Genre: Historical-Fantasy

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | feat. #IndieFantasy novelist Kira Weston with “The Fighter of Aldea” the first installment in this trilogy!

Posted Tuesday, 25 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In  Spring (2019) I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Kira Weston – her s/o about the novel on Twitter was most enticing (see also tweet) but it was the premise which captured me the most – elemental sorcery, strong female lead, a world without electricity and the complexities of the relationships between the sorcerers and the humans! All knitted up together in a #YAFantasy which felt like a wicked good read if you ask me! The fact she was keenly open to sending out print copies of the novel touched my heart as not every author can send them.

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Fighter of Aldea” direct from the author Kira Weston in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: I received this novel for review in [2019] however due to five migraines throughout Wyrd And Wonder, I was unable to finish my readings in May. I re-attempted to read this during different portions of late Summer and mid-Autumn, finding myself unable to re-attach into the story. Fast forward through several months of migraines and illnesses (September-December, 2019) and the entire Spring of 2020 – it wasn’t until our 4th Wyrd And Wonder (May 2021) I could resume my readings of this novel with wicked sweet enjoyment! Thereby, over 25% of this was writ in May, 2019 and the rest was finalised in May, 2021.

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

Finding an entry of #YAFantasy during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

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ahead of accepting my #reviewpit selections
I enquired about the stories:

Whenever I am about to read a #newtomeauthor, I like to get a feel for their writing style and how they are approaching their genre of interest. It is part of my due diligence as a reader and as a book blogger – however, I do not always have the pleasure nor luxury of interacting with an author directly ahead of accepting a novel for review consideration. This is why the event #ReviewPit is such a wicked lovely idea – as it encourages direct communication between the novelist and the book blogger and/or reviewer.

I have the same general questions about all the STORIES I am keenly interested in reading – this was the series of questions I asked on behalf of Kira Weston who happily gave me a lovely response in return: The YA I love the most is writ clean without explicit vulgarity, overt sensuality and without graphic violence; I know some authors write those into their stories which makes me feel their more Upper YA than traditional YA; overall I’m not a fan despite a few exceptions to that rule where I read stories involving mental health or other harder topics.

Overall, I would say my book is pretty mild and would be considered more traditional than upper YA. There is nothing particularly vulgar or sensual in the novel, and the violence that is in the book (mostly battle violence) isn’t particularly graphic. I’ve had a few 13-year-old readers without any complaints/concerns from them or their parents.

I wanted to share with you my dear heart readers the information I was given per book during my #ReviewPit queries in case one of the lovelies I’ve been reading this #WyrdAndWonder is catching your own eye of curiosity! This way, you’ll see the process I went through to accept the stories and what I was most concerned about prior to reading them. As you can see – the author’s response on behalf of The Fighter of Aldea fell within my personal preferences and layers of acceptance.

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

Notation on Cover Art Design: 

The cover art really hones in on Lydia and how she wants herself to be known – she’s a fighter, yes, but her passion is for archery. I can understand her preference with a bow and arrow; as archery is a sport in of itself but also a challenge to the archer for both accuracy and power within the strength of how you use the bow itself. I liked the look of Lydia on the cover but also how this is a crucial piece of insight into the world she lives in as well.

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | feat. #IndieFantasy novelist Kira Weston with “The Fighter of Aldea” the first installment in this trilogy!The Fighter of Aldea
by Kira Weston
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

It’s the year 2216, and ever since Lydia Humsworth was little, she’s heard stories about electricity that used to light up skylines and planes that soared through the sky like birds. There were also stories about The Shift, which plunged the world into darkness nearly two hundred years ago and gave some people magical abilities. These people came to call themselves sorcerers.

Now, in the small village of Aldea, sixteen-year-old Lydia is training to be a Fighter in hopes of one day protecting her village. Her best friend, Daniel, spends his days working long hard hours on the farm. Humans and sorcerers have always seemed to coexist peacefully, but when a deranged sorcerer by the name of Leonardo Kinch starts a war against humans, nothing is as they believed.

When war rages across the country, Lydia and Daniel must do everything they can to stop Kinch and stay alive, or risk the human race falling into extinction.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781732254800

Published by Cool Cat Publishing

on 15th October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 364

Published by: Cool Cat Publishing

Discover MORE about this novel on the author’s site!

The sequel will be called: The Sorcerer of Vantana!

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Kira Weston

Kira Weston

Kira Weston writes Young Adult fiction, often day-dreaming the what-ifs of magic and science fiction, and how they might affect the world. Her debut novel, The Fighter of Aldea, is available now. Kira grew up in Las Vegas, NV under the hot sun and the distant lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip, and now resides in Colorado, which is much cooler—most of the time.

When she's not writing, she spends her time befriending cats, hoping for rain, drinking mochas, and listening to music.

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

a short extract from “The Fighter of Aldea”:

Quote The Fighter of Aldea provided by the author and is used with permission.

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Tuesday, 25 May, 2021 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Elves & the Elven, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Mythological Societies, Self-Published Author, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | a King Arthurian Historical Fantasy within “Bel Nemeton” (Book One: Bel Nemeton series) by Jon Black

Posted Monday, 24 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: The author approached me about this novel whilst I was preparing for #Mythothon (2019). At the time, I thought for sure I’d be able to read this novel as I was excited about reading stories involving another spin on Arthurian lore as I had read the Guinevere Trilogy by Nicole Evelina as much as I had read “Sign of the White Foal” by Chris Thorndycroft. Evelina took us through a Feminist portal into Arthurian lore focusing on Guinevere whilst Thorndycroft took a masculine perspective into Arthur himself. To follow those readings with “Bel Nemeton” which focuses on Merlin felt like the right ‘next read’ for me as I am completely caught inside this niche of interest when it comes to combining elements of Historical Fiction, Arthurian lore and Historical Fantasy.

For a variety of reasons, I was not able to read this when I expected nor was I able to read it during #WyrdAndWonder or #Mythothon (2020). This is why I slated it to be read this May, as it is the first May in four years where I’ve been migraine-free during Wyrd And Wonder. I knew it was time to soak into this story and see where Black was going to take us into this part of the continuing story set round Arthur and the rest of the characters we’ve come to know so dearly well.

I received a complimentary copy of “Bel Nemeton” by the author Jon Black in exchange for an honest review. I I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

What an interesting Wyrd And Wonder it has been this May, hasn’t it?

It has been quite a few years since I’ve had the chance to revisit my curiosity and interest in Arthurian lore and legend. I had intended to re-open this door during one of the past years’ #Mythothon, however, several cycles of @Mythothon have come and gone and I’ve not had the chance to pick up any stories even remotely mythological! I am hoping to change this come September as I plan to take part in #Mythothon once again wherein despite seeking out the group read for the RAL, I am also hoping to make progress into my readings of Norse Mythologies courtesy of this novel.

This month, I wanted to attempt to read some of the stories in my backlogue which are stories within the scope of what we love to celebrate during Wyrd And Wonder. Where genres can become bent into Fantasy and where the fantastical doesn’t have to be through a portal or dimensional shift but quietly sneak into the narrative – whether that is through Magical Realism or Historical Fantasy or another gentler route which gives just as much Fantasy for the reader as any other story. Those are the kinds of stories I was seeking out to read myself this month and I’ve found them looping back into the contemporary and modern world – as you’ve might have taken stock of  my readings for Cassandra and Tree Magic

Coming up lateron this week, will be my readings of the collective works of E. Chris Garrison wherein I get to read the final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tales (ie. “Mean Spirit”) and the next story set in the same universe “Trans Witch”. Those also parlay between Fantasy and our modern world – through the realms of Urban Fantasy whereas the other two selections relied more on Magical Realism to set their foundations.

For me, “Bel Nemeton” occupies the other side of the ledger, which is Historical Fantasy – wherein, most of the story is rooted in a time slip narrative shifting between the historical past and re-aligning us with our modern world today as an academic is in pursuit of the truth behind the archaeological discoveries being made now which reflect new interest in the 6th Century.

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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | a King Arthurian Historical Fantasy within “Bel Nemeton” (Book One: Bel Nemeton series) by Jon BlackBel Nemeton
by Jon Black
Source: Direct from Author

Jon Black’s award-winning novel Bel Nemeton combines 6th century Arthurian historical fantasy with brainy 21st century pulp.

After Arthur’s death, Camelot’s fall, and his final break with Nimue, Merlin of Camelot is left with only his thirst for knowledge, hunger for new experiences, and a desire to forget. The great druid and sage leaves Britain’s shores behind, wandering the world of the 6th century. Merlin’s travels take him to the wild unknown of Dark Ages Europe, a wizardly duel deep in the Arabian Desert, the exotic riches of the Silk Road, the pomp and pageantry of the Sui Emperor’s court, and beyond.

Fifteen centuries later, time has obliterated all traces of Merlin and his journey. Almost. A chance discovery at archeological excavation in Central Asia leaves Dr. Vivian Cuinnsey, professor of Celtic linguistics, wondering if Camelot’s great druid was more man than myth. Traveling to Uzbekistan to discover the truth for herself, she is immersed in a web of intrigue revealing there are those who will kill to learn Merlin’s secret. Teaming up with morally-ambiguous treasure hunter Jake Booker, they begin their own globe-trotting adventure, racing all comers to discover the location of Merlin’s tomb. And his treasure.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1946033055

Published by 18th Wall Publications

on 16th April, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 210

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The Bel Nemeton series:

Bel Nemeton (book one)

Caledfwlch (book two) ← pub’d 30th December, 2020!
( the name refers to Arthurs sword Excalibur)

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Published by: 18th Wall Publications

Converse via: #HistoricalFantasy, #BelNemeton
as well as #KingArthur & #WyrdAndWonder

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Monday, 24 May, 2021 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Arthurian Legend, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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

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

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

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

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

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Disenchanted” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working with the author on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8621445461

ASIN: B092FZFBVV

Published by The Parliament House

on 15th April, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 15 hours and 18 minutes (unabridged)

Pages: 456

Published by: The Parliament House (@parliamentbooks)

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

About Ms Brianna Sugalski

Brianna Sugalski

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

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

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

A #BoneShardDaughter RAL Discussion | #JorieReads “The Bone Shard Daughter” (Book One: The Drowning Empire) by Andrea Stewart [ Part I: Chapters 1-11 ]

Posted Sunday, 9 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Gifted Book By: I had borrowed “The Unbroken” from my local library thinking it was the readalong selection this year for Wyrd And Wonder; only it turnt out, the community decided to choose another novel “The Bone Shard Daughter” which was not purchased by my libraries. Imyril surprised me by gifting me a paperback copy in order to take part in my first Wyrd And Wonder RAL / readalong as every year it would seem the chosen books are not available in my local and regional libraries in order for me to borrow them to participate. I am sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this book and series for my own edification and I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

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Why I decided to read the interview:

The Fantasy Hive hosted a lovely interview with Andrea Stewart (see also the Interview) which explains a few things for me as I was curious about the constructs of this world as much as the constructs (ie. hybrid animals) which are a feature of the bone shard magic itself. I hadn’t connected all the dots yet – as I was still in the throes of the opening chapters, however, my first take on this story was apparently a bit off the mark. As I am used to bones being used as acts of divination (usually in stories which involve the paranormal or dark magic) or they are used to curate an awareness about the future or the past, depending on the person whose reading them. In that instance, I was interested in knowing how this world was built on that principle only to find out it went a different way altogether – to where the bones themselves are not used to read the past or the future but rather instead are used to curate a hybrid creature which responds to its creator by the use of the shards themselves.

Having read and watched films which involve AI technology, this was slightly disturbing on a variety of levels but moreso to the point, was the fact in this world they are cross-using different animals for their own devices and reasons. I wasn’t entirely sure if I was comfortable with that usage as generally speaking when it comes to animals, I’d rather they were left alone. I know this was also explored in the Spy Kids franchise of films – where certain animals were cross-matched and hybrids were produced of different species, including in miniature form but part of me questioned the reasons why they needed to explore those avenues.

In The Bone Shard Daughter, it seemed more for sport than for necessity or even an exploration of what science can yield in experimenting with husbandry of animals. Which is where I stumbled into my first issue with the book and its trajectory. This is why I sought out the interview and wanted to see what the author had to share herself about the foundations of her world-building and although she didn’t address all of my concerns, she did answer a few of the questions I had lingering in my mind as I was reading the opening sequences.

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#WyrdAndWonder readalong banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

The Bone Shard Daughter
Subtitle: The Drowning Empire : Book One
by Andrea Stewart
Source: Gifted

Genres: Historical-Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0316541435

Published by Orbit

on 30th March, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 496

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Published By: Orbit (@orbitbooks)
an imprint of Hachette Books UK & Little Brown & Company UK

Converse via: #SpecFic or #SpeculativeFiction, #Fantasy as well as #BoneShardDaughter

Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #BoneShardDaughter RAL 2021
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Posted Sunday, 9 May, 2021 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Speculative Fiction