Genre: Dark Fantasy

A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) 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 “Soul Riders” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing 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.

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Why I wanted to read &/or listen to “Soul Riders”:

I was attracted to a few elements about this story when I first found it on NetGalley – the horses, the sisterhood friendships of the girls’ and the fact this is all set in a fantastical world. I originally thought this was a story that was ‘set elsewhere’ without any tangible connection to our own living reality however as I shifted into the audiobook itself, I realised this is an Urban Fantasy wherein there are elements of modern life (our world) within the sphere of the series but there are elements of the fantastical in the background running concurrent to the girls’ school and life experiences.

I have a personal attachment to horse dramas & Westerns – whenever I can find one or the other which suits my interests, I love to soak inside the stories! Having had a close connection to horses when I was a child I believe plays a strong part in why I continue to seek out stories which features horses and/or the world of horses – from Contemporary &/or Historical Westerns to Contemporary Western Romances or Cowboy Romances (such as my Harlequin Heartwarming readings).

Finding a story set in a blended Middle Grade & Young Adult world for Fantasy which brings into focus my love of horses with the added advantage of hidden talents and special gifts given to the girls who ride star horses – honestly, what could be a better bookish find!?

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A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalleyJorvik Calling
Subtitle: Soul Riders (series), Video Game Tie-In (Star Stable)
by Helena Dahlgren
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley

Step into the universe of the massively popular adventure game Star Stable, and follow four friends who discover their magic powers and learn that every girl can be a hero in this fantasy trilogy.

Soul Riders tells the heroic tale of four young girls who have been chosen by destiny to save the world from the ancient demon: Garnok and his band of dangerous Dark Riders. Lisa is a teenage girl who is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of her mother in a riding accident and has sworn never to go near a horse again until she met Starshine, a mysterious blue-maned steed who comes to her in dreams. New on the island of Jorvik, Lisa befriends Alex, Linda, and Anne. Under the guidance of mystical druids, they discover they each have a special bond to their horses that gives them magical powers. While trying to balance school, family, and friendships they have to figure out what it means to be a Soul Rider. They are attacked by the Dark Riders and the mysterious Mr. Sands discover that their horses are in danger. Instead of relying on their combined strength, they decide to split up on their quest to find answers and learn to fight back against their enemies. However, will it be too late before they realize their mistake?

Jorvik Calling is the first installment in the epic, fantasy trilogy, Soul Riders, about magic, friendship, and horses bound to thrill all young equestrian fans.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Video Game Tie-In Series, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Suspense, YA Urban Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524855338

ASIN: B087D8F3SW

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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Published By: Andrews McMeel Audio
an imprint of Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel)

NOTE: When I first started listening to this title I thought for sure it would be considered Middle Grade Fantasy – however, as it progressed forward, I started to see it leans into YA Fantasy. It might be on the fence of merging Upper YA into Adult Fantasy within an Urban Fantasy world-building and setting. Ergo, if your considering this for younger readers rather than adult, know that this has the innocence of a Middle Grade Fantasy intermixed with the darker villains of an Upper YA/Adult Fantasy wherein if you are seeking lighter readers for Middle Grade readers I would advise against this one.

Converse via: #UrbanFantasy as well as #DarkFantasy and Upper #YAFantasy
+ #SoulRiders, #audiobook or #audioreads as well as #JorikRising and #StarStable

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Bullies and the Bullied, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, NetGalley, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – through the first novel “Kings and Daemons” by Marcus Lee

Posted Saturday, 15 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: During my 3rd Year of co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder, I was able to participate on my first blog tour with Storytellers on Tour which was featuring the author Brianna Sugalski on her “Disenchanted” blog tour. What I appreciated about Storytellers on Tour is their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature and their ability to find authors who are telling stories in Fantasy which intrigue me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which is why I feel blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I might seek out a book to consider for review, I also actively enjoy hosting creative content using book photography and/or featuring their authors in conversation (ie. interviews) or giving them the breadth of joy to write a guest post based on a topic of my choosing. Overall, Storytellers on Tour are dedicated to creating community and for championing those of us who are choosing to share our readerly lives each day we bring content to our book blogs. 

I received a complimentary copy of “Kings and Daemons” direct from the author Marcus Lee in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What drew my eye into this Fantasy series:

I am constantly intrigued and surprised by where my fantastical wanderings take me,.. as generally speaking it is quite rare I will feel motivated to read a darker Fantasy novel but there are exceptions to this rule as I am sure other readers have exceptions to their bookish wanderings as well. Likewise, a new subniche of Fantasy I have discovered over the recent year is *Fantasy Romance!* courtesy of reading my first story by H.L. Burke!

For a reader whose grown passionate about reading Romance – from Contemporary to Historical to Suspense – it is a wonderment to me how I somehow have *missed!* this other niche inside a genre I have loved reading since I was seventeen! The premise round “Kings and Daemons” is what first allured me into the novel – how a complete unknown in this world could reconcile their destinies after a person in power sought to destroy them. Who wouldn’t want to read about an unsung heroine and her ability to free her people from the destructive influence of a King?

It was not lost on me the spelling of the word demon and what this alternative spelling is pointing out in reference. This stems back to a lot of conversations I had in high school with my best friend who was as passionate about Fantasy as I had been about Science Fiction. It led to a lot of interesting conversations and discussions – something I hadn’t seen until I became a book blogger and realised there was this whole bookish community who were doing the same thing about the topics they enjoyed talking about themselves. I normally might have taken a right turn on reading this novel – yet there was just ‘something’ about it that spoke to me and I dove in head first. As you’ll see on my review I had many surprising takeaways and a reading experience I had hoped to receive but was wickedly delighted by having experienced.

One quick note to readers who might seek this out – I’d say this is Cosy Horror intermixed with High Fantasy with a cutting thread of Sword & Sorcery. 

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Notation on Cover Art: I love the art of book covers which give you an honest impression or gateway into the world you’re about to enter and “Kings and Daemons” is doing exactly that with this lushly vibrant cover art which truly gives you a keen sense about Maya and how she would appear if you were to meet her yourself. I loved everything about the design – from the choices in colours to the layout – original artwork like this one on Fantasy novels was something I have always cherished and celebrated! Especially if you look closely at what is being highlighted in this portrait of Maya – specifically look at her feet and then compare that to what is behind her and you’ll see how much she effects her world. 

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – through the first novel “Kings and Daemons” by Marcus LeeKings and Daemons
Subtitle: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book One)
by Marcus Lee
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

A tale of conquest, dark kings, and daemonic heroes. A spellbinding story that will enchant you with its plot of ambition, love, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption.

Over fifty years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch-King and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom.
Now, with the once fertile lands and its enslaved people dying around him, the Witch-King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring Freestates. It will be the beginnings of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come.

Genres: Cosy Horror, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8646561931

Published by Self Published

on 26th May, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 414

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The Gifted and the Cursed Trilogy:

Kings & Daemons (book one)

Tristan’s Folly (book two)

The End of Dreams (book three)

This is a Self-Published novel and series!

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

About Marcus Lee

Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me … but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.

As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.

Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.

So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.

However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be the first of many. I genuinely hope so.

Who knows, now these creatives juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.

Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and The Illiad as a seven-year-old. Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
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Posted Saturday, 15 August, 2020 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Horror-Lite, Immortals, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Storytellers on Tour, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery

Co-hosting Year Three | #WyrdAndWonder is the soul lift we all need right now! Come find out how #JorieReads Fantasy & reclaims her readerly joy whilst she hosts #IndieAuthors throughout the event!

Posted Sunday, 3 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder 2020 event banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you can see – a NEW year of #WyrdAndWonder is upon us – as Imyril, Lisa & Jorie help fill your life with more Fantasy than you can dive into in a singular month – giving you even more reasons why you love disappearing into realms of fantastical delight! This is the singular month which is anchoured to our love of Science Fiction (ie. celebrated during @SciFiMonth) wherein we get to bring everyone together to dip into the waters of Speculative Fiction which tackle thematics, subniches of genre & unique storylines threading through Fantasy.

These stories are generally focused on our readerly lives – as book bloggers Wyrd And Wonder started off as a book blogosphere celebration explosion of #Fantasy Lit love – however, in the ensuing years since we first began this fantastical adventure in [2018] we’ve happily encouraged our participants to celebrate Fantasy wherever they can find it – in walkabout graffiti (see also tweet), in the world of Dungeons & Dragons (see also post) – which are a few examples of this year’s revelations or in any of the numerous motion pictures, television series, sound for motion picture or television, graphic novels, audiobooks, fashion and/or an eclectic mix of artistic expressions, styles and mediums.

And, this of course is only the tip of the iceberg!

Fantasy truly is much more than a genre – it is an exploration of hidden worlds & themes which are universally appealling to a wide audience – crossing through all boundaries and uniting everyone together who finds a niche of Fantasy their jam. This is why we wanted to create a happy space to celebrate this wicked wonderful section of Speculative Fiction – to find the joy in what others are finding for themselves & uniting together to highlight every which way to Sunday Fantasy gives us a burst of #randomJOY and lifts our souls!

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

This #WyrdAndWonder – I have a key sub-focus on interest in pursuing #dragonfiction & celebrating the #dragons – past & present I’ve either come to love and/or desire to meet & greet in the near future! I am contemplating hosting a readalong for two different novels of dragon fiction as well – whilst I’ll be making my final announcement about this on Monday, 4th May – this weekend, I’m musefully lost in my #WyrdAndWonder TBR!

I have stories leftover from Years One & Two whilst I have a few new additions for Year Three. I’ve been stalked (thanks for the brilliant way of referencing this, Imyril) by my chronic migraines throughout the years and months of Wyrd And Wonder – never letting that stop me from participating – it has had a few wrinkles of angst where I couldn’t always finish the stories and/or posts I had in queue. Last year was quite awful with a high yield of 5x but although this Wyrd And Wonder started off on a two day migraine & severe Spring pollen allergies attacking me head – I’m walking into the event with a chin held high. I mean, alternatively who wants to abandon the joy at this point? Not I. Never! I mean – seriously, migraines & Spring allergies are a part of my life and although they drive me batty I refuse to abort my plans – which is why I’m a diehard Wyrd And Wonder’er every year! Laughs.

I’m taking my cues from this lovely dishy post about ALL the ways in which you can read FANTASY (thanks again to my co-hosts Imyril & Lisa for finding it) – in order to map out my 2020 Wyrd And Wonder TBR! Won’t you join me? Let’s go on a walkabout of fantastical proportions and see where #JorieReads this Wyrd And Wonder as the 3rd Year kicks-off!

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

Wyrd And Wonder 2020 banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono from <a href="https://www.123rf.com">123RF.com</a>.
Wyrd And Wonder 2020 banner created by Imyril.
Image Credit: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono from 123RF.com.

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Welcome to *Wyrd & Wonder*

Imyril, Lisa and I have delightfully planned a wicked #awesomesauce month of FANTASY celebration for you! This marks our 3rd Year co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder and we couldn’t be happier knowing we have more participants this 3rd Year as well as renewed interest in the events we’ve planned.

Before I share with you what I’ll be reading this lovely Wyrd And Wonder – I wanted to take a moment to tell you which lovely authors I’ll be hosting on my blog and/or through my chat @SatBookChat! This year, I wanted to reach out to authors I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading but am happily discovering through the Indie Publisher @OdysseyBooks (visit their website) – whilst I have the opportunity to read two of their authors and host them during Wyrd And Wonder!

Per my tradition during #WyrdAndWonder – I love to give Indie Fantasy Authors a chance to have their stories showcased – either through my readings of their stories and/or via guest features or chats during #SatBooKChat. This year, I happily am carrying on the tradition whilst giving my heart an uplift as I wasn’t sure until recently if I could pull this part of my plans off! I am so dearly grateful to Odyssey Books and their lovely authors who have been responding to my emails.

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The authors by this publisher you’ll happily see on my blog this year are as follows:

* Felicity Banks (The Monster Apprenctice)
@FBanksBooks | Website

* Elizabeth Foster (Esme’s Wish)
@e_foster3 | Website

* Carolyn Denman (Songlines)
@CDenmanAuthor | Website

* K.J. Taylor (The Shadow of the Skytree)
@WorldStitcher | Website

* Kathryn Gossow (Cassandra)
@KathrynGossow | Website

* Rachel Nightingale (Harlequin’s Riddle)
@NightingaleRA | Website

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One author you’ve might have already caught sharing some of his own fantastical interests via our #WyrdAndWonder feeds is Owen Crane. He reached out to me via my Review Request page directly and this set me on a course to receive his novel to read & review but I’ve also selected him as one of my Fantasy Indie Authors to host during #SatBooKChat! You can follow his feeds via @owencrane.

For those of you who haven’t yet visited with me on Saturdays – I host a Romance & Women’s Fiction book chat called #SatBookChat – we meet-up @ 11a NYC | 4p UK/Ireland | 8a West Coast USA | 1a Australia – wherein this New Year 2020 I decided to enlarge our focus to all stories within all genres which feature strong female characters and/or have a presence within Feminist Fiction. Speculative Fiction is one category next to INSPY I’ve been wanting to grow via @SatBookChat and this 3rd Year of Wyrd And Wonder – I am very close to announcing my schedule for when you’ll be able to interact with the 3x authors I’ve selected to be featured this May!

I am awaiting confirmations on dates – look for a special announcement post & s/o via my Twitter feeds this coming week – as our first guest will be on Saturday, the 9th! What you need to know is to stalk the tag #SatBookChat before your time zone collides with NYC (11a) EST and once the chatter starts to begin – kindly contribute your own questions & happily join the discussion by adding our tag #SatBookChat to your tweets. Unlike in past years, I am not going to have us *thread the convo via #WyrdAndWonder’s tag as it was a bit harder to add both tags into the convo & have the discussion feel uncluttered. I will be archiving the chats again this month – so if you miss the chats as they run, you will have a chance to ‘re-read’ through the archived edition wherein you can respond with the tag to the author and/or the other participants who took part in the chat itself.

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 Sunday, 3 May, 2020 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Fantasy Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event