Genre: Fantasy Fiction

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – in the conclusion of the trilogy “The End of Dreams” by Marcus Lee

Posted Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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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 “The End of Dreams” 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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My thoughts on behalf of “Tristan’s Folly”:

At the heart of the series is the love story of Maya and Taran – of how they found each other and how their love grew out of the battle to survive the oppressive overreach of Daleth. Theirs is a romance that is rooted out of their relationship having a strong foundation of friendship and the mutual respect they each shared for the others’ gift. Without each other by their side, I am quite sure they would not have survived as long as they have now as they have a way of renewing each others’ strength as much as they are the truer compliment of each other as well. You cannot help grieve alongside them when their fears and anxieties about the prospects of their future are revealled – of the checks and balances they undertake to better recognise their advantages and disadvantages to re-engage in war with Daleth and yet, find small measures of joy in renewing their affirmed love for each other as well. The ways in which Lee has presented their relationship’s growth throughout this sequel re-affirms why this series seeks to redirect the reader off the war itself and re-align the reader’s eye on the more important aspects of what life is meant to give everyone. It isn’t about conquest or war nor is it about the rise of power – there is a unifying will to seek out one singular part of our lives which redefines the purpose of all men (and women) and truly illuminates our purpose through the strongest light possible.

Yana’s efforts to insurrect her own footing into the confidences of those round her was a bit discomforting knowing that her intentions were without honour. She could have given more to their cause if she hadn’t turnt her back on what a more just person might have pursued. Her mind was stuck on one particular goal and whatever came next paled in her original plans to overturn a relationship she had no right to interfere against. It spoke to her truer nature and of how she never set out to establish her own path to walk. She was constantly conniving her way into measures of confidence and trust with those round her and yet, part of me questioned how she could ever find true happiness if her happiness was completely tethered to the destruction of joy in others.

The greater crust of the story is about the battles themselves – the art of warfare and of how those who fought for either Daleth or Tristan had to choose their actions wisely against the intelligence of their enemies. Neither side would admit defeat and both sides felt they had the upper hand against each other – to more or less extent, this was true but the greater issue is what this world would yield once the battles concluded. What could be left of a world where everyone was pitted against each other and where those in power had their own agendas to see through which contradicted the reasons why the men and women fought in this war?

The hardest part of the story of course are the attacks of conscience of the players in this war whom are not below undermining others free will in order to gain something themselves. They seek to take what they feel is rightly theirs when in reality, it never was theirs at all. This plays out continuously as two persons in this story are content to pine after what they cannot have and then in the end, choose to take what cannot be given freely. It is this under-thread of deceit which has the greatest power to change the course of the souls in the series because of how much their survival is connected to the war itself. Each battle won is a small step forward towards the freedom of the world and yet, some battles are not on the battlefield but held in closed quarters where people bank against their own soul for the prize they desire moreso than the life they breathe.

-quoted from my review of Tristan’s Folly

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On my connection to Marcus Lee: I first crossed paths with Lee during the blog tour for Kings & Daemons in August 2020. Being fellow writers and voracious readers – it felt like a natural extension of the first blog tour, we would have something to talk about together about this world being built within the series of the Gifted and the Cursed as well as outside of the series itself. We continued to ‘chat’ privately after the blog tour and then, shortly before the start of the second we reconnected finding we’re both at different junctions of our writerly careers. However, I withheld discussing my thoughts about the sequel until my review for the second blog tour was released.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Lee through our respective joy in being writers as well as enjoying discussing the merits of Speculative Fiction as it applies to Dark Fantasy. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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Notation on Cover Art: I am simply in love with the cover art for this book series –

#EnterTheFantastic | Enter the realms of “The Gifted and the Cursed” – in the conclusion of the trilogy “The End of Dreams” by Marcus LeeThe End of Dreams
Subtitle: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book Three)
by Marcus Lee
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

As Daleth the Witch-King and his horde ready themselves for the final battle, a small alliance prepares for a desperate last stand.
However, the alliance is weak and fractured, led by a king interested only in retaining his wealth and a lord commander consumed by his thirst for revenge. With a seemingly unbeatable army before them, invisible foes amongst them, and broken hearts between them, the alliance appears destined to fall.

Yet in these dark times, her light almost extinguished, a peasant huntress is soon to be queen. But if she can find what was lost, she might prove to be more powerful than two kings combined.

This war will bring about the end of dreams, but for whom, the gods have yet to decide.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8598984192

Also by this author: Kings and Daemons, Tristan's Folly

Also in this series: Kings and Daemons, Tristan's Folly


Published by Self Published

on 23rd January, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

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The Gifted and the Cursed Trilogy:

Kings and Daemons by Marcus LeeTristan's Folly by Marcus LeeThe End of Dreams by Marcus Lee

Kings & Daemons (book one) | see also Review

Tristan’s Folly (book two) | see also Review

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 Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Cosy Horror, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, High Fantasy, Horror-Lite, Immortals, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Storytellers on Tour, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Sword & Scorcery

An Indie Fantasy Book Spotlight and Extract | “Rising Shadows” (Book One: The Pillar of Creation) by Phillip Blackwater

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

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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.

As you might be aware if you’ve seen the tweet I posted on my @joriestory feeds earlier last week, there was a personal emergency which took me offline and became the reason why my blog was barely surfacing for the past week as well. Due to severe storms everyone is experiencing this new week as well as over the past weekend, I am sure having connectivity issues is something plaguing us all as book bloggers and tweeters alike. I wasn’t able to return to my blog until late Monday night, wherein I edited this featured spotlight for the blog tour and I was able to release my thoughts on behalf of a third installment on a Historical Fantasy trilogy I’ve been happily reading since last February! (ie. the Night Flyer trilogy by Edale Lane)

I had hoped to respin a meme post for Top Ten Tuesday today – however, my attentions were elsewhere and I needed to be with my family through this adverse time. Thereby I was grateful to Justine @ Storytellers on Tour for giving me the option to host this extended extract – as it is a bit longer than most and I decided as I place all extracts into a scroll box for easy reading for my visitors & readers alike – I felt this might be an extra special surprise for everyone! Plus, 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, as I kept it quite on the longer side of the ledger 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 of the battle scenes – some of which went into greater descriptive text than even I prefer as a reader whilst most of it I cut to trim it into an easier read for those following the blog tour.

This is the week I am starting to return to blogging and will eventually become more active on Twitter again as well. I appreciate your patience and for standing with me as I worked through the past week and was able to return at a point which worked best for me as a reader, book blogger and tweeter. Likewise, for those who are living through the incredible ice storms, power outages and blizzards – I pray you have power, food and plenty of heat to get you through the coming days and weeks ahead. If you’re browsing blogs to keep yourself entertained whilst you can’t get outside – I hope this blog tour might give you a reason to pick up a new Indie Fantasy author’s work.

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 “Rising Shadows”!

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An Indie Fantasy Book Spotlight and Extract | “Rising Shadows” (Book One: The Pillar of Creation) by Phillip BlackwaterRising Shadows
Subtitle: The Pillar of Creation
by Phillip Blackwater
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

As tension rises between the southern and northern nations of the small continent of Exitium in the world of Anteris, the Elves turn to their eastern neighbors, the Humans, for help. They wish to learn the ways of combat, which they are not accustomed to, for they have always wielded a power far greater than forged steel. The Shards of Creation, mystical artifacts of great and virtually infinite power, have always been their prized weapon, but times have changed. They now face the same threat as the Humans: the southern nation known as the Ethula.

Wariel Ritch, general of the Human army, will take upon his shoulders this burden. But when a shadow of a past long forgotten threatens what little stability is left in the world, he will have to leave everything behind to stop it. Medregal Tergrast, an Ethulan king, dead for a thousand years, plans his return to the world of the living to gain back his former glory and finally fulfill his destiny by gaining control of the Shards of Creation. But is he really the threat people make him out to be?

In the meantime, in the bowels of the Human Kingdom, the reign of Dana Crystaloak is put into jeopardy when people around her start questioning her decisions. If she falls, war could break out across all lands.

Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08H9PPGSK

Published by Self Published

on 1st September, 2020

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

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Read an Extract from this Novel:

RISING SHADOWS BY PHILLIP BLACKWATER

Excerpt

Wariel Ritch, general of the Human army, stood in the fields south of Baylin, capital of the Human Kingdom.

Flanked by two of his soldiers, the Ironfist twins, Edgard and Edward, he faced a group of roughly fifty Ethulan men who’d come north of their lands to pillage and plunder the Human citizens.

They were dressed in rags, torn and muddy, with most wielding the weapon of the Ethulas. The sleben, a metal handle with a single short blade attached resting on the top of their hands, was wrapped around their wrists with cloth for more stability.

It wasn’t a particularly efficient weapon, but served two clear purposes: it was cheap to make, and you had to get in close to fight, which the Ethulas preferred.

Wariel liked to stroll outside the main city. The air was fresher; there was a lot more greenery – and fewer people.

This morning though, he could have done without it.

On the other hand, if he had not been here, a lot of his kinsmen could have met a gruesome fate.

What was he, if not the protector of the citizens?

He wasn’t sure why the Ethulas stood immobile before him, until he looked at their faces and saw them taking in his armor. It was completely coated with a layer of gold, aside from the silver sigil of the griffin on its hind legs embedded in the middle of his cuirass, which shone like a beacon with the early rays of the sun.

“Leave now, return to your lands and never come back.”

He knew they wouldn’t. It was only for his conscience of the things that would come next.

They stopped contemplating his golden kit and raised their weapons. “If we go back now,” one of the Ethulan men said, “we might as well be dead.” The same Ethula pointed his sleben toward Wariel. “But your armor could solve all our problems. Hand it over.”

“Maybe you should step back, General,” Edward said. “There’s a lot of them.”

“I’m glad you care for my safety, Edward, but this is the first group of Ethulas to ever reach Baylin. I’m not moving.”

“You lot should be the ones running away,” Edgard said. “You don’t know who you’re messing with.”

Wariel glanced at the hot-tempered Edgard. The twins were a head taller than the average Human. Their nickname in the army, the Twin Towers, was an exact description of their size. It gave them a confidence most men didn’t have. Yet Wariel wanted nothing more right now than to have Edgard’s mouth sewn shut.

The group of Ethulan men took a step forward. Wariel grabbed the silver hilt of his sword, or his work tool as he had taken to calling it.

“Fifty against three? We’ll take our chances.”

“Three? Haven’t you noticed the city behind us?”

“We see it alright, but I think we can get that armor off you before anyone else shows up.”

As if to begin their lethal duel, a bell rang in the distance, signaling that the city guards were aware of the Ethulas’ presence.

The group of foreigners charged and the three Humans took a step back to firmly plant themselves to fight.

Wariel unsheathed his golden blade, grabbed his tower shield from his back, and took a breath of cold fresh air before closing his mouthguard.

His heartbeat was stable.

He was ready to do what he had been trained for.

 

 

Wariel followed the main road to Baylin, passing amongst the buildings outside of the capital, and entered the area of Lower Baylin through the main gate.

Both areas looked alike: buildings made of a mix of dark wood and rocks, usually two stories high. The roofs of the buildings, with prominent slopes, unloaded to the ground what snow had gripped to it until now.

People, dressed not much better than the Ethulas that had attacked, were packed in the streets. Some went about making purchases of either clothes or food, while others were hard at work, as if the morning’s attack had never happened.

From tailors and coopers, to butchers and bakers, every service the citizens needed was established here. The marketplace where the farmers could come to sell their products was at the center of it all. In this part of town also lived the less fortunate of the Humans.

Wariel passed through the area at a quick pace, the people making way before him. Seeing the citizens in such crude conditions made him ashamed every time he paraded before them in his golden armor. For the number of times he had done it though, most of them had stopped paying attention a long time ago.

He quickened his pace even more when the wretched smell of sweat and sickness, made its way back through his nostrils and filled his lungs once more.

Although winter had lasted longer this year, he found himself wishing it back again. He would take the cold over the smell anytime.

He glanced behind him, to the opened gates of the city. The green of the outside, which had provided him with a much-appreciated break from the stench, disappeared when the road veered right.

After a while on the main road, he felt the small uphill climb burning in his legs. At the end, a large tower loomed over both Lower and Higher Baylin, which lay on the other side of another gate and wall separating the city in two.

It was the Guard Tower, where most soldiers resided while in function in the city. Besides the tower and behind another wall, was another part of the city, closed off from both Lower and Higher Baylin, the Military Academy, where he had spent his early life training to become a soldier, and in which every soldier to be was trained.

He had come into the school at an early age, after his family had fallen prey to the Ethulas, as a lot of other families.

Sword and shield were all he knew.

Nostalgia and sadness filled him at the same moment every time he thought of that part of his life. He often wished for a simpler time, when his family had surrounded him, and the fate of the kingdom didn’t rest on his shoulders. Fate had decided otherwise: he had been chosen to protect every citizen, every family like his own who couldn’t defend themselves.

The guards stepped aside when he approached the gate between the two halves of the city and saluted him with a nod. Higher Baylin was a place reserved for nobles. Only the wealthiest and most prestigious of the Humans could afford to live there.

It was arduous for poor people to ascend in the ranks of the Human Kingdom. More often than not, they stayed in Lower Baylin or small villages all their lives.

Mainzyr, second city in importance in the Human Kingdom, fared no better. Nobility was even rarer, and most citizens worked in mines, sweating, picking and pulling iron ore from the eastern mountains.

With unlikely prospects for bettering their future, Humans were starting to embrace the independent city of Al Fizyr, west of Baylin. Even if religion spoke greatly against migrating there, more people chose this avenue every year.

As Wariel made his way through the gate and into Higher Baylin, a delegation of Elves walked past him. They were accompanied by the queen’s advisor and some of her guards.

The general stopped, perplexed, to take a good look and make sure he wasn’t day-dreaming. One of the Elves wore a white robe, while the others were wearing simple chainmail and leather.

Elves didn’t usually leave the comfort of their kingdom unless they had good reasons. Their famous Shards of Creation were supposed to provide everything they needed. He had heard rumors that a group of them had entered the city a few days prior, but had dismissed the idea, pinning it on gossip.

What could they be doing here? The Elves cared for nobody, and nobody cared for the Elves, not even Wariel. He even heard that the Elves braided their hair simply to show their pointy ears so they wouldn’t be mistaken for another race.

Their presence here foreboded nothing good.

Wariel picked up his walk again. He was already on his way to meet with the queen. She would know why they were here.

Lost in his thoughts, trying to figure out what the self-proclaimed almighty Elves were doing here, he barely noticed a large shadow passing over him.

He continued until he reached the Town Square, the market area of Higher Baylin, where the shadow appeared again and he looked up to find a large griffin circling above. If it was so far away from its natural habitat, the northern cliffs and the island named after them, it meant it was probably the young griffin tamer who had come and gone a few times.

He had taken to flying to the various cities showing off his pet griffin, trying to get a few coins from it. Wariel should have probably stopped him from bringing his wild animal into cities long ago, but what was he supposed to do? Times were hard: there was an overabundance of people for the few available trades. The poor bugger was simply trying to make a living, and it distracted the people from the difficult times. They didn’t need more people leaving for Al Fizyr.

Wariel looked down again. A delegation of soldiers was approaching. The white cloaks they wore were the official sign of the queen’s guard. The two soldiers in front stepped aside and Dana Crystaloak, queen of the Humans, was revealed amongst them.

His heart jumped. Every time he saw her, a smile crept on the corner of his lips and his eyes gleamed. Whatever bad things had happened in his day, it always went away.

The queen was wearing her usual puffy dark red and white dress, with golden laces tying it in the front and back. Her shimmering pale blond hair, resembling silver, was majestically raised on her head in a bundle, her crystal crown placed amongst it.

Her crown, a gift from the Elves on the day of her coronation, was entirely made of crystal. In a way, it looked like an oak. The rim resting on her head was made of interlaced lines imitating roots. The lines, after completing the rim, went up in the front, conglomerating into a trunk.  It continued up, splitting into branches and some diamonds, ornated here and there, imitated leaves. It represented her family name well, though it had been decided long before her.

Her eyes, green as a summer forest, fixed Wariel, and a smile crept upon her face too.

Before she or Wariel could speak, a dozen people, only slightly better dressed than the ones in Lower Baylin, rushed in from all around.

“It’s the queen!”

The citizens fell to their knees where the queen had walked moments before. They tried to scoop mud and dirt from where she had walked, and what they could gather they would hold on to for dear life.

It was said that the Guide, the goddess of the Human religion, had come down from the sky riding a griffin to lay a baby girl at the feet of the first Humans. She had grown to become the first queen, and all first daughters after her were to be queens also, directly descending from the Guide.

While the griffin had lost its religious connotation and found new meaning as the Human sigil, the queen was still very much revered by the people, even though she played no active part in the Church’s activities.

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as well as #storytellersontour & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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

A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | feat. the thrilling conclusion within the pages of “Chaos in Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Three) by Edale Lane

Posted Monday, 15 February, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: When I first started book blogging in [2013] one of my first touring companies to work with was Tomorrow Comes Media who worked in conjunction with Seventh Star Press (an Indie publisher of Speculative Fiction) whilst featuring other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour hostess with Tomorrow Comes Media and enjoy getting to read a wide range of Speculative Fiction across Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres of interest. Sometimes the stories are genre-benders and/or they’re embracing the beauty of #SpecLit to such a degree they are their own unique niche in the larger expanse of the genre itself. 2020 marks my seventh year hosting for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press respectively.

I received a complimentary copy of “Chaos in Milan” direct from the author Edale Lane in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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And, for the new visitors & readers alighting on this review –
You might be curious what drew me into the Night Flyer Trilogy:

One of the highlights for me during the turmultous 2020 year of reading was the DISCOVERY of Edale Lane and her Night Flyer trilogy! I kid you not – it was one of the most engaging & layered Historical Fantasies I’ve read in recent years whilst it was wickedly historical in scope and even brought forth a variant of impressioning Leonardo da Vinci into the background of a series he isn’t technically physically present inside! And, yet,… dear hearts, he is evermore a part of this trilogy!

I originally crossed paths with Ms Lane early-on in February, 2020 wherein I first started my journey into her Night Flyer trilogy and of whom has written such a convicting slow-burn Historical Romance set within a Renaissance Fantasy world. And, that dear hearts – right there is the heart of the series itself – how one author can curate such a convicting premise & carry it through a trilogy you’re not sure you’re even prepared to see END and give us a thirst of excitement about what the ‘finale’ and final installment will mean for the characters we’ve come to know so dearly well!!

I first discovered her style of writing whilst I read “Merchants of Milan”. I anchoured the delightful #vlog interview I shared after my readings of “Merchants of Milan” with my ruminative thoughts of “Secrets of Milan” and a follow-up interview on behalf of the second installment as well.

Meanwhile, If you haven’t yet seen the lovely in-depth #behindthebook featured guest essay Ms Lane contributed to my stop on her tour with OWI – kindly take a moment to visit her words to find out how Art History and research into the world of art played such a strong role in how she developed the background of this series! This blog tour was a bit of a preview of what would come next during the Tomorrow Comes Media tour (for “Secrets of Milan”) which is why I was thankful to be a part of both tours and have the chance to feature this author on five separate occasions whilst helping to relate to my readers why I am enjoying her stories and why they ought to consider placing her trilogy on their #nextreads list!

Oh! And, not to mention I nominated AND advocated for “Merchants of Milan” as one of the books to be added into the library during a library drive during September, 2020! And, for those of whom missed my End of the Year Survey – you might want to open this TWEET!

However, we also had a delightful time meeting up with each other in 2020, too! It was the first year where I could meet an author I had loved reading and appreciated the conversation we shared, the memories we had over lunch and the joys of being a reader in a time and age where writers like to meet their readers on the spur of when their lives can intersect with each other!

To continue hosting this author via Tomorrow Comes Media has been a delight of joy – as they truly champion Indie Authors and Indie Publishers. It felt right to celebrate this third and final (?) installment of the series with TCM as the story comes to its natural conclusion. Or does it? I know there is a question mark if this is indeed the final story of the Night Flyer series – something I will be addressing after my review in regards to what my takeaways are about this series extending itself past the first trilogy and where I hope the series could go from where we’ve concluded this sequencing of the story itself.

If you’ve been privy to all the posts as they alighted on my blog last year, you know what you’re bracing for in the finale as much as I do! I am quite eager to see if I’ve unearthed whom is whom behind the whole conspiratorial plot as much as I want to see how Lane has knitted together all the fragments and tangents of the story overall! She has such a creative mind and an ingenious way of fusing it all together – just to see the final showdown (or is it?) happen is going to be EPIC.

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For those of you whom are new to Jorie Loves A Story,
let me share a bit about why I loved reading the Night Flyer trilogy by way of Secrets of Milan:

One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed reading this trilogy by Ms Lane is how she’s chosen to merge Historical details from our own living histories of the Renaissance into a new timeline of where Historical Fantasy can cross-sect with known History. In this way, we’re re-peering into the Renaissance through the eyes of a keen researcher who knows how to insert historical details which align with her fantastical elements (such as the Night Flyer). The series itself is definitely a succession of sociological observation and intrigue – in how she chooses to lay a firm hand on the behaviours and choices of her characters (lead, supporting and even the villain’s!) to where she orchestrates this lovely symphony of drama percolating through the series.

There are even moments wherein I learnt more about History and the ways in which History afforded certain allowances for women (both in the freedom of pursuing business to how the structure of society had been laid out) through reading this series and of which I will highlight within our conversation when I share my follow-up interview with Ms Lane on the 6th of July. This is another reason why I love reading Historical Fiction (overall) as it let’s you tuck close to the historic past and re-see those historical eras with finite detail you might have either overlooked elsewhere or been unable to find.

The human condition is definitely explored throughout the Night Flyer trilogy – however, in this instance, for the sequel I felt Lane did a wonderful job of giving us a more introspective response to the continuing events which are shaping her characters’ lives. She choose to take us deeper into the heart of what is fuelling Maddie’s quandary over embracing newfound happiness and romance whilst at the same time she presented us with a morally gray character who was seeking his own redemption for a life he felt was forfeited. It is through these new insights on behalf of her characters we start to see the greater picture of the series itself – not just the intrigue about the unknown but how her characters are shaping the trilogy and how the trilogy is being built behind them.

A special treat of this installment I felt was the inclusion of the Christmastide celebrations of Renaissance Milan! You get to see the traditions and the cultural or religious ways in which people would celebrate the Christmas season as a reflection of the era but also a reflection of how despite everything going on in their lives, Christmas did not take a hiatus from arriving. They each had to find ways to both acknowledge Christmas and either make peace with the holiday on arrival or find ways to muddle their way through it. I loved those details because Christmas has always been a special holiday for me and my family; as it was one of those holidays where traditions were constantly passed down, cherished and celebrated.

I was not quite prepared for how Secrets of Milan concludes because it owns to the title – wherein there are far more secrets afloat in the series now than there were previously! Including one that I felt would be difficult for Florentina to maintain as it might drive a wench in her relationship with Maddie – time will of course tell in that regard but for me personally, I loved how this one concluded because it honed in on the heart of the series – giving us more time to spend with Florentina and Maddie as their relationship drew closer together and allowed us further chance to peer into this hidden dark world Florentina is bent on exposing. Towards that end, the tenacles of how this secret world interacts with society is more intricate than a spider’s web and far more deadlier than a black widow.

-quoted from my book review for Secrets of Milan

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A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | feat. the thrilling conclusion within the pages of “Chaos in Milan” (Night Flyer Trilogy, Book Three) by Edale LaneChaos in Milan
Subtitle: Book Three of the Night Flyer Trilogy
by Ms Edale Lane, Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Author

One woman stands between chaos and order – the Night Flyer.

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them. The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?

Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like action and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a sweet romance, then you’ll want to complete the Night Flyer saga.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, LGBTQIA Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8578153334

Also by this author: Merchants of Milan, (Video) Interview feat. Edale Lane (Merchants of Milan), Secrets of Milan (Guest Post by Author), Secrets of Milan, Secrets of Milan (Interview)

Also in this series: Merchants of Milan, Secrets of Milan


Published by Past & Prologue Press

on 8th December, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 246

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Merchants of Milan by Edale LaneSecrets of Milan by Edale LaneChaos in Milan by Edale Lane

The Night Flyer trilogy:

Merchants of Milan (book one) | see also Review

Secrets of Milan (book two) | see also Review

Chaos in Milan (book three)

Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Alternative History,
as well as Renaissance (time period), Action and Adventure, Superhero Fiction

Identities represented: F/F Romance, Lesbian friendship/relationships

Converse via: #WyrdAndWonder, #HistoricalFantasy, #SapphicFiction,
#SpeculativeFiction, #LGBTQ and #NightFlyerTrilogy with #EdaleLane

About Ms Edale Lane

Edale Lane

Edale Lane is the author of an award winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 15 February, 2021 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, #JorieLovesIndies, Blog Tour Host, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fantasy, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Self-Published Author, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Vulgarity in Literature

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review | Exploring the first installment of the Light of Faerie series within “Fly Free” by Allison Rose

Posted Wednesday, 13 January, 2021 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#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 “Fly Free” direct from the author Allison Rose in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What initially drew me into “Fly Free”:

I’ve been delving into the realms of the fey ever since I became a book blogger as I knew I wanted to explore Fantasy more than I had before I blogged. For me, Speculative Fiction was a harder branch of literature to explore as a non-blogger because of the overwhelming stigma attached to girls’ who love reading it. I would run into hurdles at bookstores to seek out new voices in Speculative Fiction whilst other readers themselves never seemed inclined to think girls’ should be reading Fantasy; almost like it was exclusively a male-dominated genre of stories! Never one to let anything deter me, I trudged on with my own wanderings in the genre but what I was missing were the Independent voices of SpecFic – of which have fast become my favourites to read as a book blogger and as a reader!

Whilst book blogging opened the door wider for me to dive into genres of interest, it also presented a unique new issue of sorting out what kinds of stories within those genres I love to read I most wanted to explore. Finding literature about faeries has been a unique journey – from the Tipsy Fairy Tales by E. Chris Garrison to my discovery of #OctoberDaye and my first fey-centred Fantasy Romance by H.L. Burke!

I realise the October Daye series isn’t an Indie Fantasy series – however, as I read stories by all routes of publishing, I have found when I tabulate how many stories I read by Indie voices of genres I love against traditionally published authors – the Indie side of the ledger tends to yield a larger number of #booklove from me! Hence why I love hosting Indie authors of Fantasy during an event celebrating Fantasy I happily co-host every May called @WyrdAndWonder!

I first learnt about the two courts of the fey (generally referred to as the Seelie & Unseelie) when I read the anthology A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Concurrent to this, I also borrowed a few books from my library about the seelie and unseelie courts but those stories were a bit too dark for me to appreciate whilst the concept of the fey and their courts never fully left me. Which is why I had to smirk when I picked up my first October Daye novel, it was by extension re-examining the fey from a wholly different perspective than the one I had become attached to inside the Tipsy Fairy Tales!

You could say, a lovely niche I love to explore within Fantasy is the world of the fey and faerie and that is why dear hearts, I jumped at the chance to read this lovely novel by Allison Rose! Meanwhile, I have the final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tales I’ll be reading this New Year 2021 (ie. Mean Spirit) whilst I will also be picking up where I left off with the October Daye series as well – as lo and behold, my local library completely surprised me and *bought!* the whole series!!

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#EnterTheFantastic Book Review | Exploring the first installment of the Light of Faerie series within “Fly Free” by Allison RoseFly Free
Subtitle: Light of the Faerie : Part One
by Allison Rose
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

In the land of Faerie, lies are easily disguised as truths.

They were raised like sisters, the heir to the Court of the Day and her guardian.

And as rebellion darkens the land of the Day—and the faeries of Court fall under a dark magic that disconnects them from the land, dooming them to a slow, agonizing death—they will question all they know to be true.

Sevelle, the Light of the Day, is destined to rule one day. She possesses a rare form of magic, the ability to heal the powerful connection between faeries and the magic in the land, the connection that gives them life—if only she could figure out how to use this magic, or even find it within herself.

Jae lives in the shadows, watching over Sevelle as her guardian and listening to the whispers of Court brought to her by the winds. She longs for a life outside of Court, but knows her duty to Sevelle is more important than her own desires.

But when an unexpected proposition comes from none other than Lex, son of the rebel leader, Sevelle and Jae realize their lives will never be the same—and that evil may be within their own court more so than in the rebels that oppose them.

Walking paths far different than they imagined separates the sisters, but then a secret is revealed that may break them apart forever.

Fly Free is the first installment of the Light of Faerie series. Enter a land of magic in the midst of a power struggle, where all is not as it seems and love may be found in the most unlikely places.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, YA Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1733077651

Published by Allison Rose Creations

on 17th September, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 250

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This is the first installment of the Light of Faerie series!

This is a Self-Published novel and series!

Converse via: #Fantasy, #YAFantasy or #Fey, #Faerie
as well as #StorytellersOnTour #  & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

About Allison Rose

Allison Rose

Driven by a lifelong passion for words and reading fantasy novels, award-winning author Allison Rose writes YA fantasy stories featuring faeries, magic, and strong heroines. She has a BA in psychology and is fascinated by how other people think, but her love for reading and writing is greater. When Allison isn’t writing, she is editing and proofreading the works of others. Allison lives with her husband, collie mix, bunny, and chinchilla in the place of wild weather also known as Buffalo, New York.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
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Posted Wednesday, 13 January, 2021 by jorielov in #EnterTheFantastic, Blog Tour Host, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Faeries & the Fey, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Storytellers on Tour, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, YA Fantasy

Happily hosting my second #TheWriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour | showcasing “Amari and the Night Brothers” (Supernatural Investigations, Book One) by B.B. Alston

Posted Wednesday, 30 December, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 1 Comment

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might be curious where Jorie’s been since the days leading into Christmas,… I had a lot of lovely plans of how I wanted to round out the year – stories I earmarked to read, a series I wanted to showcase Christmas week and weekend as much as a few final posts I was looking forward to composing in order to properly send out the year with a bit of a glow of joy rather than the angst I had felt off/on throughout 2020.

However, as Christmas and New Year’s weeks turnt into a working fortnight for my Mum rather than the first bout of holidays wherein Mum would be able to spend the hours with us as a family – you could say I was the busiest elf behind the holidays this year! I felt like I had lived through most of the hours Mum worked as she totalled nearly (or even surpassed) 112 hours in less than two weeks by the time her hours conclude on New Year’s Day! She was the only one who could accept emergency holiday shifts and as thankful as we were for the increase in hours – Dad and I missed having her for Christmas and we’ll be celebrating separately for New Year’s this year as well.

Due to the shift in what we were doing this year and how those upturnt hours left me fatigued and exhausted – I haven’t picked up a book in more than three weeks, nor have I sorted out anything on my blog in over two – if you wanted my updates, they were flickering into my tweets, as I did manage to microblog my Christmas. I decided to re-shift my #yearendreads into a New Year’s readathon courtesy of Mum’s emergency shifts New Year’s Eve & Day, whilst I am hoping to release some posts to conclude my thoughts about the past year on Jorie Loves A Story, too.

Today – I have the pleasure of showcasing a new book which I am quite sure by now with #TheWriteReads blog tour in full swing is on everyone’s bookish radar – is a new Middle Grade Fantasy novel I’m wicked excited about having in my hands to read, too! It can take me half of forever to find the kinds of Fantasy stories I want to read because I’m not really into all the topical Fantasy series (save Harry Potter) as I tend to read a predominately high level of Indie Fantasy authors, such as this year’s Esme’s Wish.

In fact, I read another Indie Fantasy novelist (Owen Crane) this year for Wyrd And Wonder (@WyrdAndWonder) as much as I showcased interviews with Indie Fantasy novelists as well for the event. Indie Fantasy (and all the stories within the Speculative realms) is where my readerly heart tends to lie these last years due to how Indie authors are writing stories I not only *devour!* but they are told in a way which appeals to my fantastical sensibility especially if you consider the adult side of the ledger with the Tipsy Fairy Tales by E. Chris Garrison: Blue Spirit, Restless Spirit and my forthcoming review of Mean Spirit.

Yet, what drew me into this world of #AmariAndTheNightBrothers is simply the breadth of the world-building in the description of the book! I love Fantasy stories which give you a proper sense of themselves at the jump point and build this wicked sweet layer of anticipation prior to reading the story itself. I am hopeful my library will buy a copy of this lovely story and I’ll be able to read it come January when its released! I did enter the bookaway by the author but as I hadn’t heard from him, I’m presuming those copies went to other readers. Thereby, enjoy the bits I’ve found online to help introduce you to *Amari!* and let’s get ourselves wicked happy for a lovely NEW YEAR full of fantastical reads!!

I love being part of the community of #TheWriteReads and I hope in future to continue hosting the authors on their blog tours – I keep an eye out on the stories I most desire to be reading in order to host a guest feature as print copies are a bit rare for these tours to request. I love hosting the conversations because it helps me feel a bit more rooted in the stories and I hope you’ll have the same takeaway yourself. Although when a conversation isn’t available to host, I like featuring the stories themselves to help give them a signal boost in case one of my readers and followers hasn’t yet discovered the story (or series) which has caught my bookish eye!

Brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy the book trailer!

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Happily hosting my second #TheWriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour | showcasing “Amari and the Night Brothers” (Supernatural Investigations, Book One) by B.B. AlstonAmari and the Night Brothers
by B.B. Alston
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Brittany Jackson

Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle Grade Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0062975164

Published by Balzer and Bray, Egmont Books

on 19th January, 2021

Published by: Egmont Books (@egmontbooksuk)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers UK

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This is the first installment of a trilogy!

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Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #Fantasy, #Paranormal #MiddleGrade or #MGLit
as well as #TheWriteReads & #AmariAndTheNightBrothers

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Posted Wednesday, 30 December, 2020 by jorielov in #TheWriteReads, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction