Category: Speculative Fiction

#Blogmas | A Fantasy Christmas celebration feat. authors of fantastical realms | the Borderlands Saga by Jennifer Silverwood

Posted Wednesday, 12 December, 2018 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might recognise today’s featured fantastical novelist – as she’s appeared on Jorie Loves A Story a few times in the recent past! IF your a new visitor to my blog, you’ll find I hosted an interview with Ms Silverwood during a previous Borderlands Saga blog tour hosted by PRISM whilst this past Autumn, I read her original debut novel release STAY – featured during my newly minted weekend showcases #SaturdaysAreBookish whilst we conversed on topic during a live discussion via @SatBookChat (a monthly chat I host on Twitter). Meanwhile, for the rest of the particulars of how we first crossed paths & why we are bookishly happy for the serendipity of how our lives crossed this year, please refer to the following:

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On my connection to Jennifer Silverwood:

When our paths first crossed, Ms Silverwood and I shared a mutual interest and connection; however, our friendship did not form for awhile afterwards. It was truly after the interview went live and after I noticed I was reading her blog as much as she was reading mine – where I realised we shared a lot of commonalities in our reading lives as well as our writely lives! We decided to stay in touch and it is an honour to find someone who understands the bridge between reader, blogger and writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Silverwood through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I hosted her Silver Hollow blog tour and privately as well. 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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We both have the tendency of seeking out the same stories to be reading – one case in point are the collective works of Tolkien’s Middle Earth – a discussion point which emerged through my #FantasyForChristmas series of blog posts – as we were conversing in the *threads below the posts about our mutual love of Fantasy stories whilst expounding on my notes I supplied per post to explain why each author appealled to me to be a dearly happenstance #nextread!

I have been flying by the seat of my pants this #blogmas with this blog series – life & its tides have been keeping me on my toes, not to mention the fact I had to pull a few showcases due to the fact a few of the stories were not what I was expecting them to be whilst my Tuesday was also marked by a family emergency which I’ll explain during my forthcoming #TheSundayPost – a series I have been wanting to resume on my blog since July! Seems like the best time now, given the circumstances and the fact I’ve been struggling to get back into a groove befit of a girl who loves her readerly life! If you can’t tell – I’m truly thankful we have a new chapter of a New Year inking its way round the corner!

Not having a lot of lead-time to work on these posts & a few of them have been arriving rather later than projected – what was keenly surprising is how Tolkien having been broached earlier in the month between Ms Silverwood & I would take-on new meaning & definition now! Laughs with mirth. Of course, she might have felt I already knew the content of her guest post today (though I hadn’t!) and thereby, no surprise to be had! Interesting, as I’ve been a book blogger I’ve noticed these seemingly random connections & coincidences have the tendency of happening when you least expect them! Such as the better time to be reading a particular novel or the fact, one author you read helps introduce you to another author you hadn’t yet discovered, etc, etc. There are patterns in life and sometimes we are privy to seeing their connective threads – other times, we are blissful unaware of the patterns & get to smile at the random joys which alight in our lives.

For me today, I am thankful she picked this particular topic as it is one close to my own writerly heart as I’ll disclose underneath her words. And, for those of you who happen to fancy Middle Earth, I daresay this is a champion of a day for you! I look forward to seeing your reactions & takeaways in the comments whilst hoping some might reveal what their thoughts are about their own origin of ‘name’.

Sit back with your favourite cuppa & a hearty cosy comforting baked treat – as you get to know this intriguing world Ms Silverwood has cast an enchanting spell over for us to feel comfortable enough to seek out & enter!

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POSTSCRIPT: for those readers trying to click on ANY rifflebooks.com links on my blog, I apologise for the inconvenience of those links not routing to a viable website. I am as flummoxed as you are to where the site went & of the content I’ve lost as a result of its sudden absence. I am hoping it will re-emerge but I’ve moved on without it for now. I’m in the process of deleting ALL Riffle links directly to book synopsises on my blog whilst the Riffle Lists embeds will take a bit longer to re-route into a newly developed list via my LibraryThing. I appreciate your patience.

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Why I originally was keen on the writing styling of Ms Silverwood:

When I first discovered Silver Hollow, it was the genre-bending styling of the author which implored me the most to read the story. At the time, Silver Hollow was being re-released and the only version currently available back then in print was the older version. Sadly, despite my efforts to secure that copy by inter-library loan had failed. It still remains a story I want to read one day, however, what was interesting about moving inside Stay was finding the natural nuanced styling of a writer who takes cues straight out of the Mythological past!

As I hinted at during @SatBookChat today, there are moments within reading Stay where I could almost feel the presence of Poseidon and Zeus; except, I wasn’t naming them in my mind. There are enough elements of connection within the story itself to draw you closer towards naming them outright but it was the illusion of connection to these two which I appreciated even more because it deepened the suspense and the mythological proportions! If it could be them, what if it wasn’t? What if there are others out there who can behave and manipulate the elements just as cheekily and get away with it?

This bridge between the fantastical and the mythological is what made me keenly curious about Silverwood’s writing style. I wanted to see how she used the bridge itself, as generally speaking I do have a penchant for Urban Fantasy nowadays but each writer I read within that branch of literature has their own unique spin on how to make ‘modern’ settings warmly conducive to Fantasy realms.

Finding myself dearly enchanted by how she brokered a story out of the roots of Greek Mythos is only the tip of the iceberg I feel I shall be finding within her collective works! The joy of reading Stay and discussing it was finding out the sequel is arriving in 2019!

-as quoted from my review of STAY

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Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood

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Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas, #FantasyNerd, #DarkFantasy,

#UrbanFantasy and #BorderlandsSaga

Published by: Silverwood Sketches

  Borrow from a Library (original edition*)

**Previously published in 2012.
This NEW EDITION has been FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED.
The original novel is now no longer available (except at public libraries).**

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The Borderlands series:

Silver Hollow (book one) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 31st May, 2018 | ISBN: 978-1718974586

Amie Wentworth trusts books more than people. After her parents’ deaths ten years before, she writes fiction to escape reality. A timely invitation from her long-lost uncle arrives, but she’s used to ignoring the mysterious surrounding her life.

Until she is stabbed in an alley and brought back to life by a handsome stranger. Soon Amie is dragged into the very sort of tale she is used to selling. To make matters worse, the man who saved her life keeps turning up and her would-be-murderer is still at large.

After crossing the Atlantic to her father’s homeland, she discovers a world beyond imagining. Silver Hollow is a place of ancient traditions and supernatural dangers, where everything is the opposite of what it seems and few escape sane. Faced with an impossible choice, Amie is forced to confront a deadly family legacy while remembering a life she soon wishes to forget.

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Posted Wednesday, 12 December, 2018 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Steampunk

#Blogmas | A Fantasy Christmas celebration feat. authors of fantastical realms | the Crown of Temontane series by Melissa McShane

Posted Monday, 10 December, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I might have confessed this already, however, I’ve been battling through a virus the past several days which caught itself in my family (’tis the season, ho, ho, ho) – however, I can’t remember if I mentioned it during #FantasyForChristmas yet or not. I know I referenced being a Tolkien girl moreso than a Lewis (CS) girl – however, the truth of it is I still need to *read!* Middle Earth properly rather than geeking out over the films, which at the time, arrived when I was seeking a highly dramatic *saga!* of Fantasy to become lost inside – as it was the perfect anchour to watching the Potter films which I will contend forever gave me a second childhood in my twenties! It is rare though to find the kind of world-building you are seeking writ in a fashion you feel you can become attached to inside a narrative built out of the sagas which make reading so dearly wondrously enchanting!

When I read the premise of this fourth release – the conclusion of the series – (ironically enough!) is what gave me the hope I’ve found a brilliant saga of Fantasy to soak inside throughout the New Year! I’ve been wanting to jump start my fantastical readings since we co-hosted our first #WyrdAndWonder (@WyrdAndWonder) event last May, however, as my health issues continued to plague me this past year, I had to abandon a lot of what I wanted to read and just enjoy what I could read instead. It was through the #ThanksgivingReadathon where I settled into reading stories via #Mythothon this past November which started to re-inspire me into seeking out cunningly original feats of Fantasy which take-on different portals of interest and encourage deeper thoughts of how stories can be crafted and inspired by not just the topics/themes known for Fantasy but from outside sources as well.

Originally, when the #FantasyForChristmas blog series was announced, I thought I had to come up with topics for guest features and/or questions for interviews – before I realised how they were assembled for the bloggers. Today it is pleasure of joy to feature a guest post where Ms McShane has broken down the key reasons why this series feels larger somehow than the space it is given in the four installments she’s provided for us to find. I *love!* stories which paint themselves alive in such a manner of expansion, that it feels to us as we’re reading them, we’ve somehow enlarged our ‘real world’ with the fictionally fantastic!

Do spend time on my blog after you’ve read this post in case you’ve spied another #blogmas Fantasy spotlighted novel or series; I’ve found several I know I am wicked eager to be reading in New Year! Perhaps, you’ll find a few yourself? I’ll be finalising a wrap-up post for this blog series after the #FantasyForChristmas stops conclude – re-visiting what drew me into the stories and how I’ll be fetching copies of the books themselves! Til then, enjoy the posts and have a wonderfully lovely pre-Christmas #blogmas! Remember – I’ll be continuing to feature more #blogmas posts leading up til Christmas as well as my #cloakanddaggerchristmas series focusing on stories of Mystery & Suspense!

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Voyager of the Crown by Melissa McShane

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Published by: Night Harbor Publishing

Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas, #FantasyNerd and #CrownOfTemontane

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The Crown of Temontane series:

Voyager of the Crown (book four) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 7th September, 2018 | ISBN: 978-1949663020

Zara North, Queen of Tremontane, has the ability to unconsciously heal herself—a magic that also keeps her from aging. Faced with the reality that public knowledge of her magic could destroy her family’s dynasty and cost them the Crown, she faked her own death and set out to make a new life for herself, far from the capital and the family she loved. Never settling anywhere for long, Zara became an exile in her own country.

Now, sixty years after her “death,” Zara’s ageless face forces her to leave her home yet again. Wanting something different from the quiet life she led for decades, she sets sail for the distant continent of Dineh-Karit, reclusive and alien. When unexpected catastrophe strikes, it strands Zara and a handful of her fellow voyagers in the jungles of Dineh-Karit. Far from civilization, their only guide a reluctant Tremontanan expatriate who has his own reasons for being there, the castaways struggle for survival and to return home.

But Zara, entrusted with a secret by a dying man, finds herself caught between the woman she has become and the Queen she used to be. As an implacable enemy bent on retrieving the secret—a mysterious magical object—draws ever closer, Zara realizes her companions’ survival depends on Zara’s ability to lead them as she once did a nation. With an identity and a magical secret she still cannot reveal, Zara discovers depths in herself she thought were long gone—and gains a future she never expected.

Book Four in The Crown of Tremontane series about extraordinary women facing extraordinary challenges, Voyager of the Crown can be read as a standalone novel or as part of the series.

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Servant of the Crown by Melissa McShaneRider of the Crown by Melissa McShaneAgent of the Crown by Melissa McShane

Servant of the Crown (book one) | Add to LibraryThing

Rider of the Crown (book two) | Add to LibraryThing

Agent of the Crown (book three) | Add to LibraryThing

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Posted Monday, 10 December, 2018 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Steampunk

#Blogmas | A Fantasy Christmas celebration feat. authors of fantastical realms | the Song of Seare series by C.E. Laureano

Posted Saturday, 8 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

In keeping with the tradition of my #blogmas featured spotlights on Fantasy novels I wish to be reading – it would appear I have a new corner of INSPY to sink inside throughout the New Year as today’s featured series is also under the Inspirational umbrella of Fantasy! I’ll be moving outside of Fantasy showcases for #blogmas once #FantasyForChristmas concludes, as I have a few guest features and other spotlights planned – however, for now, I am enjoying my journey into an unknown corner of literature wherein the worlds of the fantastical take-on a new dimension of interest for me and others who are seeking out cleaner reads with dramatic depths of world-building & story-telling.

This particular series interested me as I was curious about swords & songs previously – there are other works in Fantasy I’ve stumbled across which talk about this particular gift of the sword – where the swords sing or they have a song attached to them – each writer enters the discussion of the sword differently and thereby, even if they explore a similar theme, the stories themselves remain wholly unique unto themselves!

As this is another new publisher I haven’t come across previously, I decided to see if they had other selections in Fantasy but only found this series listed. I’m not sure if they were testing to see if they wanted to publish more stories of this nature or if it was a one-off; they seem to focus more on their Non-Fiction releases. Of the three cover art designs, my favourites are the first and third; there is something about the second which seemed off a bit to me – I think the effect fell flat for my liking as it seemed to be more sword & sorcery than fantasy; as it seemed like a battle scene rather than a sword which was reverberating sound. It is a story about war – so that did feel rather apt, but the other covers were focusing more on the thread of interest which connects the series together, so I was surprised this one cover seemed to step out of the synchronicity of the other two.

I, apparently, have a particular eye for finding sagas – as this one feels like a heady one to read – where it will become as expansive as Tolkien’s Middle Earth in some places, and as dramatic as any High Fantasy series I’ve come across previously. It will be interesting to see how it plays out and how the details go into the edgier bits of the series.

If you love reading Fantasy stories of this kind, what are some authors you can point me towards which will also involve swords & magical gifts which are a hefty part of the story-line?

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Oath of the Brotherhood by C.E. Laureano

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Published by: THINK

an imprint of NavPress (@NavPress)

Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas, #FantasyNerd and #SongOfSeare

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The Song of Seare series:

Oath of the Brotherhood (book one) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 1st May, 2014 | ISBN: 978-1612915876

In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man’s worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king.

When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king’s sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine’s ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic. Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth.

Only by committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he’s meant to play in Seare’s future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything―even the woman he loves―to follow the path his God has laid before him?

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The Sword and the Song by C.E. LaureanoBeneath the Forsaken city by C.E. Laureano

The Sword and the Song (book two) | Add to LibraryThing

Beneath the Forsaken City (book three) | Add to LibraryThing

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Posted Saturday, 8 December, 2018 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Steampunk

#Blogmas | A Fantasy Christmas celebration feat. authors of fantastical realms | The Firebrand Chronicles by J.M. Hackman

Posted Thursday, 6 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I appear to be on quite the roll this December for sourcing #newtomeauthors in the Christian Fantasy realms as well as finding a touring company for these tiles inasmuch as new publishers! It is lovely as I love seeking out stories which are gently told but have the scope and depth of what I am regularly seeking in #SpecLit! As the New Year starts to arrive, I want to have a better balance in my reading life – not just between the Historicals & Contemporaries I’m reading but also, to re-establish the Speculative Fiction side of my readerly life alongside my INSPY reads – as those two seem to get sidelined as quickly as my Classical Lit selections as I get charmed by so many dearly lovely stories every year! If I can sort out a way to re-balance what I am reading and thereby, read more across the realms I’m keen on *devouring!* I think 2019 shall be a rather splendid year to walk into my 6th Year as a book blogger!!

As you might have read previously on one of my showcases, I am being a bit particular about which of the authors & their stories I am featuring on #JLASblog during #FantasyForChristmas as I wanted to hand-pick the stories I most wanted to be reading rather than showcasing all the stories and perhaps, having a few of them simply not my cuppa of interest! I have had this intention of policy of what I showcase since I started blogging – I might not get to all the stories *immediately!* when I desire to read them but I do earnestly intend to seek them out as soon as I can thereafter! (hence why #BeatTheBackList is seriously going to be one of my favourite readathons this New Year’s!)

The novel I am highlighting today is a YA Fantasy series – happily able to give you a preview with an extract from the novel itself as well as continuing to provide the links for the publisher & author in case you want to do some research into both at your leisure. I am always intrigued by the cover art choices on #SpecLit stories – this one eludes to a hidden portal / dimension and who doesn’t love her swash of red in her dark hair?

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Spark by J.M. Hackman

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Published by: Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, LLC (@L2L2Publishing)

Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas, #FantasyNerd and #FirebrandChronicles

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The Firebrand Chronicles:

Spark (book one) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 16th May, 2017 | ISBN: 978-1943788149

→ FLARE the sequel is forthcoming early 2019!

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands.

Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil.

Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time?

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Posted Thursday, 6 December, 2018 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Steampunk