Genre: Dark Fantasy

Winter is Coming | #IronTomeAThon aka. follow along as #JorieReads a heap more lovelies of #Fantasy this JULY!

Posted Tuesday, 2 July, 2019 by jorielov , 3 Comments

#IronTomeAThon 2019 banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Aimal’s TBR | Bookshelves & Paperbacks | Info Post

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

Why I am anchouring this to my INSPY readathon:

Having found my groove for reading #Fantasy after a gruelling month of migraines this #WyrdAndWonder in May, 2019 – I’ve decided to give myself free licence to return into the fantastical worlds and realms I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of reading during the event itself! I simply couldn’t get into a lot of the lovelies I had earmarked to read – specifically of course, I wanted to spread out my readings of the Night’s Edge series by Ms Czerneda as I am participating in her MAGE blog tour this August – however, sometimes life has other plans whilst we’re attempting to do something we love.

When I first saw this readathon announced – I nearly worried I couldn’t participate – I mean, its based on “Game of Thrones” – the one series in both literature & tv I’ve avoided like the plague – just #notmycuppa – therefore how to join a readathon paying homage to a beloved series without any inside knowledge of the “houses” we’re meant to select as participants!? It was clearly an easier route of entry for #BeatTheBacklist – I mean, I was bourne a Ravenclaw, talk about a no-brainer! lol

Thus, as I have this lovely sisterhood of readers who are encouraging me along with my readings of the October Daye series – having recently completed my readings of *Rosemary & Rue* this June on the footheels of wrapping up my participation in our 2nd Year of Wyrd and Wonder – I decided to reach out to them (as a few were already going to participate in this readathon themselves) which House I ought to select and how best to address the categories of reading focus.

Through this lively discussion, I decided to join the Equality Progressive House of Spanish Hippies (their descriptions of the house, I wouldn’t know them if I met them!) which I felt suited me just dandy!

Erhm, better known as *House Martell!*

For starters, I’m an Intersectional Feminist – we all rise together or we all fall. Quite a simple philosophy – all women are all equal unto each other and we all should have equal rights across the gender divides. This includes all ethnicties, gender expressions, gender identities (*trans included!) and religious backgrounds – basically any which way to Sunday you identify as a woman and however which way you live your life – you are Equal & a soul sister to all women.

In regards to the “Spanish Hippies” side of the ledger – I’m a green-living cheerleader for 21st Century living – wherein I might be a book blogger & social reader but I’m full-on analogue at the same time – I love my vintage typewriters, love board games, old world arts & crafts and the old fashioned ways of interacting with people unplugged and offline. I also believe in natural & organic foods, green living practices and the whole locavore movement of reducing our footprint by creating a smaller footpath between farm to fork. There is more to it than that, but you gather the gist – I am definitely a ‘hippie’ to live amongst the hippies of this world!

Having sorted that out – I decided to sort out which audiobooks are available via my local libraries which befit the categories whilst which books I can check-out which would also qualify. I recognised this particular readathon isn’t for YA Fantasy – which ironically is predominately what I’ve been checking out recently! lol Still. I found that I have quite a few fantastical reads which are in the Adult section which will give me hours of Fantasy joy to immerse inside.

If I could, I also wanted to pull from the selections I made during #Mythothon – as towards which of the stories I’d be most keen to pick up reading again this Summer,..

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Overall, though – I am slated to read a heap of lovely INSPY novels by the collective hive of #LoveInspiredSuspense novelists who are giving me a wicked good read for gentle fiction & compelling suspense wherein I know I can handle where the stories take me! This year, I’m dearly focusing on Elizabeth Goddard novels as I never had the chance to dig into hers last year whilst I am also returning into the Callahan Confidental novels I adored last July! I haven’t formulated my TBR this year but if you see me doing recaps or reading progress reports about this imprint of Harlequin just know these novelists truly keep me engaged!

At the same time, I have some thrilling INSPY reads outside of the scope of Love Inspired Suspense I want to finish reading as well! Including the other half of the series I began in December which rendered me slightly dizzy due to how extremely on edge I was reading it!

I’ll be continuing my #InspySundays showcases throughout July along with a return of Inspirational & Self Motivating Non-Fiction and/or Memoirs returning as a keen focus of my Non-Fic wanderings alongside my Scientific enquiries as well. I am just thankful to finally get back into the books I desire to be reading and if this readathon can be anchoured to July’s Christian Fiction & Clean Reads readathon as a path towards re-aligning into those stories I love to read, all the better!!

Fantasy & Inspy are two of my cuppa loves of bookish joy!

Speaking of which, did you see my review for Fantasy Inspy by Morgan L. Busse?

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

House Martell banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Sigil: a gold spear piercing a red sun on a field of orange
House words: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.”

Not all of these selections are being borrowed through my local libraries as some of these titles were received for review consideration and will be reviewed. Others are part of a readalong and/or readathon focus of interest. Some are a carry-over from Wyrd And Wonder Year 2 or Mythothon Year 1. Technically, I am also beginning my Year of Asian Stories co-hosted by Bookish Valhalla (#YOAS).

Concurrent to the intent to keep this strictly a list of Adult Fantasy vs YA Fantasy – I’ve come to the conclusion, I happen to be gravitating towards a heap of YA moreso in some instances than Adult selections of Fantasy. Thereby, for the sake of the readathon + the points, ONLY those books I could sort out being a) Adult / Adult Crossover or b) NA – New Adult are going to count for points for House Martell. You will automatically see the (points) next to the titles for further clarification. Once my review goes up on my blog a link will be added!

The rest of the lovelies are *extras!* I’m reading for the joy of discovering them. I just decided to streamline the list to showcase which Fantasy authors, stories and series I am a) attempting to begin reading, b) attempting to finish reading and c) joyfully will be enjoying throughout the #IronTomeAThon!

I’d like to give a proper s/o of gratitude to Annemieke who helped me sort out
how to create my own TBR for this readathon! Kindly visit her TBR, too!
Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #IronTomeAThon
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Posted Tuesday, 2 July, 2019 by jorielov in #IronTomeAthon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story

#ADayeAMonth | Book Review of “Rosemary & Rue” (book one: October Daye series) by Seanin McGuire

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

#ADayeAMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tim Mossholder (Creative Commons Zero)

Co-host | @FoxesFairyTale | Discussion *threads for Twitter

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Borrowed Book By: I’ve been consistantly borrowing “Rosemary & Rue” either through my local library and/or through ILL (inter-library loan) since January, 2019. I can’t even begin to remember how many times I’ve had a paperback copy of this novel on my shelf “to be read” – wherein, during January I only managed to read the first four or five chapters before my migraines disrupted my readings. I finally had a chance to extend my last local borrow of this novel until the 10th of June – re-reading those initial chapters starting on the 4th of June and thankfully being able to complete my readings of the novel before it was due back [again!].

I was not obligated to post a review in conjunction with this readalong however similar to my joy of sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the #smallangryplanet RAL I participated in November, 2018 – I decided to blog my thoughts as I move through the October Daye series. Ironically, both of these series were not ones I might have picked to read myself and am thankful for the RALs and my two co-hosts (ie. Lisa @deargeekplace for #smallangryplanet + Lou @foxesfairytale) for encouraging me to take a full step outside my zones of comfort to embrace these series. I am sharing my honest reactions whilst I read “Rosemary and Rue” which was able to be done was I borrowed the well-read paperback copy from my local library system. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I decided to read #OctoberDaye:

Strictly speaking, my love of Urban Fantasy is the key reason I agreed to read the October Daye series combined with the fact I stumbled across the series on my own not that long ago but never actually picked up the series to read. I am uncertain if it was because I was still considering whether or not this series was actually #notmycuppa or just slightly on the upper tier of a series I could get invested into is uncertain. All I knew is when Louise pitched the idea via Twitter to host this readalong in the New Year, I felt ‘why on earth not?’

I’ve taken a lot of chances on the books I am reading – either by suggestion and/or personal wanderings within sub-niches of beloved genres or new extensions of genres I’ve previously not had the joy of sorting out if I would appreciate them or just avoid like the plaugue. Either way, I knew October Daye might either a) become a challenging read for me OR b) become a series I would really feel connected inside and for whichever reason get a wicked lot of #bookJOY out of particpating in this randomly inspired RAL for 2019.

The only downside is I never realised how LONG it would take me to actually OPEN the book (ie. the first book, mind!) and get myself firmly settled into Toby’s world. #neversawthatcoming! Secondly, the other angst in my umbrella was the fact I couldn’t contribute to the Qs for the discussion *threads Louise was kindly assembling for us and my distance in the DM convo which has been evolving through the series since we became the ragtag team of readers discussing this Urban Fantasy has been quite impressively *active!* whilst I’ve been hanging in the margins of it for far, far too long.

This Summer – rather than re-queue an attempt to devour #20BooksOfSummer because the two years I had an #epicfail of that was not enough to dissway my re-attempt at the challenge – I decided this Summer 2019, I’d rather focus on a few other things such as a) #ADayAMonth RAL, b) #ReadingValdemar RAL, c) my extensive backlogue of reviews and d) devouring a bit of my #SpooktasticReads #WyrdAndWonder choices ahead of October as a precursor of having some of those featured in the opening days of the event rather than falling further behind like I had this past May. Ooh, and did I mention JUNE is #AudiobookMonth!? No. Hmm. How did I forget THAT?!

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Rosemary and Rue Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Rosemary and Rue
Subtitle: An October Daye novel
by Seanan McGuire
Source: Borrowed from local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0756405717

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by DAW Books

on 1st September, 2009

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 368

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

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The stories #JorieReads this Summer
for the #ADayeAMonth readalong:

#ADayeAMonth banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer JR Korpa

Book One: Rosemary & Rue | (see also Lou’s Review)
Book Two: A Local Habitation
Book Three: An Artifical Night
Book Four: Late Eclipses | (see 3x mini Lou’s Reviews)
Book Five: One Salt Sea
Book Six: Ashes of Honour
Book Seven: Chimes at Midnight
Book Eight: The Winter Long

Legend: (avail via ILL) + (avail via local library)
+ (after book five OR eight I’ll rejoin the RAL group)

(*) as unsure as I am about how quickly I can get the missing books I need to be reading in order to ‘catch’ my group as their reading Six (June), Seven (July) and Eight (August) – I decided to plan ahead to where I’d either be right as rain by the end of whichever month this Summer I am able to get all the books I need through the borrowing routes I have available to me.

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook, Ebook and Mass Market

Converse via: #ADayeAMonth (this RAL) + #OctoberDaye (the series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Cats and Kittens, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Immortals, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!

Posted Friday, 31 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 5 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:  I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

Previously I hosted a series of special posts attached to #blogmas featuring Fantasy novelists I was eagerly looking forward to seeking out throughout [2019]. I was hoping to read one of them for #WyrdAndWonder which is why when I saw one of the authors on my #mustread shortlist, I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour! My spot for the tour was on the final day for #WyrdAndWonder and it felt like a good fit at the time. This was prior to the 4x migraines which altered how I could read and blog this May; but overall, I was still celebrating the fact I could receive the first book “Mark of the Raven” alongside the book for the blog tour “Flight of the Raven”. This is also marking my first attempt to read #INSPYFantasy of this nature and I looked forward to what I would find inside the story-line as I wanted to see how an INSPY novelist might approach this kind of portal and epic fantastical tale!

I received complimentary copies of “Mark of the Raven” and “Flight of the Raven” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

Celebrating a new interest in #INSPY #Fantasy this
#WyrdAndWonder from a #blogmas selection!

As you may or may not recall – I first featured this saga during my #blogmas series of posts last December wherein I had a chance to seek out #newtomeauthors by showcasing their series & books in a series of featured posts wherein I had the delightful joy in getting to know a bit about their characters, their world-building and/or their writerly styles of approach within the Fantasy genre I love to read! The interesting bit though is how a lot of those selections were actually within the sub-niche of #INSPYFantasy! Something I haven’t readily explored in the past and was delighted in finding such a strong pull towards seeking out these kinds of authors as previously I had mostly focused on Indie Authors and/or Self Pub authors who were writing the kinds of fantastical reads I dearly wanted to be exploring!

In case you might not have been with me during #blogmas let me recap what my thoughts were in December to give you a good impression of how I was celebrating this new interest of mine:

I am LOVING the art direction of today’s Fantasy market! I love artwork which pulls you into the world-building – gives you something to chew and contemplate and before you realise it, you already want to be living in that world – isn’t this the case for you? I oft wonder what allures readers to read Fantasy & Science Fiction – strictly the artwork or the synopsis or a mixture of both? For me, every story starts with a keen interest in the premise & what I shall find inside the pages,.. the artwork for me is the icing on the cupcake if I love reading the novel!

Ever since I started co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder (an annual Fantasy event with mini-events throughout the year) I’ve become more mindful of Fantasy as a niche I dearly want to explore further, as I only had a fleeting sense of what was available in the past. This month I’ll be reading one of my favourite Science Fiction novelists whose written an epic Fantasy series – a series I’ve been trying to read for the past few years and felt life constantly was pulling me out of its pages. As I knew #FantasyForChristmas was nearing – I felt by celebrating new worlds of Fantasy would be the best anchour towards reading more Fantasy this December!

I was also inspired when I first started reading A Mortal Song during last month’s #Mythothon – wherein I was happily charmed by what I discovered when Japanese Mythos and Fantasy are entwined!

This particular series I am showcasing today is about redemptive conscience – as there is an heir to a legacy not of the choosing of the heir but of the family she’s been bourne. There is a moral and ethical dilemma to her inheritance and as you read the synopsis from book one to book two you can sort of start to see where the lines are drawn for her and her family. Stories of individual quests in worlds of Fantasy are amongst my favourites but what is interesting of course, is this a second selection under the umbrella of Christian Fantasy. It would be interesting how this ties into the theme but also, how it reflects the crisis within the lead character for not wanting to make a choice that goes against her own beliefs.

Curious – which other stories in Fantasy reflect this kind of quest and what did you appreciate about those narratives the most?!

Now, as we fast forward into May – imagine my heart of gratitude having *both!* novels within this saga on my shelf to read & disappear inside before the closing hours of #WyrdAndWonder! I was wicked excited the day they arrived – as it felt like I had come full circle since #blogmas to find one of the authors I could read not just for the event I was eagerly co-hosting *but!* of finding myself able to read an author I had spotlighted & featured within six months of that feature running on Jorie Loves A Story! I have been wanting to be more proactive in reading the authors I’m spotlighting within six or twelvemonths as a way forward in the future rather than waiting a select number of years before I can ‘meet’ their stories as they say!

I wonder if anyone else whose been participating with #WyrdAndWonder has disappeared into this niche of focus themselves? Or, if like me it is a new thread of exploration!? Afterall, I love INSPY Lit – I just never realised they had such a healthy assortment of #FantasyReads!

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

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!Mark of the Raven
Subtitle: The Ravenwood Saga
by Morgan L. Busse
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764232220

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga

Also in this series: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Historical-Fantasy, Dark Fantasy


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 6th November, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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

my review of mark of the raven:

Selene and her sister Amara have a long history of rivalry between them – it is etched into how they interact with each other and how seething in anger Amara had been by the priest’s gesture on behalf of Selene during a ceremony with a priest who seemed to have moved in and out of trace without his own recognition of the event. It is in that moment where Selene was given only one subtle hinting towards what might yet become true for her – the presence of the Dark Lady would visit with her and thus, starts the Mark of the Raven.

Nothing short of oppressive expectation was placed on Selene’s shoulders – from what you gather of her mother’s reaction to her gifting. In this world, there is a break-down of gifts passed through different generations – each particular ‘house’ then is given a different talent of power. Selene was bourne into the Ravenwood lineage and their particular gift is that of ‘dreamers’. What was keenly interesting to me is in the front pages of the novel, we’re not just blessed with a map of the world but with a firm break-down of which house and family is given which gift! Further interesting is when it was revealled Selene has a tattooed birthmark of a raven on her back – a visual etching which did not appear to be the norm but rather the exception.

As Busse walked us through the procedure for achieving your gift in this world – your heart went out empathetically to Selene for it is not a passage of rightful inheritance without its merciless agony! Not only the fact it is a painful transformation for the person undergoing the alteration from an internal and external experience but it foretells a bit about how this world is only in balance when everything works towards rising through the ancestral lines of prophecy. You can readily see why Selene wants to push back against her rite of passage – the uncertainties of what is expected of her and the unknowns regarding her particular talent are what are bolting her to consider thoughts of exodus the women of her ancestral line may or may not have considered previously.

It is hard to decipher who was on pins more – Selene or myself as she was about to embark on her first dreamwalk! I sensed this is not a gift to take lightly nor was it one Lady Ravenwood had explained to the depth of what really occurs when a person enters another person’s dreamscape – in essence, I felt there was a flickering of distrust in what her mother would require her to do and thereby, it would become a marked moment in Selene’s life – to choose the destiny she was given or to walk a different path. At least this would be the soul searching choice I would undertake – as just as I suspected her dreamwalking destiny is not exactly what Selene might have forethought it would entail; if anything, it might be the opposite of what she intended it to encompass! And, therein of course lies the truer drama behind this story – how does a girl who newly inherits an ancestral gift sort out her own feelings about what that gift truly means to both her family and the people they oversee?

The historical aesthetic of this world reminded me of my readings of the Guinevere Tale trilogy – where ancient magic and conflict of war embattled Guinevere’s soul to the brink of where she nearly lost herself for the will of prophecy. Part of me saw a bit of Guinevere’s internal conflict arching into Selene’s own worried conscience – it is hard to embrace a gift you were given if after you’ve received it the war begins with yourself. However, back to the historical overlays – as this is set within a historic setting with the scope of detail I love from Historical Fiction, you immediately connect to Rook Castle. Even the name eludes to the Ravenwood women’s line of connection to the corvid they embody – it is quite the setting to explore – from the labyrinth corridors and the hidden passages which hold secrets of their own. Just to walk alongside Selene as she traverses her own home and the niches of solitude she attempts to seek out from it is a blessing.

It is quite chilling – this dreamwalking gift Selene has – as she’s forced to do her mother’s bidding – inflicting pain and terror into the people she felt they were meant to be protective of in their care (first the gardener, than a servant of her mother’s) she drew closer to understanding how twisted this gift could become if it continued to be used for nefarious purposes such as her mother was eluding her to believe. Yet, you rally behind Selene because she is of an independent mind – she is seeking the truth behind the legend of the gifting but also, the truer legacy of what being a dreamwalker was meant to entail all along. Sometimes it is best to walk backwards into the past – to see what came before you in order to better understand your purpose in the present; this is what I felt Selene was attempting to do. She didn’t have the knowledge of the past but she yearned to find it – to collect knowledge about the dreamwalkers but also the other Houses of this world where the darkness was strikingly real and where the evils of fate were clawing their way into her own spirit. She was a fighter but how long would the will to fight stay within her own soul?

Three sisters are entwined to this legacy of Ravenwood House – Selene, as a first bourne has the privilege or curse (if you will) of finding out the secrets their mother has kept from them first – however, her middle sister Amara is curiously adamant to follow in her footsteps as quickly as she can without the realisation of what that fever of intention would mean for her own conscience to either accept or reject. Their youngest sister Ophie is the more innocent of the three – perceived to be a mute, her innocence is full of the lightness the other two sisters do not own of themselves. They are too closely connected to their mother’s indoctrinated routines and thereby are walking closer to the shadows than their younger sister would feel comfortable within herself. It is a curious overlay to the story – how three sisters can grow in the same house and yet be remarkably different from one another from the inside out.

What is most gutting is the insurrection of Selene’s own soul – she is struggling to rectify the purpose of her family against her own will as a sentient being being crushed against a tidalwave of injustice stemming from her mother’s twisted sense of righteousness. There is a moment where you feel compelled to pause your readings of Mark of the Raven because of what is implied within one of the dreamscapes – it is the one affecting Renata, the maid Selene never wanted to interfere with through her dreams because of the closeness she feels towards her as a friend. If the two could be considered friends as there is a hierarchy in place within this world. Although the details of the girl’s attack is not graphically depicted it is hinted at in such a way as to give you the strong impression of what happened and why it happened when it did – thus, giving more gravity to the dreamwalking gift Selene is burdened with by her ancestral lineage. What is further wrecking is how Selene reacts to why her mother wanted her enter this girl’s dreamscape and what happens after she does – it is an awakening moment for Selene, one which re-shifts the power within her family but also draws a considerable line of absolutes for herself. You give her credit for finding courage out of chaos but the main concern I had reading this particular passage is the lack of control Selene experienced whilst attempting to right the wrongs of the past.

Grand Lord Damien has a conscience in-line with Selene – he is from the House of Maris (known as the Waters) wherein his gift is tied directly to the element of Water whilst his gift is as powerful as Selene he isn’t as accustomed to the strength it will wield if he chooses to use it. They share quite a heap in common on that front – each of them is burdened with a legacy not of their choosing and with a powerful evocation of that talent within them that they cannot always control. It speaks to the harder question about the world at large and how each of these Houses have their own issues with their own legacies. There is a hinting of war and a further disassociation with their lineage if they are to draw together rather than remain apart – as his entrance into the story reveals a few secreted truths thus left unknown.

What I enjoyed about this first installment is the foundation it set for the series – how we are gathering glimpses of the brewing war between the Houses and seeing the differences between what rules the Light and what rules through the Dark Lady. It is a series about the choices we make whilst we’re walking our path and the choices thrust upon us through unforeseen adversity. The path is always a clear one for each person to make – if you are honest with yourself, you can see the ways in which your path must align. That doesn’t mean to say there isn’t a darkness within this world (as there is) but it does mean the people in this world have a free will of their own to choose which path they desire to walk. In that, Busse has written a series which mirrors real life and the choices everyone must choose for themselves.

on the fantastical writing style of morgan l. busse:

When it comes to High Fantasy (ie. Epic Fantasy), Portal Fantasy and Quest Fantasy – I almost could presume to realise that Ms Busse was about to encompass everything I love from this triple threat of fantastical worlds due to how she places you inside her world. It isn’t just the fact this world feels older than the initial pages you’ve read, it is how she has chosen to let her characters peer at us from their regular habits – they are living their life and we’re observing their life from the outside. I love when writers have this authentic nature about their world-building to where you feel like you’ve slipped the veil and have re-emerged elsewhere; settling into a step with characters you dearly want to know more about and a world which although slightly curious round the edges has its own share of darkness.

Busse does a wonderful job of building the suspenseful arc surrounding the Ravenwood women’s predestined gifting – she has granted the reader an introspective viewing of what happens when you are not willing to blindly accept your fate but rather, with a thoughtful concern for what that fate might imply against your own better nature – to examine it and to sort out where your own allegiances lie within the sphere of the world you were bourne.

She makes you compelled to read the story if only to see where each of the characters are going to take their own stands because this isn’t a fate that you would wish upon yourself or anyone else. It is a question of morality and ethics, too – of what you might be willing to do for the sake of your family but if it goes against an inherent belief of yours? If it crosses that line in the sand where your conscience cannot justify the means of the gift – what do you do then? Its a good plotting to think over and to turn round on yourself whilst your examining the will of Busse’s characters to do the same even if they previously had just succumbed to what they were pushed to do.

Notations of being an #INSPYFantasy with realistic undertones:

This story deals with a lot of different themes and topics – from physical violence against women to the implications of manipulating people’s dreams whilst they are in REM sleep. The key elements of the story of course are threading through a lens of INSPY narrative – wherein you know the story is anchoured through a prism of light rather than the darkness afflicting its nature onto the characters as they each must choose which destiny they will either accept, refute or alter given the course of their own conscience choice in the matter affecting their lineage legacies.

You have to seek out the patterns of inspiration to see how this is an INSPY Fantasy novel as it has the markings of a traditional Quest and High Fantasy story arc – wherein the main question permeating through the novel is what choices will Selene make now that her destiny’s out in the open and the layers of its reach are known to her and her mother? It is not overtly INSPY in that there are distinct cross-overlays between Christianity and this fantastical world – there is a hint and a nod towards religion but it isn’t omnipresent in the narrative itself. Except for the concept of the soul and the journey of the soul – wherein is the most spirituality you’ll see as you walk through the story itself.

It is more of a thinking novel about the concepts of spirituality and the concepts of living against your moral fibre as a sentient being who has the conscience walk of the soul within you. The greatest battle of course is between the Dark Lady and the Light – of which you can draw your own conclusions about whom their representing and I loved Busse for giving readers that option of choice.

Having said that – there are realistic undertones of darkness and darker influences of behaviour running concurrent to the journey Selene and her sisters are being forced to walk. Their legacy of dreamwalking (and I would suspect others who are gifted in other ways, too) has become corroded against the good and embraced by the darker forces which seek to destroy the light – this is something that speaks volumes about how Busse has developed her world as it isn’t outwardly discussed per se but you can acknowledge the fight for these forces all the same.

Fantastical Elements:

→ Dreamwalking | Dreamwalkers (ie. Dreamers)

→ Shapeshifting

→ Inherited Gifts per each ancestral House (ie. Dreamers, Waters, Fire and Earth, Wisdom, Healing, Light and Courage)

→ Souls and their innate energies (loved the visual differences between good/evil)

As we are peering into this world through Selene’s journey as a dreamwalker – it is her gift we are first presented with understanding. The concept behind dreamwalking is a clever one but it has a hardened and twisted view of right and wrong; wherein the choice to sustain oneself in this world is brokered against the will of others who are not giving consent to what a dreamwalker can gain out of their dreams.

Part of the gift of dreamwalking is the controlling aspect of what that gift involves – where you can either influence a person to dream or to re-direct their focus towards the nightmares which live off their innermost fears – it is a crucial choice for dreamers to inflict emotion on those they entreat inside – it also a measure of ethics to will yourself to cause such influence and to become hardened against the choices therein.

One of the more beautiful visuals within the series is how the soul is represented. It was by far one of my favourite passages within Mark of the Raven and a critical glimpse I felt of where the writer’s impression on the story was centrally focused.

It is within the dreamscapes where the Ravenwood women can shapeshift – having read a lovely and beautiful collection of short stories featuring corvids – I can attest to how Busse has chosen to write about her chosen corvid the raven as being not only accurate towards their nature but it is the right choice of which bird the Ravenwood women should use as shifters.

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

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!Flight of the Raven
Subtitle: The Ravenwood Saga
by Morgan L. Busse
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. 

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady's offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764234125

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga

Series: Ravenwood Saga


Also in this series: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, High Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Dark Fantasy


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th April, 2019

Pages: 352

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Ravenwood Saga:

I am in LOVE with the cover art for this series!

Mark of the Raven by Morgan BusseFlight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Mark of the Raven (book one)

Flight of the Raven (book two)

→ *forthcoming next* : Cry of the Raven (book three) → February, 2020!

Converse via: #RavenwoodSaga, #FantasyNerd or #EpicFantasy
as well as #INSPYFantasy + #WyrdAndWonder

About Morgan L. Busse

Morgan Busse

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series, the Carol Award-winning steampunk series, Soul Chronicles, and the Ravenwood Saga, a new fantasy series from Bethany House coming November 2018. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

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:

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Posted Friday, 31 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, Prism Book Tours, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Supernatural Fiction, Sword & Scorcery