I have decided to start participating in this book blogsphere meme with a few small changes of how it’s regularly blogged about by my fellow book bloggers. I will either be introducing my current reads of upcoming releases as I am in the process of reading them and/or I might be releasing a book review about a forthcoming title by which I had been blessed to read ahead of publication. The main purpose behind the meme is to encourage readers and your fellow book bloggers to become aware of new books being released which caught your eye and which held your interest to read. Sometimes if your still in the process of reading the books, its the titles which encouraged your bookish heart. I look forward to spending the next seasons of the year, talking about the books I have on hand to read, the books I’ve been reading and the books I might not even have a copy to read but which are of wicked sweet interest to become a #nextread of mine.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I haven’t put together a wicked lovely #WaitingOnWednesday in quite a long while – as the Sweetmakers last year were meant to be the last one I was to share with you all! Apparently, betwixt time, tides and life – that particular novel was swept away from my attention and it is earmarked to be read and reviewed this year – especially in conjunction with a chase-up to our 6th #WyrdAndWonder this coming May! However, between then and now, I’d love to start regenerating a focus on upcoming releases and/or new to be voices in Fiction I’m just discovering once again through this lovely book blogosphere weekly event.
When I saw a quick announcement about this particular release, I thought it sounded wicked brilliant because I was that kind of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ fan who quite literally saw the first film 4x times the year of release (once per month) until All Saint’s Day. It was a method of shifting through my grief and sorrow – as I had lost my beloved (maternal) grandmother that July and through the adventures of Jack Sparrow and his friends and foes – I somehow found a way to smile, laugh and cheer on the hilarity of their exploits and explorations.
Ergo, just listen to how this series is fondly spoken about to know why it perked an interest in me as a Historical Fiction reader:
If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.
Are you a fan of sweeping romantic adventures? Do you fall for tall, brooding Naval Officers? Love a feisty female lead who makes you yell aloud?
Then hop aboard Emma Lombard’s hardback Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series, and batten down the hatches!
I personally LOVE reading series in order but a small secreted joy of mine is reading an omnibus edition of a series as you have EVERYTHING you need all in one volume of entrance! I don’t oft get to purchase omis of series but on the occasion I do, they’ve become beloved sets of bookish joy because I can quite literally shift through a whole series start to finish and not worry about chasing after another installment after having finished the one prior to a new release.
And, as you know from a previous showcasing (see also Post) – I love to show a signal of support to writers & authors alike who are using platforms like Kickstarter to help promote and publish their stories.
Acquired Audiobook By:I started to listen to audiobooks in  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 you’re reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I 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 Audiobookworm Promotions (which is now Audiobook Empire*), I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive and/or CloudLibrary for their digital audiobook catalogues. Aside from my libraries, I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It has been a wonderful journey and one I enjoy sharing – as I am now fully expanding how many audiobooks I listen to per year whilst enjoying being a part of the LibroFM ALC programme and an audiobook reviewer for NetGalley as well.
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Search for the Holy Grail” via Audiobook Empire who is working with the author on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
NOTE: (*) The Audiobook Empire is run and owned by Jess @ Audiobookworm Promotions; as a reviewer and book blogger with her promotions company for audiobooks, audio publishers, narrators and authors – it felt like a natural transition to find titles I would be interested in reviewing via Audiobook Empire. Some of those reviews will run during audio blog tours and some will run outside of them. In 2022, she decided to merge the promotional side of Audiobookworm Promotions into Audiobook Empire rather than maintain the two separately.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I am starting to dive back into reading per my latest #WWWWednesday wherein I discussed my unexpected sabbatical from reading, blogging and engaging whilst mentioning that it is through audiobooks and Cosy Mysteries, I am starting to make my journey back into stories and the joys they have always given me as a reader. For today’s post, I am taking part on an audiobook blog tour – one of my first in a long absence from hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions which is now known directly as Audiobook Empire. Jess made the transition this year to merge her promotional side of her business into her audiobook producing company which I felt was a fantastic move on her part as everything is inclusive and together now.
It is a credit to Jess @ the Audiobookworm who first tipped my hat into considering to listen to audiobooks and to this day is one of the key reasons why I fell in love with audiobooks as much as I have throughout the past six years. By participating on her blog tours, I’ve developed a good sense of narration styles that I prefer and have found many beloved narrators who unexpected walked into my life through their audiobooks which arrived in my ears! It has been such a clever journey – to re-discover the artfulness of a story through an audio presentation.
Thereby this marks my first listen as a returning audiobook listener and my first blog tour as a returning blog tour hostess. If you haven’t yet heard of the Audiobook Empire, I encourage you to check out their website and also, if you’re a book blogger who is just getting familiar with audiobooks, I encourage you to consider hosting for the Empire, too. If you’re already a huge fan of audiobooks, the Empire is where you want to become a part of as a listener.
Every pirate in the Caribbean is searching for The Holy Grail - a ship carrying the treasury of Hanover and the countess Aurora of Calenberg, suspected of orchestrating the theft. Prinz Maximilian will stop at nothing to catch her and regain the fortune, even if it means following her into the deepest, darkest recesses of Samaná Bay. With pirates and cutthroats at every turn, will she be reunited with her handmaiden, Helena and her portrait painter, Dodo? Aurora’s only solace is in a bottle of Cognac with a chaser of coca-leaf powder in this vibrant, fast-paced chase through the Caribbean.
Acquired Book By: I never had the chance to read the first novel by Edale Lane – which I knew was a re-telling of Robin Hood with an f/f romance which is a continuous thread in all her novels. I had it in mind to read this story at different intervals over the time I’ve spent reading her initial trilogy of the Night Flyer series. When I went to sort out which books, I wanted to purchase to read during #WyrdAndWonder – “Heart of Sherwood” was at the top of the list. If you’ve visited our #bookstagram feeds recently, you now that I included all the books I’ve purchased by this author when I was celebrating ‘Best Laid Plans’ which was the first prompt of our Wyrd And Wonder Challenge. I’ll be expounding on this during my next #TopFiveSaturday post which runs this Saturday, the 7th of May.
I decided to concentrate on Fantasy Romances on Tuesdays throughout May whilst ‘taking over’ my #RomanceTuesdays featured selection of stories which are generally limited to Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired (either Contemporary or Suspense) as I wanted a dedicated day to celebrating those authors, stories and series. Wherein generally speaking other Romances & Women’s Fiction stories are read and shared on Saturdays during my #SaturdaysAreBookish featured showcases. This year, as I’m participating in “The Summer Tree” RAL (readalong) whilst posting my ruminative thoughts on Saturdays and hosting @SatBookChat all four Saturdays during #WyrdAndWonder – I decided I ought to takeover my own feature on Tuesdays instead of running these on Saturday.
I was not obligated to post a review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel 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.
Note: I received the Press Materials from the author Edale Lane – of whom I have previously hosted during blog tours and have had her as a guest author several times on my blog. She is one of my @SatBookChat #WyrdAndWonder guest authors this year – on the 28th of May.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
As fate would have it – I began my readings of Edale Lane with her Night Flyer series although I was fully aware of this novel “Heart of Sherwood” being it was her first release. It remained a curiosity to me over the past few years since I first read “Merchants of Milan” (see also Review) which of course I followed up with a hearty interview (see also Vlog Interview) as well as a guest post! The two stories I read next of course were the sequel (see also Review) and third installment (see also Review) of the series – as previously I thought it was only going to be a trilogy. I even followed all of this up with a phone interview wherein we discussed the series further.
It has only been two years since I started my journey into her worlds – wherein I also had the pleasure of meeting her in person at one point. We’ve remained in touch as I wanted to keep tabs on her new releases as well as stay in the know about the Night Flyer series. Fast forward to now – for Wyrd And Wonder’s Year 5 I decided to go BIG whilst endeavouring to read the rest of her canon of stories: “Missing In Milan” (Book 4), “Shadows Over Milan” (Book 5), “Viking Quest”, “Walks with Spirits” (her latest release!) and “Daring Duplicity” which is a Historical Victorian Suspense which I will be featuring during #CrimeFicFridays in June ahead of the sequel “Perilious Passages” releasing that same month.
And, yet — as an appreciator of Gender Bent stories – as noted through some of my readerly choices over the last nine years I’ve been blogging my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story, I never had the chance to delve into her spin on Robin Hood. Wherein she switched genders and turnt ‘Robin’ into ‘Robyn’ a feminine heroine of the people rather than the tale of old in which we are all quite familiar as it has become modern lore due to how oft its origins and story have been explored through literature, television and film.
As a Romance reader, I’ve appreciated her gently told romances with an uplifting centre of focus within their relationships – whilst it is her historical lens of representing History through different portals of entrance which has fascinated me with each story I’ve read of hers. Her romances are f/f romances which is why I was not surprised she had plans to see if romance might percolate between Robyn and Marian in this variant of the story.
Her novels were what inspired me of turning my #RomanceTuesdays into a curated showcasing of Fantasy Romance. Be sure to return on Tuesdays to see which #FantasyRomance I am exploring next and which author or story you might become tempted to read yourself in the process of reading over my ruminations. Whilst you have to admit – during the year we’re celebrating #ForestFantasy is there a better forest to explore than Sherwood!?
What if there had been a real Robin Hood, but instead of being a "he" the heroic outlaw was a "she"?
When Robyn's father and brother are killed in the Third Crusade, she is banished from her manor home and branded a traitor by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Disguised as a boy, she joins Little John and the rest of the gang in Sherwood Forest and soon finds herself their leader.
Queen Eleanor suspects Prince John is up to no good, and colluding with Sir Guy and the Sheriff of Nottingham. To learn more, she engages Maid Marian as a spy, reuniting Marian with her childhood friend, Robyn. Together, the women defy the evil sheriff, help the queen free King Richard, and perhaps fall in love along the way.
Winner of Rainbow Awards Best Historical Lesbian Romance, 2018-2019
Relive the classic tale told from a new perspective in Heart of Sherwood!
Converse via: #FairytaleRomance, #FantasyRomance & #WyrdAndWonder
#RobinHood Retelling and Gender Bent Fairytale
About Ms 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.
Gifted Book By: This novel “The Princess and the Pirate” was part of a gifted #bookhaul of mine from my Mum and Dad for #WyrdAndWonder, Year 4! They happily surprised me with a lovely bundle of books I featured last Wyrd And Wonder celebrating the Indie Publisher Odyssey Books! This kicks-off my readings of those novels as I was overjoyed I can read all the lovely stories I had either showcased and/or featured but wasn’t able to read during our Year 3 Wyrd And Wonder.
Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “The Princess and the Pirate” by my parents and I was not obligated to post an honest review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel 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.
Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and had asked if I could re-use them if and when I was able to read and/or review the stories I was featuring during Wyrd And Wonder Year 3 (2020); and thankfully was given permission to do so which is why I am using them during my readings this 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder.
Why I am in love with this series & couldn’t wait to read the next story:
I immediately took an interest in Dance – she was a brave young girl who understood the history of her island but also the growing tension of why her father worried about her safety and the safety of their community here. Even in the opening paragraphs there is a bit of urgency in the tone of how Banks started her story – where Dance can sense the heightened fear in the caller’s voice – the person intending to speak with her father and the voice which was drawing her to catch her breath.
I loved how art was introduced straight-away – a small bit of insight into the heart of her people – of how on this island (Luar) art was as sacred as the trees. And, trees apparently were quite revered because you can sense this yourself as Dance speaks about the art which comes from the raw materials of the trees. Trees for me have held such a high impression on my person since I first started staring after trees along highways and byways; whilst pausing whenever I was close to them in person and happily feeling museful about their lives. Especially the cycle of how other species laid claim to their boughs and branches; how connected they were to our source of life (ie. oxygen) and how throughout the ages of time, trees are resolute, proud and awe-inspiring just to be nearby. I could then imagine – any bit of art carved from a tree has a life spirit of its own etched out of the raw wood and drawing a new energy from the carver’s tools, hands and vision for what the art being created would represent.
Dance lives on an island tucked away from the world – what makes this one dearly unique in my eyes as I haven’t come across a lot of snowbound or ice encased worlds, is the fact this particular island would be right at home in the Arctic Circle! It is beyond cold here – where the frozen ice hides their greatest enemy (ie. Heest monsters) and where if you were brave enough, you wouldn’t consider what their presence unde the ice was foretelling about your own fate and the fate of your community. Banks goes into a bit of detail about how this island was fashioned together – from materials they could repurpose and from purchases they had made long ago giving them a bit of bolster of privacy from prying eyes on the outside. It was their sincere hope to remain hidden which inspired how they lived and how they choose to thrive in one of the coldest locations I’ve had a chance to visit.
I positively LOVE finding illustrative art inside novels – The Monster Apprentice is delightfully inclusive of renderings of the scenes you’re reading about as you walk beside Dance! The very first illustration was featuring the ‘sky cows’ – having spent time on a ranch with breeding stock, I know how stubborn cows can be and how particular they are once they’ve settled on a place they want to roost. Cows are gentle giants and have kind hearts but there are moments where like most animals, they simply want to be left alone and left to their own devices. The imagery provided in this illustration and the depictions of the cows and Dance’s interaction with them in the text was quite a heap of hilarity! It was interesting to see how Dance chooses to interact with her world and how she constantly likes to bend the rules in order to do what she is tasked to accomplish!
Banks does a wonderful job of keeping this first installment beautifully connected on her characters and on the priming of our introduction to their ice and sea world. Things are not quite as you expect them to be here – there are hints of magic, of intrigue and of binding bargains which may in the end be worse than their initial acceptance. Each person here – young or old alike has to find their own individual truth and path; similar to life, everyone is working through their own headspace and has to find the courage to be a bit braver than they feel.
One of my favourite features of this novel are the Heest – mostly because Banks keeps us in the dark for most of the novel about their truer nature and how they operate as a species. There is far more to the Heest than what is presumed and that is the true beauty of their kind for me. I’d love t see how this trilogy continues to develop – especially if we can entreat more into the magical perimeters of the world and the concepts of how those magical extras operate within a place that is a rather harsh physical environment of both ice and sea.
As this first novel is setting up the foundation of the trilogy – we were treated only to a hinting of the magic in this world. The curators of the magic are known as quickensmiths and this was broached at the time when Dance had to face the pirates because of how the ship itself was moving through the water. I found it interesting how the dynamics of the world and of the magic within it were not completely disclosed because this was a very character-centred introduction. You get a few hints towards what is coming in future installments but not overly enough to lose your curiosity because this novel does lend itself to being curious about what will become disclosed!
Felicity Banks invented the fantasy world of Rahana while living in Indonesia. She grew up reading stories set in Narnia and Middle Earth, and she wanted to invent a fantasy world that was just as beautiful but didn’t feel British, or white, or male.
In Rahana the weather is tropical and the people are visually similar to Indonesians. Magic is common, and makes physical strength irrelevant. There are millions of islands both small and large, and sailing technology is more advanced that the other sciences. Rahana is a thriving tropical world where people are born with a love of the high seas.
Converse via: #ThePrincessAndThePirate, #MGLit, #MGFantasy
as well as #pirates and #MiddleGrade; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy
About Felicity Banks
Felicity Banks is a Canberra author specialising in fantasy and interactive fiction, including her Antipodean Queen fantasy steampunk series, which is also published by Odyssey Books. All her interactive fiction is listed under “Felicity Banks” (visit site) and most of her interactive fiction can be read via an app.
She writes about all her various pirates tales (some appropriate for children, some definitely not) on her Facebook page as well as sharing stories and images that appeal to the not-so-secret pirate within all of us.
She met her husband at a pirate ball, and has two little pirates at home.
Acquired Book By: In late Winter (February, 2020) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.
I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “The One Great Gnome” direct from the publisher One Elm Books (an imprint of Red Chair Press) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me that if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.
Why I was intrigued to listen to “The One Great Gnome”:
It all started when I was a young girl fascinated by the tv series (animated) called David the Gnome – which was about David’s wife and their family and their community of gnomes. It was quite an interesting series and I never understood why it didn’t gain more traction on dvd (or perhaps it had and I never knew it?). I’d love to find a collection of it on dvd one day – but until then, I had Gnomeo and Juliet to occupy that space of interest for me! The cheekiness of the plot, the characters themselves and of course, the absurdity of the whole affair is what had me rollicking in laughter since the film started! The fact they made a sequel delighted me to new heights of hilarity!
And, yet, there was a lot of heart in those films, too! I just have always felt a certain fascination about gnomes but I didn’t actively pursue finding more stories or films about them. They just sort of wander into my life every so many years – such as this particular audiobook caught my attention just before Wyrd And Wonder began our 4th Year this May, 2021. And, coincidently enough – right around the same time I found this lovely I also found another which is on an audiobook blog tour!
On the 27th of May – I’ll be talking about another story about gnomes “Magical Neighbours” by Mary Ellen Spencer – be sure to return!
Gnomes are simply interesting characters – they have such distinct personalities – they sometimes remind of me of the seven dwarves in that respect because some are friendly and good-natured whilst others are quite a bit grumpier! You just never know!! I was delighted to see how the author of this story would approach the gnomes and how the story would unfold with having a human girl inclusive of the story as well. So far, I generally read about gnomes where there are no humans engaging with them so this was an unexpected surprise to explore during Wyrd And Wonder!
Notation on Cover Art Design:
There is something cute and whimsical about the cover art for this audiobook. I liked how it showcased Sarah and her innocent curiosity about gnomes which I felt translated well throughout the story. It would be a delight to see this artwork up close and personal – and I would imagine the hardback copy would have more illustrations to go in-step with the storyline, too.
In the spirit of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this story introduces listeners to the magical and mysterious hidden world of gnomes, elves, and trolls....
Eleven-year-old Sarah moves with her family from New York City to rural Hadley, Connecticut. She's eager to explore her new home and meet new friends, but she never expected to befriend an old garden gnome. Join Sarah as she is drawn into a secret world beneath our feet. Sarah uses her instincts to calm old rivalries and help the underworld elves, gnomes, and more live in peace.