Genre: Dark Fantasy

#EnterTheFantastic with #MyYASummer epic first read | “The Twin Stars” (Book One: The Coseema Saga) by Bridgette D. Portman

Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. I am thankful I can continue to host and feature tours by this touring company from 2020-forward.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Twin Stars” direct from the author Bridgette Dutta Portman in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this story inspired me to read it:

Portal Fantasy is something I stumbled into in recent years – as I hadn’t come through that vortex of the genre previously. I wasn’t the right fit for Narnia (even though I enjoyed the first and third film adaptations) and I definitely was the kid who couldn’t stop watching “The Neverending Story”. What was interesting for me in your synopsis was the parallels to Neverending Story – how Bastian had to read and then live through the story which felt similar in context to your own character’s journey. I love stories which evoke such a strong reaction and connection between the world, the characters and the reader.

This is why this story appealled to me – as well as the self evolution and growth of Olive. I love coming-of age stories personally and I felt this was an interesting cross-section of why I love reading both MG and YA stories.

From the first moment I learnt of this story, I felt a pull of connection and knew I needed to feature it. I wasn’t sure at the time I signed on for the blog tour if I would be interviewing the author, hosting an extract or able to request the story for review consideration – but I felt as strong of a pull to have this story in my life this year as I have with other selections I’ve featured previously during our 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder! There was something uniquely different about this story and I had a sense about this world as being one I would find delishly devouring about how the writer wrote the story and allowed us into her character’s journey.

During #SelfPubFantasyMonth in September, I am curating a ‘final week’ of #WyrdAndWonder posts whilst endeavouring to carry forward further readings of Self Pub Fantasy novelists. Tied into those plans will be a forthcoming interview with Ms Portman as I wasn’t able to pull that together for this blog tour due to chaotically brutal lightning storms & a myriad of tech issues I had to work through just to finish this review.

I love finding writers who are writing coming-of age stories in Speculative Young Adult – the kind of stories you almost wish had been available to read during your own childhood but feel equally as blessed to find as an adult as YA doesn’t have an exit clause for readers! Everyone can appreciate YA at any age which is why I wanted to celebrate #MyYASummer all along.

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#EnterTheFantastic with #MyYASummer epic first read | “The Twin Stars” (Book One: The Coseema Saga) by Bridgette D. PortmanThe Twin Stars
by Bridgette Dutta Portman
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

A magical journal. A world savaged by its own suns. An evil prince. A princess in hiding.
And a teenage girl who learns to be the hero of her own story.

Sixteen-year-old Olive Joshi has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can't stop worrying about hurting the people she loves. She finds refuge in writing about Coseema, a magical princess on a distant planet. Coseema is fearless, confident, and perfect - everything Olive thinks she’ll never be. When she falls through a portal into her own unfinished story, Olive finds herself in a world in peril: double suns scorch the land, the brutal Prince Burnash seeks supreme power, and Coseema is nowhere to be found. Together with her friends - a bold poet, a cursed musician, a renegade soldier, and an adventurous girl from the desert - Olive will have to face her deepest fears to find the hero in herself.

The Twin Stars is an engrossing new portal fantasy in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, the Neverending Story,and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0995920422

Published by Titan1Studios

on 2nd July, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 326

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Ahead of reading my reactions to “The Twin Stars”
ENJOY this short extract of the novel which parlays into the ‘portal’:

She was underwater.

Olive realized it just in time to stop herself from gasping. Panic seared through her body as she thrashed about, kicking downward, tearing at the water uselessly.

There was nothing solid around her.

Murky darkness flooded her eyes; a churning roar filled her ears. Just as her starved lungs neared their limit, her left knee collided with something sharp and firm. She kicked and her foot met rock. She brought her other foot to the same position and pushed off the surface as hard as she could, propelling her body through the water.

The diminishing pain in her ears told her she was traveling upward, moving amidst an effervescence of tiny bubbles. She felt them swirling, fizzing, tickling her flesh, bearing her up toward the light as she begged her tortured lungs to hold out for another few seconds until, at last, she broke the surface.

Air.

At first, she could do nothing but devour it. When the haze of panic dissipated and her senses returned, her next coherent thought was that the plane had crashed. But this was not the icy water of the Arctic Ocean. This water felt like a warm bath. It bubbled like soda, and great plumes of vapor waltzed over its surface, spiraling upward until they melted into a golden haze. It reminded Olive of steam rising from mug. It might have been pleasant had she not nearly drowned in it.

The strange pool had a vague familiarity to it, but her head felt too muddled to sort it out.

Where was she? Where was the plane?

It crossed Olive’s mind that she was dead, and the thought sent a chill through her, but her sore knee and aching lungs reassured her. People weren’t supposed to feel pain after death, and they definitely shouldn’t need to breathe.

She treaded water, scanning her surroundings. She thought she saw movement through the curls of steam and paddled toward it, her knee smarting with each kick. Gradually the silhouette of something—no, someone—took shape as she moved through the plumes. At last, her feet touched the jagged, pebbly ground, and with a final rush of adrenaline, she pushed herself forward into the shallows. There she crouched in the warm water and stared up at the figure on the bank.

For a heartbeat, she thought it was Dadiji.

The woman had the same slight stoop, the same gently lined face, the same warm brown skin and long black hair frosted with silver. She was dressed differently, though; this woman wore deep crimson robes, with a fluted, draping cut that reminded Olive of an illustration she had once seen of an ancient Greek poet. A patch covered her right eye. Her left eye was a startlingly vivid purple, and it stared back at the young stranger who had just emerged from the steamy pool.

This was not Dadiji, and yet there was something jarringly familiar about the woman. Not until she spoke did Olive realize what it was.

“Coseema…” breathed the woman.

So, this was a dream. Olive felt a surge of relief. It did not seem like one—her knee throbbed with a very real pain—but this had to be a dream, because she was staring at a person she had made up herself.

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The Coseema Saga:

The Twin Stars (book one)

The Silver Sail (book two) *forthcoming release!

(there is a sneak preview of what is coming next @ the end of “The Twin Stars”)

I marked this as Upper YA due to the topics & subjects explored in the context of the story as well as how dark this fantasy turned in the final quarter of the novel. I felt it was better suited for Upper YA readers rather than for readers seeking traditional YA.

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Published by: Titan1Studios (@RelativityU)

Read About this debut release from Titan1Studios via their website

Converse on Twitter via: #YALit or #ILoveYA; #PortalFantasy + #SpaceOpera
as well as #TheTwinStars and #YAFantasy and #SciFantasy and #DarkFantasy

About Bridgette Dutta Portman

Bridgette Dutta Portman

Bridgette Dutta Portman is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Dozens of her plays have been produced across the United States and overseas. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, as well as a PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine.

She is past president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrights’ Guild, and the Dramatists’ Guild. She recently joined the board of the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, CA. The Twin Stars is her debut novel, and the first of a planned trilogy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Deepanshu and their two young children.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
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Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Dark Fantasy, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Portal Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Spotlight | “Disenchanted” (Book One, Disenchanted series) by Brianna Sugalski

Posted Friday, 21 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Wyrd And Wonder banner 2021 (Pegasus) provided by Imyril and is used with permission. Wyrd And Wonder banner 2021 (Pegasus) Image Credit: by Svetlana Alyuk on 123RF.com.

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] 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 your 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, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Disenchanted” via Audiobookworm Promotions 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.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Quite happily #WyrdAndWonder has become a wicked #awesomesauce event, four years running this 2021 – Imyril, Lisa and I are wicked humbled by how everyone has started to catch our passionate joy for hosting fantastical content during a month where Fantasy can be a celebrated joy amongst us all. Finding out a 100+ adventurers were joining us this May was beyond humbling when you consider the roots of how we began this wicked wonderful Wyrd And Wonder journey – which happily launched its own community.

As previously stated, when it comes to Dark Fantasy – I have a slight aversion to most stories which fall into this category and am extremely particular and picky when it comes to sorting my way through this niche of offerings because I’m definitely what you’d consider a sensitive reader who has a few things which trigger her bookish turnoffs and take her out of a narrative. Having said that – similar to how I finally found a Dystopian writer who is penning a series I find wicked brilliant and intriguing – I am starting to find certain Dark Fantasy novelists (ie. Marcus Lee) who are intriguing me into a area of Fantasy I am dearly under-read but still a bit curious to seek out.

Previously I was caught inside the works of Stephanie Burgis, Jamie Robin Wood, Rebecca J. Greenwood and Sarah E. Boucher. As you can see, I am seeking out certain aspects of darker fantastical worlds but which evoke a sense of what I love about my regular Fantasy wanderings – where it isn’t too dark where there isn’t any light and where its not graphically violent – though in that note, Burgis pushed me a bit in ‘Congress of Secrets’.

Last May, I hosted an interview with this author via Storytellers on Tour – a blog touring company whose championing Indie Storytellers and giving us all a lovely chance to feature their collective works. This was why I was entering into this audiobook with a lot of healthy expectations – but as you will soon read, the audiobook itself wasn’t a good fit for me as a listener. I am not giving up on this story (just yet) but next time I’ll definitely be seeking this out in a printed edition before I finalise my thoughts on its behalf.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Spotlight | “Disenchanted” (Book One, Disenchanted series) by Brianna SugalskiDisenchanted
Subtitle: A cursed princess A crestfallen killer And a witch who can save them both
by Ms Brianna Sugalski
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Krys Janae

A Breton princess at the peak of the French Renaissance, Lilac lives prisoner in her parents' castle after a wicked secret is revealed on the eve of her tenth birthday soirée. Years later, her coronation ceremony looms, and between the riotous townsfolk and scheming nobleman bent on snatching the throne, Lilac prepares for the worst... Until a mysterious letter arrives from The Witch of Lupine Grotto, detailing a curious offer to cure her darkness forever.

Lilac begrudgingly trades her coronet for a cloak and ventures into the forest Brocéliande in pursuit of the impious enchantress at the edge of town. With only the protection of an inherited dagger— and unsolicited help of the sardonic stranger who inserts himself on her quest—she must traverse Brocèliande and return in time to claim her rightful position as sovereign monarch.

This is the story of a cursed princess, A crestfallen killer,
The town that wants them to burn,
And the witch that can save them both.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Historical-Fantasy, New Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8621445461

ASIN: B092FZFBVV

Published by The Parliament House

on 15th April, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 15 hours and 18 minutes (unabridged)

Pages: 456

Published by: The Parliament House (@parliamentbooks)

Converse via: #Fantasy, #DarkFantasy, #YAFantasy
as well as #AudiobookwormPromotions OR #TheAudiobookEmpire
+ #Disenchanted #BriannaSugalski & #WyrdAndWonder

About Ms Brianna Sugalski

Brianna Sugalski

Born and raised in Hawaii, Brianna Sugalski is a Dark Fantasy author who prefers to explore the more ominous — disenchanting, if you will — undertones of romance, history, and the arcane.

Her debut novel, YA Fantasy DISENCHANTED, released with The Parliament Press on March 4th, 2020; the sequel, DISILLUSIONED, is in progress as of January 2021.

Sugalski is also a SF/F developmental editor under Crit & Pen Editorial. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two little korrigans of her own.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Friday, 21 May, 2021 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Indie Author, New Adult Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Top Five Saturday | Top Five Secrets of Travelling within the Verin Empire | Guest Post featuring William Ray who wrote the uniquely fantastically clever “Shadow Debt” (Tales of the Verin Empire, Book Three)

Posted Saturday, 15 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#TopFiveSaturday meme badge created by Jorie in Canva.

#TopFiveSaturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books

The blogger has been on a bit of a hiatus, thereby this respun meme was inspired by the book blogger who originated a theme base Top Five meme! Usually the host will suggest a theme wherein bloggers can list books associated with the theme they feel honours the topic of choosing their Top Five for that Saturday. I’ve decided to go a different route this Saturday by featuring an Indie Fantasy author’s series.

I asked a dear friend, Louise @foxesfairytale (hostess of @Mythothon) to help me find a Top Five meme and I was grateful she knew about #TopFiveSaturday! I might have to participate once the host of this meme resumes her themed schedules.

Jorie’s topic for William Ray:
Top Five Secrets of Travelling within the Verin Empire 📖🦎

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you know, I positively love Indie (Press and Publishers) and Self Published Speculative Fiction storycrafters who are giving me wicked good literary wanderings within Cosy Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’ve been sitting on this lovely guest post by Mr Ray since I originally hosted his blog tour with Storytellers on Tour – a blog touring company whose championing Indie Storytellers and giving us all a lovely chance to feature their collective works. I originally hosted a Top Ten Tuesday respun meme for him and this guest post was kicked out during the tour, as I knew I wanted to showcase him during #WyrdAndWonder.

We’ve amassed our largest gathering of adventurers this Wyrd And Wonder – we’re 100x strong this year, imagine!? And, next year is our 5th Year!! I know a lot of adventurers are seeking series and novels to put on their TBR and I’m hoping the Verin Empire might tempt you to add it to yours! I, for one am trying to source copies of the novels myself through my local library – including submitting a purchase request this May to see if I can start reading them myself.

I am hoping you will feel a part of this world, as you take a sneak peek of it through the illustrative artwork and the cheekiness of the humour which you can see through how Mr Ray approached writing this guest post! Welcome to your #TopFiveSaturday welcoming you into the Verin Empire!

Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s go on a Wyrd And Wonder adventure!

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A #WyrdAndWonder Top Five Saturday | Top Five Secrets of Travelling within the Verin Empire  | Guest Post featuring William Ray who wrote the uniquely fantastically clever “Shadow Debt” (Tales of the Verin Empire, Book Three)Shadow Debt
Subtitle: A Tale of the Verin Empire
by William Ray

Glynn Sorley is sheriff of Keat’s Field, a tiny settlement in an otherwise lawless frontier. With the discovery of diamonds, her town is flooded with fortune-hunters looking to strike it rich. It’s also a target for competing colonial powers, savage goblin tribes, and outlaws.

A rustler on the run from the law stumbles across his father’s mysterious legacy – a weapon of immense magical power. He uses it to ravage across the territory as the notorious outlaw Gentleman Jim.

But the weapon’s power comes at a terrible cost, and Keat’s Field may just have to pay the price…

This third Tale of the Verin Empire returns us to the world of Gedlund and The Great Restoration. It explores a frontier trapped between competing nations, where goblins reign and a lone sheriff fights to keep the peace.

Drawing inspiration from L’Amour’s Comstock Lode, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and our own late 19th century, Shadow Debt continues William Ray’s bold, critically acclaimed reinvention of classic fantasy in a world of memorable characters and unique perspectives, and features sketches from acclaimed illustrator Tom Parker.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Blackpowder Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Gaslight Fantasy, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Noir Crime Drama, PI (Private Investigator)



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8681940616

ASIN: B08JF16LBM

Also by this author: Shadow Debt (Guest Post)

Published by Self Published

on 17th September, 2020

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The stories of the Verin Empire:

Gedlund by William RayA Case of Eager Heirs by William RayThe Great Restoration by William RayShadow Debt by William Ray

 

Illustration Credit for Book Covers: Ramona Marc

Connect with the illustrator Tom Parker via @papagaeioFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Gedlund (book one) : Blackpowder Fantasy

A Case of Eager Heris (short story) :
Gaslight / Urban Fantasy | Private / Noir Detective

The Great Restoration (book two) :
Gaslight / Urban Fantasy | Private / Noir Detective

Shadow Debt (book three) : Weird West | Western Fantasy

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Top Five Secrets of Travelling within the Verin Empire

William Ray's Verin Empire illustration provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permisison.
William Ray’s Verin Empire series illustration provided by William Ray
and is used with permisison. Art Illustration Credit: Tom Parker.

Martin’s Guide — Touring the Frontier

Readers wishing to venture into these strange lands can find them chronicled in Tales of the Verin Empire, by William Ray.

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Posted Saturday, 15 May, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Spotlight, Bookish Memes, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Storytellers on Tour

An Indie Fantasy Book Spotlight and Extract | “Sand Dancer” (Book One: Sand Dancer series) by Trudie Skies

Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Today it is an honour to host this lovely Fantasy blog tour with Storytellers on Tour – a blog touring company whose championing Indie Storytellers and giving us all a lovely chance to feature their collective works. I have been hosting with them for the past year and I have found quite a few lovely new authors of Fantasy Fiction who have given me wicked good explorations of the genre and of the vision the writers had for their worlds. It is wonderful to be able to showcase these authors and their stories – whilst featuring guest posts and respun memes whenever I am unable to read the books in print or host an interview.

I had hoped to interview the author, however with my new work hours and adjusting to working full-time this past month, I had to go to my Plan B for the blog tour. Thereby I was grateful to Justine @ Storytellers on Tour for giving me the option to host this extract – as it will give you a good sense about the story and their world.

I did edit the extract a bit with permission by Justine – not just for length but for content. Some of the descriptions I felt were a bit outside what I would normally feature on Jorie Loves A Story as there were some graphic depictions I cut into an easier read for those following the blog tour.

As I love focusing on Indie Fantasy storytellers myself every #WyrdAndWonder – which I briefly mention at the end of this post. The reason I love Indie Speculative Fiction is because the writers of those stories are happily giving me wicked good stories to ruminate over and enticingly intriguing worlds to explore.

Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about “Sand Dancer”!

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An Indie Fantasy Book Spotlight and Extract | “Sand Dancer” (Book One: Sand Dancer series) by Trudie SkiesSand Dancer
Subtitle: One Sword : One Thousand Secrets
by Trudie Skies
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death.

But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…

Disguised as a young nobleman, Mina must make a new life for herself in the heart of her enemies. But she knows she can’t keep up the masquerade forever. With time running out, which will she choose to find—the truth or revenge?

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781949671025

Published by Uproar Books

on 1st July, 2019

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

Fire Walker is the sequel to Sand Dancer

NOTE: There is a Content Warning page on the author’s site for Fire Walker

Published by: Uproar Books (@UproarBooks)

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Read an Extract from this Novel:

Sand Dancer world map provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission.

When her father’s murder reveals a lifetime of lies, a half-starved peasant girl must disguise herself as a young nobleman if she hopes to make her way into the heart of her enemies. But what is she truly after—the truth or revenge?

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Sand Dancer quote graphic provided by the author Trudie Skies and is used with permission.

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THE MONSTER OF KHALBAD

Father’s rules for becoming a legendary warrior didn’t match his tales.

Keep out of trouble, don’t play at sword fighting, stay away from Housemen, and never, under any circumstances, approach fire.

Over time, his words changed from mantras of honor to instructions of modesty, as though Mina’s father sobered and remembered his son existed as a girl all along. His training stopped the moment she bled. When pressed, he spouted nonsense that only men could wield a blade and Mina should drop all foolish notions of becoming a warrior to focus on her studies as a Green Hand. It was an argument she lost many times. Girls don’t become warriors. They become healers.

Why teach her all those tales of their tribe’s warriors and heroes? Why show her how to swing a sword if he planned to ignore it all based on her sex? Those heroes wouldn’t have followed Father’s cowardly advice. Who would have heard their tales if they did?

Girls could become warriors. Mina just needed to prove it.

The fire-breathing monsters who haunted Father’s tales were no longer allowed to wander the sands or stalk the streets, thank the gods. Those possessing the curse of flame were locked away inside the temples. Only a few chosen men with absolute control of their abilities were permitted to step outside and serve as priests by performing public rites and lighting the town’s lanterns. Whispers spoke of blasphemers who tried to hide their fire and refused to join the temple. For the safety of all, these monsters needed to be found and put to death under the King’s law.

In all Father’s tales, the monster only met its end when one brave warrior stood against it. And there were no greater monsters than the Fire Walkers.

Mina crouched among the wicker baskets at the far corner of the market, watching and waiting. Her dirty beige tunic and headscarf merged with the sandstone townhouse behind her. No one paid her heed as townsfolk wandered between stalls of rice and pistachios. Sand grains danced across the dusty ground, blown in from the dunes piled against the town wall, the only barrier between them and the greater Dusland desert.

Khalbad’s street rats understood what she planned to do. She scanned the crowd for their familiar faces, a mixture of younger orphans and grim-faced boys growing into men. They sat under cloth canopies and stared as though they didn’t believe she could be brave enough to do it. Though they all lived under the shadow of Housemen and fought for scraps, the streets rats had never welcomed her into their little tribe. Mina went as hungry as any of them, but even though her skin was the same Duslander brown as theirs, they made her feel different, an outsider, due to her real tribal blood. The tribes of the desert were nomadic and rarely entered towns like Khalbad, so her father said. Perhaps if they did, she and her father wouldn’t have spent their lives here dreaming of a world outside.

The heat of Rahn, the god of fire and dawn, burned overhead. Soon the marketplace would start to empty. Stall owners, craftsmen, and fishermen from the docks would retreat into shade until Rahn passed low enough to make the stuffy air breathable. The clearing of the market would create a river of people for Mina to dive into. The perfect time to strike.

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Sand Dancer quote graphic provided by the author Trudie Skies and is used with permission.

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Converse via: #Fantasy, #EpicFantasy or #HeoricFantasy
as well as #storytellersontour & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Storytellers on Tour