed Trilogy:

Kings and Daemons by Marcus LeeTristan's Folly by Marcus Lee

Kings & Daemons (book one) | see also Review

Tristan’s Folly (book two)

The End of Dreams (book three) ← forthcoming release!

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 Monday, 30 November, 2020 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Cosy Horror, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, High Fantasy, Horror-Lite, Immortals, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Storytellers on Tour, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery