Genre: Ancient Civilisation

Book Spotlight | “The Jinni’s Last Wish” by Zeonbia Neil

Posted Thursday, 29 November, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The Jinni’s Last Wish” direct from the author Zenobia Neil in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was interested in reading this novel:

Ever since I read The Golem and the Jinni, I’ve been interested in reading about the Jinn. I’ve been trying to seek out new stories involving the Jinn and also, eras specific to when the mythology of the Jinn are explored – either of themselves or interacting with others in a larger scope of world-building where they not just interact but they are only one dimension of the story at hand. This particular story, I thought might transfer me backwards in time to where the Jinn were very well known, if not feared by some for the powers they held within them to affect a person’s life or destiny whilst being within the period of the historic past, I thought would offer keen insight into cultural traditions I haven’t yet explored in more detail.

I honestly thought this was going to be more of a historical overlay involving the cultural texture of society during the Ottoman Empire with threads of the Jinn and the maids of the sultan intersecting through the narrative, where the empathsis was more on the fantastical elements of how the Jinn might mitigate events or situations to inter-step through the characters’ lives whilst giving us a strong impression of how the society of the Empire was formed, structured and organised during the time of the sultan’s rule. As with most historical specific narratives, I was interested in the history being brought to life and stepping into a new era I hadn’t visited as regularly as others.

A bit similar to how I found Stephanie Thornton’s Daughter of the Gods – where I literally felt like I had left modern life and re-entered the Egyptian past. Sadly, this wasn’t quite the story I found inside and I wasn’t able to re-adjust into the narrative I found as it was too starkly outside the stories I regularly read.

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Book Spotlight | “The Jinni’s Last Wish” by Zeonbia NeilThe Jinni's Last Wish
by Zenobia Neil
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

As a eunuch in the Ottoman Imperial Harem, Olin has already lost his home, his freedom, and his manhood. His only wish is for a painless death, until he meets Dark Star, a beautiful odalisque who promises to give him his deepest desire. He refuses to believe her claim to possess a jinni in a bottle. But when Dark Star is accused of witchcraft, Olin rubs the bottle in desperation and discovers she’s told the truth.

Olin becomes the jinni’s master to save Dark Star, but it’s not enough. In the complex world of the Topkapi Palace, where silk pillows conceal knives, sherbets contain poison, and jewels buy loyalty, no one is safe. With each wish, Olin must choose between becoming like the masters he detests or risk his life, his body, and his sanity to break the bonds that tie them all.

Places to find the book:

ASIN: B07FLDRY4V

Also by this author:

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy


Published by Self Published Author

on 13th September, 2018

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 224

The Jinni’s Last Wish

The Odalisque’s Wish (companion short story)

five-flames

I’ve been placing flames on those stories which are more sensually charged narratives – this one however, I felt left the ‘romantic’ side of Historical Romance & Historical Fantasy and went straight into Historical Erotica due to the elevated nature of the sensuality being explored in the story-line. It was more than a bit of surprise as mentioned on my review and unfortunately, was the key reason I was drawn out of the story itself as there wasn’t a lot left to remain invested in the plot.

Converse via: #HistoricalFantasy & Historical Erotica

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Zenobia Neil

Zenobia Neil

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. Zenobia spends her free time imagining interesting people and putting them in terrible situations.

She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in an overpriced hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 29 November, 2018 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Sexually Explicit Content (Erotica), Women of Power & Rule

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fortune Teller” by Gwedolyn Womack Sophomore release by the author of “The Memory Painter”

Posted Tuesday, 6 June, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: Originally, as a hostess of HFVBTs (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) I was able to participate on the blog tour for Ms Womack’s debut novel: The Memory Painter. (see also Review) I was contacted by the author to gauge if I had interest in her sophomore release ‘The Fortune Teller’ of which I researched on her site and found the premise to be quite intriguing. I readily accepted her offer to read this for an honest review and she had her publisher send me a paperback copy of which I was grateful. I received a complimentary copy of “The Fortune Teller” direct from the publisher Picador in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoyed reading this author’s previous release: The Memory Painter

Womack uses creative juxtapositions throughout her novel – where we’re with Bryan and Linz one moment, whilst being treated to a sequence of knowledge not yet introduced to the main thread of the story-line. This is where she shifts both perspective and the trisectional splitting between the main context of how Bryan & Linz are inter-connected to each other, the critical research on Alzheimer’s and the mystery History has attempted to shroud out of memory and sight from humanity. She presents her characters with a depth of being who are grounded as much as they are dimensional. You can sense their emotions, even at a first glance to how they hold themselves and how they allow themselves to interact with others. There is quite a lot bubbling just below the surface – not only of the narrative direction but through the stitchings of how her characters are moulded together.

Womack writes with a subtle accuracy of giving you just enough information per each scene or character visit to allow you to tie everything together in the larger scope of things. It’s an interesting told narrative, from the point-of-view of shifting perceptions and how you are augmented through different portals of how the story-line is moving forward. The main focus is centred on Bryan and Linz, but you have other influences moving the timeline as well as how each cross-section pertains to the two protagonists who hold the key to the whole story! You can simply let your mind alight through Womack’s graceful narrative and let yourself wander as you wonder how the author knitted the story out of the ethers!

I give a nod of excellence to Womack for compellingly giving her readers a visceral level of realism towards understanding how Bryan painted his portraits of life and death! She used words as he uses paint – you could not help but feel as if you were standing below his portraits, seeing how everything felt alive and telling in that stance you took to see what shouldn’t be able to be seen. It’s a lovely novel of depth for the world of art, as similar to music, art is at times hard to conceptionalise on the page; Womack had such an organic way of presenting the art, you could not help but appreciate it in full!

How Womack was able to intervene on History to such a level of intriguing juxtapositions, I am uncertain! As she even brought back to life the compelling argument of how sometimes not everything is fully resolved before or after death! She interwove Egyptology in such a fascinating and inventive way as to cross their Ancient History with our current timeline! It was wonderful to watch her pull her layers together, explore the details further and to watch how even her characters were a bit startled by how everything was inter-connecting straight through to the finish! Her mind truly has captured the intricacies of a plot that is told not only through multiple perspectives but through a threading of counter current lives who are affectingly drawn to each other due to how their past lives originally affected their soul’s journey. Now that’s beyond impressive for a debut novel!

-as quoted from my review of The Memory Painter

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#PubDay Book Review | “The Fortune Teller” by Gwedolyn Womack Sophomore release by the author of “The Memory Painter”The Fortune Teller
by Gwendolyn Womack
Source: Direct from Publisher

Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, specializing in deciphering ancient texts. And when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele's life. But what happened to the cards? As the mystery of her connection to the manuscript deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Brossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Brossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781250099778

Also by this author: The Memory Painter, The Time Collector (Spotlight)

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Picador

on 6th of June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 368

Published By: Picador (@PicadorUSA) via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel.

Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 6 June, 2017 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Content Note, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Modern Day, Pharaohs & Dynasties, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Seers, Supernatural Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Roma Amor” by Sherry Christie

Posted Friday, 11 November, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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why I am posting a spotlight

of roma amor in lieu of a review:

It isn’t often I feel out of my depth for a period of History – yet despite my first forays into reading about the Ancient World, this particular piece I think, warrants more readings ahead of it’s consumption than I alone have read previously. I felt a bit lost to understand where we were in the timeline of the story – I understood the premise of the plot, but when I went to ‘walk inside’ the novel itself, I felt I was missing information – key information to pick up the thread of narrative and re-assert myself into this illuminated world Ms Christie has presented to us to become engaged in.

Therefore, in lieu of a review at this point in time, I am posting a spotlight to help ‘announce’ it’s arrival in the world of literature surrounding Ancient Rome. I love the inclusions in this novel – the maps, hierarchy of ancestral data and the appendixes which give out even more information including the typed cast of characters which helps align ‘who is whom’ inside the story itself. I presume this cast is included in other editions, as I found it most helpful to have handy to better understand how everyone is connected.

I’d like to take some time to do a bit of further reading – as a method of aligning myself into this time, era and setting; to where I can best re-alight back into the novel, picking up the momentum of what Ms Christie has presented and better understand ‘where I am in history’ as for some particular reason I just felt a bit lost! I am new to reading stories of the Ancient World, as I have only a handful I’ve picked up to read – my curiosity of course is what propelled me forward to seek them, but this is one instance where I think previous readings would aide the reader! As not even my readings of Julius Caesar the play by Shakespeare is helping me find traction!

Whilst I will be gathering a few resources to read about Ancient Rome through my local library, I also found an incredible resource to help me find a passageway back into this world via the History Channel’s Ancient Rome Page. If anyone has further reading suggestions, I’d love to hear from you, as I would like to re-tackle this before the end of the year.

One beautiful compliment I can give to Ms Christie is that she’s written an incredible volume of a saga on Ancient Rome and captured a plot that I know I will one day enjoy reading once I find a way to alight within this timescape properly. I’ve struggled a bit with the Trojan Wars recently and prior to that I couldn’t quite get excited about another story-line of the Ancient World but did dig heartily inside Daughter of the Gods, which gives me hope this new novel will one day be a wicked good read of mine, too!

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Blog Book Tour | “Roma Amor” by Sherry ChristieRoma Amor
Subtitle: A novel of Caligula's Rome
by Sherry Christie
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Marcus Carinna hears a voice whisper, “Your turn,” as he rides past his family tomb. An unseen presence also startles the Germanic priestess Aurima, whom he is bringing to Rome. But hardheaded Romans scoff at ghosts, and Marcus can’t believe it’s a warning from his brother, who killed himself three years earlier.

37 AD: To great acclaim, 25-year-old Caligula Caesar has become Rome’s new master. No one is more pleased than Senator Titus Carinna, who helped him succeed to the throne. It’s a shame the Senator’s older son–Caligula’s closest friend–committed suicide after being charged with treason. But that still leaves Marcus, his second son.

Headstrong and hot-tempered, Marcus would rather prove his courage by leading legions against Rome’s enemies than take his brother’s place. Yet when his father orders him to befriend Caligula, he has no choice.

Caught in a web of deceit, conspiracy, and betrayal, he will uncover a secret that threatens his family, the woman he desires, even his life… and may bring chaos to the young Roman Empire.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9780692596326

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Historical Fiction


Published by Bexley House Books

on 15th April, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Published By: Bexley House Books
Available Formats: Paperback

Converse via: #HistFic, #AncientRome

About Sherry Christie

Sherry Christie

After earning a Phi Beta Kappa creative award in college for an early draft about a nobly born charioteer, Sherry Christie spent many years of research and revision developing ROMA AMOR into the story about fathers and sons that it wanted to be. It’s a joy to immerse myself in the lives of first-century Romans–and a distinct change from my day job. In addition to writing, Sherry is a professional copywriter. She lives on the coast of Maine with a native-born Viking and two cats.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 11 November, 2016 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer