Category: Self-Published Author

Blog Book Tour | “The Strongman and the Mermaid” [The Donora Story Collection: Book Two] by Kathleen Shoop with reflections on behalf of reading the first novel in the series “After the Fog”

Posted Monday, 20 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

My path first crossed with Kathleen Shoop in [2015] whilst I was participating in a summer reading challenge by BookSparks. I was also a reviewer and blog tour hostess with the  publicity firm whilst I was joining the SRC reading challenge they were quite infamous of hosting for the very first time. My experiences that summer were less than gratifying as I lost traction with the challenge itself and only posted a few reviews out of the ones I was meant to be posting. Ms Shoop and I crossed paths that year due to her latest Letter series release “The Road Home” which was part of the SRC challenge for [2015]. During that summer I also received a #bookmail parcel from the author which include a variety of her stories for me to start reading. They were not for review consideration but if I was inspired to blog about them after I read them that was up to my own discretion and choice. I had a feeling I might be leaning in that direction as just by browsing through the stories and where they could be taking me, I felt they would be the #nextreads I would most enjoy experiencing.

Life and health afflictions (especially my chronic migraines) conflicted with my start/stop attempts to read the books themselves until I felt re-inspired to re-attempt to read one of the novels – “After the Fog” this Spring which I had no idea was being anchoured to a sequel “The Strongman and the Mermaid” which was also going to be featured on a blog tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Thereby, it felt like the timing was aligning properly for me to start to read her canon of stories and with my newfound inspiration I couldn’t wait to begin my journey into her collective works.

I received a complimentary copy of “After the Fog” direct from the author Kathleen Shoop without obligation to post a review. I am choosing to share my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and of continuing to share my readerly life with those who follow m y blog Jorie Loves A Story. Whilst at the same time, I read it in conjunction with the sequel being released and touring on a blog tour in the book blogosphere on behalf of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours of which I am a regular reviewer and tour hostess.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Strongman and the Mermaid” direct from the author Kathleen Shoop in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein on either “After the Fog” or “The Strongman and the Mermaid”.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My journey towards reading

the collective works of Kathleen Shoop:

If I would have speculated it would take me from 2015 to 2019 to read my first Kathleen Shoop novel, I might have questioned the distance early-on from my first discovery of her novels and the point in time which I could put my heart into reading her collective works. The sad bit really is I was perpetually distracted by my health, the adversities of life and if you take out [2017] (the year my father recovered from his stroke) and [2018] the year I had 10 months of health afflictions – it doesn’t appear to be as long of a distance on the surface of things.

The truth is – I’ve been picking up her novels off/on since I first received them – each time thinking I had picked the right moment to read them, to spend time dissolving into the words and the worlds she’s built and unfortunately finding myself unable to attach into the narrative. I planned to read the Letter series first – as I have the first two novels of that series on hand to be read. And, this is where my journey into her novels begins as the reason our paths first crossed is because I used to review for BookSparks (ie. the publicity team attached to She Writes Press, etc) – in [2015] I participated in their blog tours & their Summer Reading Challenge – which was quite epic back then. You’d select the authors you were most keen on becoming acquainted with and they would pick a variety of books to send you for review consideration – the second Letter series novel “The Road Home” was amongst the offerings and thus, my path first crossed with Ms Shoop.

From there – a lot of life intervened and this has been the first year I’ve been able to focus on reading my *backlogue!* despite the fact by appearances it would seem I took five months to begin doing that as I had some health issues shifting into 2019 from 2018. The best news of all is this Spring I started to see a positive reduction in my migraines (even though this #WyrdAndWonder I had a rather epic one which relapsed twice this May; it was a side effect to allergy medicine) which I feel will give me more bookishly delightful hours in the future.

The main reason I decided to join the blog tour featuring the second novel in the Donora Story Collection [The Strongman & the Mermaid] is because I wanted to purposefully begin reading my Shoop novels. I’ve dreamt of what they involve and the literary environment I would encounter once I began reading her stories – thereby, it felt like [2019] was the year the stars were aligning to where I could finally focus on the STORIES I most desired to be reading and finally ‘greet!’ the authors I’ve most wanted to read.

The beauty of course, is “After the Fog” begins this series and the novel itself has been lovingly looked after on my book shelves – it has moved round quite a bit and it was finally able to make it to my desk. I was overjoyed I could finally soak inside Shoop’s narrative(s) and hoped this would mark a beginning where I could pick up the rhythm of her stories anew in JUNE by settling into the Letter series and seeing where this journey of mine into her collective works would take me next. It might take me a bit of time to return to a book I received in the earlier days of Jorie Loves A Story – but this much is true: NONE of those books have been forgotten,.. each of them is being read with eager anticipation as if they just reached me now to be read.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

prefacing my reading of “after the fog” with a personal observation:

Whilst embarking on a 15,000 mile road trip with my Mum over a score of three years in the middle of the 2000s – criss-crossing through the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West states – I still remember what it was like driving through areas of Pennsylvania where the industrial pollution was still effecting its residents. There were townes where the houses facing the industrial plants across the street were tar black and smokey grey – you could barely tell they were houses as the grim covering the outside of their buildings felt like a film set from a Dystopian location. It gave thought to how far we have progressed and how far we have receded in regards to taking care of air pollution, industrial pollution and the health risks of living in cities and small townes where there is no distance between quality of life and the pollutants which can cause harm.

I had forgotten what the premise was within this novel but as soon as I re-read it – I immediately drew back to mind what it was like driving through the coal townes of West Virginia, the industrial townes of Pennsylvania and the insanity of having my hamster nearly suffocate himself in the Upper Mid-West region where we were passing through Omaha, Nebraska due to not having quality air even inside of a closed windowed car. There are distinct issues throughout the states from an environmental perspective – most of which you hear on the news or see on your feeds via social media; however, when your ‘driving through’ it makes a more pointed reality quite crystalised and clear for anyone who takes a harder look at what they are observing from afar.

reflections on reading after the fog:

You can hardly draw a breath as you enter into Rose’s life as a nurse in a small industrial towne which barely has enough medical practitioners that it needs to be medically sound in a place where emergencies were commonplace. In this instance, Shoop begins on a sombering note – of a mother and child who both exited the world the same night as the child’s arrival. It was difficult on Rose – a nurse who grieved for her patients as readily as the doctor she served, but what was one nurse to do with a patient whose birth went sideways as soon as it began? The house she was birthing inside was less than ideal – the light was missing but the effects of the hard birth were not lost on Rose. In many ways, this Rose reminded me of the Rose from Charton Minster (the historical series I loved reading by Margaret James) as both are nurses who go above and beyond their calls of duty.

We also get a firm overview of the towne – of how Donora is co-dependent on her industries and how those industries are co-dependent on each other. Situated below Pittsburgh, its location is on the opposite end of the state than I am familiar though I have passed through the Amish area north of Pittsburgh; it is one city I never had the proper chance to visit. The fact this story is rooted in the steel industry was not a surprise – though like most industrial stories, I found this one refreshing as I haven’t learnt as much about the Industrial Revolution as I ought to have before I graduated. Interestingly enough, no one was ever interested in talking about History after the Civil War or outside of the war eras of the early 20th Century. You have to rally together the missing pieces of history on your own and through reading Historical Fiction these past six years I’ve filled in the gaps far easier than all the years I was in school (which is telling in of its own).

Shoop writes with historical realism – the descriptive details you’d nearly expect out of a Historical narrative but also with a grittiness you might not be fully prepared for reading. Rather than gloss over certain aspects of the novel’s period history, Shoop delves into the gritty depictions of what this kind of life can lead to observing as you live through the era in which it is written about – from the visuals of what Rose must endure as a nurse to the ways in which the lives within the novel are spoken about or referenced. This is a historical novel that tucks you close to the edges – where you can peer at these people’s lives with a rawness as if they were going about their hours without realising someone was taking notes about how they were living, what they were doing or how they occupied their hours. It is an examination on a sociological layer of insight but it is also a gut-punch reality of how people lived through a particular jarring era in history where personal health and the environmental toxicity in their air was assaulting their lungs – “After the Fog” – is a cautionary story about how a disaster in the past can be a foreshadow to the future.

Despite this – I found reading After the Fog to be quite tedious as although I was looking forward to reading it for quite a long while – I couldn’t find my footing inside its story-line. The rhythm was hard to root out as I was constantly distracted by either the grittiness of the layers within it, the language choices liberally shining out of it or the fact the story felt harder edged somehow than most of the Historicals I usually read. It was not a good fit for me and although I worried how that would effect my readings of the sequel The Strongman and the Mermaid – I knew most of Shoop’s novels can be read as stand-alone editions and I felt perhaps this sequel might resonate with me a bit better than After the Fog as I honestly did not get past a quarter’s length of reading.

The sad bit is I couldn’t find a character I felt drawn to emotionally – I thought at first I might feel a connection to Rose but she felt emotionally cold and reclusive; she was living through a difficult time in her life where the whole of her family was co-dependent on everyone else but it was difficult to get a stronger impression about her as she did not seem approachable as some historical characters tend to feel in historical stories. Therefore, the more I tried to read of the novel – the less enthused I was about completing it due to how I simply felt disconnected from the characters and did not feel as if I wanted to know the outcome of their stories.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Strongman and the Mermaid” [The Donora Story Collection: Book Two] by Kathleen Shoop with reflections on behalf of reading the first novel in the series “After the Fog”The Strongman and the Mermaid
by Kathleen Shoop
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Myscowa, Poland—1910

Once upon a time in tiny, rural Myscowa, Lukasz Musial competes in feats of strength against his lifelong nemesis to win passage to America. He leaves behind grinding poverty and despair, to seek the clear blue skies, and better life he sees on a postcard. Settled in Donora’s Polish community, Lukasz secures a coveted job in the wire mill, and is matched to marry Donora’s very own Polish princess. Life is set on course. The American Dream is nearly his.

Donora, Pennsylvania—1910

Mary Lancos is no princess. A tall, athletic girl who loves the water, she spends her days keeping house for families in town, digging coal out of a backyard seam and rowing her father across the Monongahela River for work. Mary is dependable, tenacious, and always ready to help when someone needs her. She dreams of a gas-heated home, a bedroom for each of her future children, and good meals on the table each night. To help make that happen Mary attends local dances, waiting for the few men who are taller than her to ask her to dance, hoping one of them is right for her.

An unexpected Christmas Eve visitor brings bad luck, and Lukasz’s world crumbles. Meanwhile, tension grows at the Lancos home when money is short and Mary’s dreams clash with her parents’ old world expectations. Just when Mary and Lukasz are at their lowest, they find themselves under an odd pink moonlit sky and Lukasz rescues Mary from a fall into frigid river water. The attraction between them is sudden and consuming, turning the pair onto an unexpected path. With mounting disapproval from Mary’s parents, and increased pressure on Lukasz, they must decide if love is enough to risk losing everything else that matters.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781731561138

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 28th February, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 563

This is a self-published novel

The Donora Story Collection:

After the Fog by Kathleen ShoopThe Strongman and the Mermaid by Kathleen Shoop

After the Fog (book one)

The Strongman & the Mermaid (book two)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Kathleen Shoop

Kathleen Shoop

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 20 May, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Self-Published Author, The Steel Industry, Vulgarity in Literature

Ahead of #WyrdAndWonder, an Audiobook Spotlight | “The Choosing” (The Forest People, book two) by Maggie Lynch (narrated by Rachel Jacobs)

Posted Saturday, 20 April, 2019 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

Audiobook Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

On my connection to this blog tour: I am a blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I have been hosting for nearly a year now and I appreciate the diversity of genre selections and styles of stories to choose from whilst I navigate the audiobook realms!

Why I wanted to listen to this story:

When I first learnt of this series, my first instincts were this could be a brilliant way of getting my feet wet back into Speculative Fiction on the Fantasy side of the ledger. However, what truly rooted me in wanting to tackle a trilogy before #WyrdAndWonder is the fact that it isn’t often I find a Fantasy series which intrigues me to read – at least not on the YA side of things. I’ve been spoilt dearly on the #LelandDragons series and thus, I thought it would be a keen idea to take a chance on a #newtomeauthor and see if this particular series could win me over as much as Jackie Gamber’s!

What I have enjoyed thus far along in The Forest People series:

One of the more gutting openings I’ve listened to in an audiobook were within the first sequences of The Awakening and yet it was also the most beautiful. A selfless act of love and the purity of that choice to bring a child into the world bridging two different species together and ultimately uniting the world to reveal an ancient prophecy their species do not wish to see brought to fruition is how this story first begins.

The parents of Camryn (Wynbune to her people, the forest people as they are known in their unity) are both Quatcho (a furry species of tall stature) and Mazikeen (a sub-species of the fey). Not since I’ve started to read short stories of Speculative origins have I seen such an achingly beautiful origin story etched into a Fantasy – this origin of how Camryn came to be bourne and the sacrifices of her parents is singularly one of my favourite opening bridges which anchours her past to her present. Her mother’s release from the forest reminded me dearly of a beloved scene from Avatar but also from the passages of those short stories wherein Earthly magic and native beliefs were the backbone of the mythologies explored in those previous stories I loved reading. They felt larger than their short lengths and they inspired my mind to re-consider the plausibilities of where Fantasy can take you through a character’s journey. In a continued sense of awareness, I loved the instincts Lynch had for giving us Camryn’s rite of birth.

Nakani and Kia shared a special love and their short love story is memorable because of how they had bonded to each other whilst choosing this path to bring a daughter into a world who would not readily accept her but find her disagreeable to the ordered path their species felt was natural. What is so terribly gutting about this love story is how tragic it ends and how the prophecy they nurtured into existence is what foretold their own fates as much as their daughter’s. It was this humbled origin which sprung forth the uniqueness of having a daughter adopted out of both their species and placed into the human world. It was there where Camryn felt her differences the most – if you cross-relate this story to a very well-known series, you’ll immediately spy out the similarities of a child ‘cast-out’ of their kinship and kind only to be re-discovered lateron. However, despite this wrinkle of curious overlay and familiarity there are a few distinct differences – especially because of how Camryn starts to evolve and transmorph as she rises into her sixteenth year.

I wasn’t a bit surprised how this story was tracking through the psychological effects of Camryn coming to terms with how different she was from her adoptive family nor how they had loved her unconditionally. I think if Lynch had taken this to a different level of realisation on both their behalf’s – if her adoptive family had had any conditions placed on their daughter OR if Camryn herself hadn’t been as authentically raw and real in the opening chapters to describe her own afflictions and emotional anguish – I might not have felt as connected to her journey as I had.

When the story grew a bit more  interesting is when Ohar and Camryn are in the forest – where the overlays of the world are stronger and where we gleam more about Lynch’s vision for The Forest People. The struggle of will inside Ohar isn’t overly examined – it was almost as if that one scene with his Mum was the deciding moment of where he chose to go against her wishes and to do what was right – not for himself but his species, for the sake of their existence and the perservation of their beliefs. His strength is rooted in how he views his purpose and how he chooses to accept his destiny. And, yet, I felt part of his character was a bit under-developed as it was very much matter of fact without contest or argument. I thought for sure there would be more to say about how he would determine his own path outside of his mother’s will – even though she did threaten him, I felt this part of the ominous bits of the world we were entering were left undone or rather unresolved. They simply became a non-issue – as you readily observe once Ohar and Camyrn return to the forest.

Whilst their in the forest, I couldn’t sort out why Lynch was radically changing our perception about Camryn – as she felt older in the chapters leading into this one – although, part of me questioned if her descending age or behaviour patterns had to do with the effect of her crossing into the realm where she was bourne vs the world in which she was raised. There is a difference in place and time, and when your dealing with the fey in most stories, there is a uniqueness of ‘where’ you are vs how you are in other places – almost as if your behaviour, mannerisms and natural essence are influenced by your setting. Or rather, I suppose I ought to say, perhaps by going back to the forest, this newer version of Camryn was her original self trying to come back into her skin? It just felt a bit muddled even though it was quite the compelling quest for Ohar to take-on as a lot was brokering on his success.

Lynch has a knack for developing the world within The Forest People which reminds me of why I personally have become attached to the stylings of Urban Fantasy. She has co-anchoured this journey of Camryn firmly between the world in which she was raised (ie. amongst humans) and the ethereally enchanting forest which in of itself is dimensionally greater than it appears. Like most Urban Fantasies which take us on the journey through the conventions of dimensional time and the conceptional awareness of our world as it is viewed on the surface and not between what is veiled from human sight – Lynch endeavours us to take this journey with her characters; to seek what is beyond.

Part of Lynch’s world-building is to prepositional us into how her world is set to a rhythm of belief where all of life is connected to each other and the difference truly lies in the perception of what is understood. Meaning, for the Forest People themselves – their awareness is more acute rather than the humans’ perception is stunted and limited. It is a perceptional novel in many regards – how you choose to perceive yourself, how others perceive you (outside of your own image) and how the perception of our time within our lives can alter what we can accomplish if we’re hindered by this crippling sense of ‘otherness’ which isn’t our truest sense of self.

One interesting thing to note is how I felt she was written Camryn in a descension of age – meaning, the more time Camryn spent in the forest after her imprisonment and confinement, the more she seemed to regress and age progressively ‘backwards’ rather than forwards. And, then rather suddenly she would be increasingly moving towards a maturity for her species – caught between being a girl and a woman with all the confusing emotions interspersed with the changes in her mood, attitude and emotional balance.

-quoted from my review of Chameleon: The Awakening

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Ahead of #WyrdAndWonder, an Audiobook Spotlight | “The Choosing” (The Forest People, book two) by Maggie Lynch (narrated by Rachel Jacobs)The Choosing (Audiobook Spotlight)
Subtitle: Book Two of the Forest People
by Maggie Lynch
Source: Scribd | Audiobook Subscription
Narrator: Rachel Jacobs

A human chameleon. An endangered mythical forest. Can she bond with a dragon in time to save her new family?

Camryn Painter has enough identity issues without discovering a deadly new magic coursing through her veins. Though her chameleon-like abilities herald her as the forest people’s savior, she’s terrified by the growing dark power within her. And it only gets worse when she realizes that to control this new magic she’ll have to bond with a deadly Thunder Dragon…

As Camryn embarks on her dangerous quest, she discovers that the same human tyrants who experimented on her are behind multiple grisly murders as well. To fulfill her destiny, she may just have to infiltrate her former prison.

Can Camryn master her new abilities to stave off more death, or will power-hungry humans destroy her magical home for good?

Chameleon: The Choosing is the second book in The Forest People YA paranormal fantasy series. If you like heroic challenges, original creatures, and frightening battles between dark and light, then you'll love Maggie Lynch's rousing adventure.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07D4RJ7RD

Also by this author: The Awakening (Audiobook Spotlight), The Awakening

Also in this series: The Awakening (Audiobook Spotlight), The Awakening


Genres: Fantasy Fiction, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Suspense, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Windtree Press

on 8th May, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 5 hours and 23 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Windtree Press

The Forest People series:

Formats Available: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Maggie Lynch

Maggie Lynch

Maggie Lynch is the author of 20+ published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Maggie is also the founder of Windtree Press, an independent publishing cooperative with over 200 titles among 20 authors.

Her love of lifelong-learning has garnered degrees in psychology, counseling, computer science, and education; and led to opportunities to consult in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. Since 2013, Maggie and her musician husband have settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she now enjoys the luxury of writing full-time. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, science fiction and fantasy titles. Her current non-fiction titles are focused on helping career authors succeed in the business side of writing and publishing.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Divider

Posted Saturday, 20 April, 2019 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Scribd, Self-Published Author, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance

Audiobook Review (celebrating Fantasy ahead of #WyrdAndWonder) | “Chameleon: The Awakening” (Book One: The Forest People series) by Maggie Lynch (narrated by Rachel Jacobs)

Posted Saturday, 13 April, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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.

Similar to the blog tours I hosted for the #KayHunters series [specifically for “Gone to Ground” and “Bridge to Burn”] the blog tour review copies for The Forest People are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from Authors Direct or other services off-Audible is because the new format(s) are mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. As I switched my subscription from Audible to Scribd – I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as it allowed me a chance to listen to a #newtomeauthor of Fantasy ahead of my co-hosted Fantasy celebration #WyrdAndWonder!

Thereby my copy of “Chameleon: The Awakening” the first novel of the The Forest People series (as well the next two in sequence) is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of pursuing a reader’s interest in Fantasy Literature. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to listen to this story:

When I first learnt of this series, my first instincts were this could be a brilliant way of getting my feet wet back into Speculative Fiction on the Fantasy side of the ledger. However, what truly rooted me in wanting to tackle a trilogy before #WyrdAndWonder is the fact that it isn’t often I find a Fantasy series which intrigues me to read – at least not on the YA side of things. I’ve been spoilt dearly on the #LelandDragons series and thus, I thought it would be a keen idea to take a chance on a #newtomeauthor and see if this particular series could win me over as much as Jackie Gamber’s!

And, why it truly appealled to my pursuit of the fantastical:

In this first novel of the series, what I was truly excited over is that the lead character is a ‘shifter’ – if you have been following my readerly adventures into the fantastical realms, you might have spied out the fact I have a particularly keen interest in shapeshifter narratives, even if I happen to be a bit particular about which kinds of shifters I enjoy reading! Laughs. Including how I was truly smitten and attached to Bannon from Jackie Gamber’s #LelandDragons series.

I also like seeking out stories which talk about either foster care and/or adoption – I know there is a trend within YA to use these more as plot devices or a shifting of parental involvement and/or of a way to have teens on their own in the world – however, the stories which anchour between the realties of those situations and the newer dimensions of the character’s journey are the ones that tend to align best for me rather than seeing these strictly used as plot devices or a moment of shifting a character out of one family unit into being a forced to either a) live on their own or b) find a group of people they can call family on their own terms. If those are meant to be organically woven into their life’s story, that’s acceptable to me but I meant, I don’t like it if its merely the route to lead into that situation as if that is the only way something like that could evolve in a person’s life. I look forward to seeing how The Awakening handles this segue and what the fuller back-story is about Camryn.

I happen to have a soft spot for stories of the fey and other fantastical creatures – I like the setting being in a forest as I feel that is simply one of the more natural environs you can find these otherworldly beings to be living. One of my dearest curiosities about this series is the overall effect of the world-building and how this world will illuminate itself as we shift further into the series from book to book. This is something I am looking forward to seeing evolve but also, to root out the layers of the world itself. Seeing how the different species stand on their own but also how they interact between each other as well. I find these kinds of complex societies truly fascinating and it will be lovely to see how Lynch built her world.

You might have remembered how much I loved dissolving inside Jennifer Silverwood’s Silver Hollow earlier this year? Her world-building is brilliantly epic and had just the right kind of balance between the fantastical and the realties within an Urban Fantasy environment.

Overall, this sounds like a wicked good listen to me – where a girl comes of age in a time and place which would test the strongest of minds and hearts. I look forward to seeing how Camryn handles the changes in her life – both paranormally inclined and otherwise, whilst seeing whom she finds are her true mates to trust and lean on for support whilst keeping my eyes pinned to the ways in which this exciting new world is to going to ‘introduce’ itself to me! I can’t wait honestly – as now that I am coming out of the throes of a very personally stressful month, I can once again settle into an audiobook where the fantastical can bloom in front of me whilst I am colouring!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Audiobook Review (celebrating Fantasy ahead of #WyrdAndWonder) | “Chameleon: The Awakening” (Book One: The Forest People series) by Maggie Lynch (narrated by Rachel Jacobs)The Awakening
Subtitle: Book One of the Forest People
by Maggie Lynch
Source: Scribd | Audiobook Subscription
Narrator: Rachel Jacobs

A teenage shifter turned captive. A magical land in danger. Is she a monster or a savior?

Sixteen-year-old Camryn Painter struggles with more than the usual teenage identity issues. As a human chameleon, emotions trigger a transformation into the visage of whomever she sees. But when her foster parents die in a crash and she's taken captive by so-called scientists, she’s not sure if she’s human or just a freak of nature.

Desperate to control her abilities and escape, Camryn emerges from her prison and into a dangerous magical forest. Surrounded by dragons, faeries, and other extraordinary creatures hungry for her power, some in the forest claim she's their prophesied savior. Unfortunately for her, that declaration triggers a supernatural civil war.

Can Camryn unite the fractured forest people, or will her powers erase more than her own identity?

Chameleon: The Awakening is the first book in The Forest People YA Paranormal Fantasy series. If you like incredible worlds filled with unique creatures, intriguing twists and turns, and heartfelt coming-of-age stories, then you'll love Maggie Lynch's enthralling adventure.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B0799QCZZ9

Also by this author: The Awakening (Audiobook Spotlight), The Choosing (Audiobook Spotlight)

Also in this series: The Awakening (Audiobook Spotlight), The Choosing (Audiobook Spotlight)


Genres: Fantasy Fiction, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Suspense, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Windtree Press

on 29th January, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours and 54 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Windtree Press

The Forest People series:

Formats Available: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Maggie Lynch

Maggie Lynch

Maggie Lynch is the author of 20+ published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Maggie is also the founder of Windtree Press, an independent publishing cooperative with over 200 titles among 20 authors.

Her love of lifelong-learning has garnered degrees in psychology, counseling, computer science, and education; and led to opportunities to consult in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. Since 2013, Maggie and her musician husband have settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she now enjoys the luxury of writing full-time. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, science fiction and fantasy titles. Her current non-fiction titles are focused on helping career authors succeed in the business side of writing and publishing.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Saturday, 13 April, 2019 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Scribd, Self-Published Author, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance