Genre: Action & Adventure Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder #MGFantasy Book Review | “The Princess and the Pirate” (Rahana Trilogy: Book Two) by Felicity Banks

Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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.

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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!

-quoted from my review of The Monster Apprentice

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The Princess and the Pirate collage created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

The Princess and the Pirate
by Felicity Banks
Source: Gifted

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, Pirate Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1925652680

Also by this author: The Monster Apprentice

Published by Odyssey Books

on 1st June, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 126

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The Rahana Trilogy:

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.

Naturally, the world is full of pirates.

The Monster Apprentice (book one)

The Princess & the Pirate (book two)

Waking Dead Mountain (book three)

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ThePrincessAndThePirate, #MGLit, #MGFantasy
as well as #pirates and #MiddleGrade; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy

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About Felicity Banks

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.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death of a Sibling, Fantasy Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Twin Siblings

A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “The One Great Gnome” by Jeff Dinardo, narrated by Simone Stevens, courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Monday, 10 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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.

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

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!

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

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.

A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “The One Great Gnome” by Jeff Dinardo, narrated by Simone Stevens, courtesy of #NetGalleyThe One Great Gnome
by Jeff Dinardo
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Simone Stevens

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.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Fantasy Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Middle Grade Fantasy, Juvenile Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on NetGalley

ISBN: 9781947159594

ASIN: B08T5WMWLZ

on 17th January, 2021

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 2 hours and 48 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: One Elm Books

an imprint of Red Chair Press (@redchairpress)

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #MGLit, #MiddleGrade, #MiddleGradeLit or #MGFantasy

as well as #TheOneGreatGnome + #NetGalley and esp #WyrdAndWonder !!

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

✍📖 Follow the author: Site 

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, 10 May, 2021 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Elves & the Elven, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Indie Author, Mythological Societies, Self-Published Author, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction

An #IndieApril #HistFic Book Spotlight | Enjoy this extract from “Sigurd’s Swords” (Book Two, Olaf’s Saga series) by Eric Schumacher

Posted Friday, 30 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

How I started hosting for HFBVTs: 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. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I originally featured this Historical Fiction author when the first novel in the series was released “Forged in Iron” – we had a wonderful conversation about his writing style and process as well as the saga itself. You might have noticed I have had a penchant for seeking out these kinds of stories in the recent past throughout my literary adventures on Jorie Loves A Story.

I sometimes have to take a few breaks from reading these kinds of stories – as their quite hard-hitting and of course, I’m not always keen on reading the extensive battle scenes — but its the drama and the life behind those battles which interests me the most. Especially as generally speaking – a lot of these stories are tucked into hidden areas of the historical past and through these stories the authors’ are telling are little kernels of insight about that past we might not otherwise have known.

I’m hosting an extract for this tour today – as it is an announcement about the sequel to ‘Forged in Iron’ – coming this JUNE. Thankfully there is quite a lot to this extract and it should give you a lot of context to see if this novel and series therein is a good fit for you as a reader. I, myself, look forward to reading this Saga in the future once all the installments are released into print.

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An #IndieApril #HistFic Book Spotlight | Enjoy this extract from “Sigurd’s Swords” (Book Two, Olaf’s Saga series) by Eric SchumacherSigurd's Swords
Subtitle: Olaf's Saga : Book Two
by Eric Schumacher

From best-selling historical fiction novelist, Eric Schumacher, comes the second volume in Olaf’s Saga: the adrenaline-charged story of Olaf Tryggvason and his adventures in the kingdom of the Rus.

AD 968. It has been ten summers since the noble sons of the North, Olaf and Torgil, were driven from their homeland by the treachery of the Norse king, Harald Eriksson. Having then escaped the horrors of slavery in Estland, they now fight among the Rus in the company of Olaf’s uncle, Sigurd.

It will be some of the bloodiest years in Rus history. The Grand Prince, Sviatoslav, is hungry for land, riches, and power, but his unending campaigns are leaving the corpses of thousands in their wakes. From the siege of Konugard to the battlefields of ancient Bulgaria, Olaf and Torgil struggle to stay alive in Sigurd’s Swords, the heart-pounding sequel to Forged by Iron.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Archaeological | Anthropological Historical Perspectives, Norse Mythos | Legacies


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B092TT5W6X

Also by this author: Forged by Iron (Interview)

Series: Olaf's Saga


Published by Bodn Books

on 28th June, 2021

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Olaf’s Saga:

Forged by Iron by Eric SchumacherSigurd's Swords by Eric Schumacher

Forged by Iron (book one) | see also this Interview

Sigurd’s Swords (book tw0) → a Digital First Release!

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About Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher (1968 – ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005.

To date, Schumacher has published three novels, collectively known as Hakon’s Saga, and one novella.

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov + #Vikings
+ #OlafsSaga and #HFVBTBlogTours

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Posted Friday, 30 April, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author

#SciFiMonth Book Review | “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” (Suzy Spitfire series, Book One) by Joe Canzano

Posted Saturday, 28 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SciFiMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: In February, 2020 Kimberley @ Caffeinated PR contacted me about the Suzy Spitfire series whilst asking me if I would enjoy being one of the book bloggers on her PR Team. The request arrived at a point in my life where I was seriously in need of a wicked good story to pull me out of the funk I was experiencing with my health and the afflictions associated with a bad Winter’s cold. The timing for me was perfect and as I read about Suzy Spitfire – the context of the story fit within what I enjoyed about the Urban Fantasy series October Daye by Seanan McGuire.

I joined the book blitz for showcasing the second novel in the Suzy Spitfire series whilst I requested the first novel to read and review in order to understand the author’s style, voice and the continuity of the series. I therefore received a complimentary copy of “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” in exchange for an honest review from the author Joe Canzano. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What truly attracted me to read #SuzySpitfire:

I heart #SciFiMonth | #RRSciFiMonth every November – but the last several years have been a bit of a mixed bag for me. Mostly as my migraines seem to derail *all!* efforts to read the stories I’ve selected for the month (see also this annoucement from 2019 wherein I barely touched the surface of what I disclosed) which is why I’m trying to start reading Sci Fi outside of November this year! (big smirks)

To be perfectly transparent – I was in the mood for an unlikely heroine adventuring in outer space and taking me on an adventure I didn’t realise I *needed!* in my life! lol A bit like how seeing “Star Trek: Enterprise” recently filled a need as well – we’ve just finished the fourth year and are saddened for the loss of episodes – except for 3x, one we skipped (the Detroit one) and two were just too weird for words to describe and had zero bearing on the series as a whole! (“through a glass darkly” – the mirror universe duology) I wanted to read a series COMPLETELY outside my zone of comfort – I wanted to tuck into her story and just have this wicked wild ride of reading a book which would give me a healthy respite from my backlogue, my illnesses and of course, the weight of current events! And, blessedly dear hearts – #SuzySpitfire filled that void for me!

As soon as I happily read the pitch about this series by Kimberly @ Caffeniated PR, I just *knew!* I had to sign on to spotlight #SuzySpitfire! This also marks my first blog tour with her blog touring company and I couldn’t be happier! I look forward to continuing my adventure with Suzy Spitfire this weekend but for now, let’s take a bit of a closer look at what you can expect to find in the sequel “Suzy Spitfire and the Snake Eyes of Venus!” – by the by, is it me or does this series have the most brilliant titles!?

-as previously shared on the spotlight for Suzy Spitfire and the Snake Eyes of Venus

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#SciFiMonth Book Review | “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” (Suzy Spitfire series, Book One) by Joe CanzanoSuzy Spitfire Kills Everybody
by Joe Canzano
Source: Author via Caffeinated PR

When outlaw Suzy Spitfire discovers her father was murdered after creating a super-duper artificial intelligence, she races across the solar system in search of the brain he built—but it’s a rough ride, and she’s soon forced to tangle with pirates, predators, and her father’s killer—as well as a man she thinks she can love.

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody is a smash-bang science fiction adventure filled with action, intrigue, and a dose of dark humor.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0990636564

Also by this author: Suzy Spitfire Kills And the Snake Eyes of Venus (Spotlight)

Also in this series: Suzy Spitfire Kills And the Snake Eyes of Venus (Spotlight)


Published by Happy Joe Control Books

on 2nd July, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 306

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The Suzy Spitfire Series:

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody by Joe CanzanoSuzy Spitfire and the Snake Eyes of Venus by Joe Canzano

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody (book one)

Suzy Spitfire & the Snake Eyes of Venus (book two)

Published by: Happy Joe Control Books

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #SuzySpitfire, #ScienceFiction or #JoeCanzano

About Joe Canzano

Joe Canzano

Joe Canzano is a writer and musician. He lives in New Jersey, U.S.A., in a house with a basement where he usually stays. Occasionally he leaves the basement and visits the kitchen.

He likes to write absurd comic fantasy and fun science fiction.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SciFiMonth 2020
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Posted Saturday, 28 November, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Caffeniated PR, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Vulgarity in Literature