Category: Steampunk

Exploring #ForestFantasy this #WyrdAndWonder | “The Namer of Spirits” by Todd Mitchell

Posted Monday, 30 May, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I stumbled across one of my author’s newsletters which was mentioning the works of other writers who were going to be at the same event. Laura Resau is an author I have loved reading for many years now (well over a decade and a half!) and it was her newsletter which mentioned this story “The Namer of Spirits” by Todd Mitchell. I had been keenly hopeful I would discover a Forest Fantasy novel I hadn’t learnt of previously before or during Wyrd And Wonder this year and as I read about the premise behind this novel, I felt it was a wicked good fit for me to read!

I had planned to interview Mr Mitchell during Wyrd And Wonder – either as a fifth chat on Twitter or more traditionally on my blog, however, as my work life became a bit more complicated and my health took a few sidesteps as well as a result, I wasn’t able to firm together those plans. I opted instead to focus on reading the novel and sharing my ruminations during the event whilst I planned to re-connect with the author afterwards to see if perhaps I could still interview him about what I had read and the story he had written.

I was not obligated to post a review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this anthology for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NoteI received the Press Materials from the author Todd Mitchell – who kindly sent them to me at my request after I explained how I was going to read his novel during Wyrd And Wonder. He is my fifth and final #WyrdAndWonder guest authors this year – on the 31st of May – wherein we’ll be chatting on the tag #WyrdAndWonder as the previous four guests were conversing via #SatBookChat which is the tag for @SatBookChat, the chat I developed early-on as a book blogger.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

It wasn’t until I was reading through my authors’ newsletters (which I receive by email) ahead of Wyrd And Wonder this year that I discovered The Namer of Spirits as forementioned. It was @LauraResau who had tipped my hat towards finding this novel and it led me into reading the story during the last weekend of the event whilst hosting a live interview with Mr Mitchell on our final day of Wyrd And Wonder which is the 31st of May.

Todd Mitchell Twitter Chat banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I was especially grateful to Ms Resau for including the news about an event they were both attending as otherwise I might not have discovered this story this year at all. And, that would have been a keen disappointment as from the first moment I started to read the story, I could tell it carried with it a lot of the themes we were hoping to uncover throughout Wyrd And Wonder this year. Especially about the spirits who live in the forest, forest communities and also, how a society would either live in harmony with the forest or against it; given different approaches in narratives and scopes of stories or series.

I am thankful I have a chance to both read and talk about the story on Jorie Loves A Story but also, speak directly with the author and talk about how he approached writing this narrative as much as what inspired it to be written. I am hopeful others might be drawn inside his creative Forest Fantasy world and take out the joys I had whilst reading it.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Notation about Cover Art and Design: I was immediately drawn into the scene on the book cover but it wasn’t until I was reading the story itself did I fully understand what I was observing! It was one of those rare moments where you realised that the cover artist and the design of the cover was an equal match to the contents of the story! The large beast seen on the cover was an illwen and that is Ash standing in front of them. I won’t reveal what is happening as it is an important scene of the story but wow! The illustration of that scene is wicked fab and I also appreciated the imagery of the dao faro and mistcat on the back cover, too! Of course, the author’s photo also makes more sense once you’ve read the story, too! His photo and the cover art are clues about “The Namer of Spirits”!!

Exploring #ForestFantasy this #WyrdAndWonder | “The Namer of Spirits” by Todd MitchellThe Namer of Spirits
by Todd Mitchell
Source: Purchased | Personal Library

“A dangerous town carved out of unforgiving forest, a young girl who can name spirits and tame monsters, a race against time to save the natural world: The Namer of Spirits is what readers want and the world needs.” –Eliot Schrefer, New York Times bestselling author

In the frontier village of Last Hope, people dismiss twelve-year-old Ash Narro as a flighty child who claims to hear the true names of things. But when enraged forest spirits attack, Ash shows that the names she hears have power. After taming a destructive forest spirit, Ash teams up with Fen, a wild forest boy, and embarks on an unusual journey to save her village. In this steampunk eco-fantasy, the perils of deforestation and the power of friendship are explored through a fantastical adventure involving giant mistcats, tempestuous forest spirits, a supernatural puppy, and a girl with a special gift for shaping what things become.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Eco-Fantasy, Middle Grade Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Steampunk



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-945654-82-4

Published by Owl Hollow Press LLC

on 5th October, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 316

Published By: Owl Hollow Press, LLC (@owlhollowpress)

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Genre(s): Middle Grade | Fantasy | Adventure | Magic
Steampunk | Eco-Fantasy | Eco-Lit | Environmental Fantasy

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

About Todd Mitchell

Todd Mitchell

Todd Mitchell is the author of several award-winning novels for young readers, teens, and adults including The Last Panther (Penguin Random House), The Traitor King (Scholastic), The Secret to Lying (Candlewick), and Backwards (Candlewick).

His two newest books came out in fall 2021 — one for writers, artists, and creators titled Breakthrough: How to Overcome Doubt, Fear, and Resistance to Be Your Ultimate Creative Self, and a Middle Grade novel that's been optioned for film/TV development titled The Namer of Spirits.

In addition to his books, he’s also written for comics, including A Flight of Angels (Vertigo, a YALSA Top 10 Pick for Teens) and Broken Saviors (an alien invasion comic available on ComiXology). Currently, Todd directs the Beginning Creative Writing Teaching Program at Colorado State University. You can visit him (and learn about his squirrel obsession) on his website.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Monday, 30 May, 2022 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Eco-Fantasy, Environmental Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Middle Grade Novel, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Reincarnation, Science Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Transfiguration, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Merchant’s of Milan” (Book One: The Night Flyer Trilogy) by Edale Lane

Posted Monday, 24 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#HistoricalMondays blog 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 “Merchants of 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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Ahead of reading the novel – a note of acknowledgement:

I could definitely relate to the ode of gratitude and serendipity of being raised by a Mum would infused a love of stories, art, music, cultural history and agency into the life of a daughter. My family celebrated art and music instilling within me a wonderment of joy and a deep appreciation for remaining curious and engaged with the pursuit of self-learning the world round me. As a book blogger a lot of the years I lived outside this online space were similar to the ones I share a small window of insight about – drawing closer to topics & subjects which interest me, challenging myself to push through the cosier stories I read regularly to read outside my comfort zones and to remain firmly open to how stories have a way of finding us.

I loved the note Lane shared with us, her readers, because it was one which matches my own appreciation for my family and for my Mum, who as she lamented herself about hers – was my first teacher as well. Mum had a way of teaching me my school teachers never could; mostly as she had a healthy interest herself in the process of learning and in understanding how to each each child in a way that allows what is being taught to capture their interest; rather than letting education fall flat and remain droll. I was also raised in a healthy environment of dissecting topics, subjects and interests – to root round a conversation and re-examine it from different perspectives & angles; openly discussing everything and remaining curious about the things I hadn’t yet had the joy of learning.

In essence, those of us who are taught how to be seekers of knowledge at a young age never fully ‘let go’ of that curious itch to know more – to see further and to explore what captures our imaginations. For that, I could relate most readily. Secondly, I had a healthy appreciation and respect for da Vinci as a teenager who was studying art and art history for the first time. I took those concentrations further than my classmates – they only tipped the scale of his legacy on the superficial surface of his life whereas I wanted to see further and contemplated the Mona Lisa for my mid-term essay project. I apparently surprised my art teacher of whom for reasons I cannot acknowledge wasn’t even sure how to grade the paper as I presented a theory she hadn’t heard of previously.

Which brings me back round to my joy of reading this Author’s Note – sometimes the people who encourage us the most are the people who know us best. They understand how our mind works and how we like to noodle out theories of insight as they are the best at knowing exactly how to challenge us to step away from the status quo and to live with a passion for learning. To question everything and to pursue our own understandings of the routes our curiosity takes us to explore. It was such a wonderful note to read and I was thankful it was included at the start of the novel.

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Merchant’s of Milan” (Book One: The Night Flyer Trilogy) by Edale LaneMerchants of Milan
Subtitle: Book 1 of The Night Flyer Trilogy
by Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Author via Tomorrow Comes Media

Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante.

Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However, Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments threaten both women’s lives.

Merchants of Milan is the first book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like gadgets and gismos, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and fast-paced action with a slow-boil lesbian romance, then you are sure to love this series. Buy this one of a kind novel today and let the adventure begin!

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1654780197

Also by this author: (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: Secrets of Milan, Chaos in Milan


Published by Past & Prologue Press

on 5th January, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 237

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Published by: Past & Prologue Press

Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

This is the first novel of The Night Flyer Trilogy!

Converse on Twitter: #NightFlyerTrilogy, #SapphicFiction

as well as #HistoricalFantasy & #SpeculativeFiction

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

This story received my award for BEST Historical Fantasy
: sub-focus Feminist Histfic with an LGBTQ+ character lead.

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About 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:

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Posted Monday, 24 February, 2020 by jorielov in 16th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Clockmakers & Watchmakers, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Content Note, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Vulgarity in Literature

#Blogmas | feat. #FantasyForChristmas19 showcases | “Tales from Parallel Worlds: A Collection of Faerie Tales and Adventure Stories” (an anthology of Steampunk, Paranormal Adventure and Fantasy stories) By Jes Drew

Posted Wednesday, 4 December, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I recently had a chance to help promote the publication of this lovely anthology – however, as I took ill throughout October – my mind, heart & hours were elsewhere distracted from being socially engaged with the bookish world & community via the blogosphere and #bookishTwitter. I was overjoyed finding this title was included during #FantasyForChristmas19 as there is something magically addictive about *anthologies!* and being able to disappear inside them – to enchant your mind & your bookish heart with a vision of a story which is told in shorter format from novels and with the loveliness of being able to tuck closer to authors you might never have discovered otherwise if they hadn’t been included in an anthology!

I have the tendency of leaning towards reading Speculative Fiction anthologies (across the genres of interest which include: Cosy Horror, High Fantasy & Low Fantasy, Science Fiction (esp Space Opera or other side-niches), Steampunk & other murmurings along the realms of re-told tales from Fairy Tales to Legends & Lore or any variant of Mythological Stories as well – although, I technically also collect anthologies for INSPY stories, too. These just happen to be the genres my readers & followers will recognise as being previously reviewed & featured on Jorie Loves A Story!

The reason this one drew my eye was for two reasons: a) it has the lovely social conscience of donating funds to a charity and b) it appears to have a bountiful collection of stories which gives you something to chew on from a multitude of Speculative angles of interest! I love anthologies which re-carve a path into what is plausible through Speculative worlds which tuck you into situations that you can appreciate as being inspired by our IRL lives but as such are played out in fantastical realms instead of our contemporary modern reality!

Curiously – what kinds of anthologies do you love yourself? And, are you gravitating towards Speculative Fiction anthologies like I am? If so, which are your favourite publishers? So far, I’ve enjoyed 7th Star Press, World Weaver Press & Xchyler Publishing.

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Tales from Parellel Worlds by Jes Drew

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This is a self-published anthology!

Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas19, #FantasyAvengers and #Steampunk

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add to LibraryThing

Published: 26th October, 2019 | ISBN: 978-1694397775

An illustrated collection of faerie tales and adventure stories from two worlds parallel to each other. One is a world filled with fae folk and monsters, and the other is place of clockwork and alchemy.

Both are brimming with magic, mystery, and mortals who must find their places within. Between the pages of these worlds, a boy learns his childhood friend is a dyrad, a lady must sneak away from her own ball to provide the cure to a plague-infected village, a siren has to solve a murder, and more.

Also includes an exclusive short story from the Howling Twenties series, involving the enchanted forest, a wedding day, and a blood moon.

Be swept away in tales of wonder-with all profit going to Polaris so girls and boys can have a chance to live their own faerie tales and adventures in freedom.

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Posted Wednesday, 4 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Steampunk

#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

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Steampunk