Genre: Magical Realism

#EnterTheFantastic this #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review for “Heir to the Lamp” (Book One: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Posted Thursday, 9 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: A few years ago now, I started to review for World Weaver Press – until I reached the day where my focus on the stories I was receiving for review fell by the wayside. A lot of this had to do with my personal health, the recovery of my father’s stroke and other things which bring adversity into your life which can and will affect your readerly life. I cannot remember exactly what first took me away from reading “Heir to the Lamp” or the sequel “Solomon’s Bell” – however, I did attempt to read them at various moments throughout the past few years including shortly after I received “Solomon’s Bell” for which I posted a Cover Reveal and Extract.

This #WyrdAndWonder, I wanted to redeem myself a bit by getting back into the stories I attempted to read last year but due to the migraines and other issues I was having with my health, I was unable to complete my reading schedule for the event. This is one of the series I was most eager to read and am thankful I can finally focus on during our 2nd Year of Wyrd and Wonder. As I know there are other readers who are following or joining the event directly who appreciate Magical Realism and/or stories of the Jinn as much as I do. Perhaps they will find a new author through my ruminations and as always, I hope whenever I feature a story or anthology by World Weaver Press – word will continue to get out about this lovely Indie Publisher for Speculative Fiction!

I received a complimentary copy of “Heir to the Lamp” direct from the publisher World Weaver Press 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.

I admit it, ever since I met a ‘Golem’ & a ‘Jinni’, I’ve been intrigued by Magical Realism stories involving the Jinn!:

I must admit, I had such a wicked sweet time residing inside the world of Helene Wecker’s epic saga involving a Jinn and Golem, I was quite hopeful I might have been able to dig inside a few more since that fateful day I brought home her debut novel from my local library. The irony of course will not be lost on devout readers and bibliophiles alike who are now earnestly blogging their readerly lives (such as I am) when I state it took me until ‘now’ to find the proper time to give to another story of the Jinn – as we eagerly still await the sequel to Wecker’s novel.

When it comes to world-building in a Young Adult novel, I am quite particular about what I’m seeking out (if this YA review can clue you in a bit) as I like to feel as if I’ve properly been transported ‘elsewhere’ to such a degree of certainty – the experience knits itself into your mind’s eye and extends itself into your permanent memories. Because stories which give us that curious stretch of imaginative blissitude allow us the smallest of joys to step into the threshold of someone elses shoes and live their life for a spell!

I find myself drawn more into epic sagas & layered world-buildings in Fantasy; I have recently (since I’ve been a book blogger) found I lean more towards Science Fiction or Sci-Fantasy releases but at the heart of what I love most are Magical Realism stories alongside a fairy-tale re-telling, a legend of lore or an Epic Fantasy that simply carts you off into the depth of a novel that is so wickedly long in length you might need a month or so to fully invest yourself into it’s folds. (herein I am hinting towards my soon-to-be shared readings of “A Turn of Light”; writ by a favourite Sci-Fi author of mine: Ms Czerneda)

My appreciation of genies truly goes back to the infamous television series – where an astronaut and a genie fall in love whilst trying to ‘fit & blend into contemporary life’ – to such great folly you cannot help but laugh along with the characters or feel their misery when things go terribly wrong! Since then, I try to turn my eye towards literature and root out stories of the Jinn (and nowadays golems) which have the depth of journey and an honest world built out of their legends where story-crafters entreat to take us.

Thus, when I heard there was a sequel to “Heir to the Lamp”, I knew it was time to put aside my readings of Ms Parrish’s delish anthologies and hold off on the murderous kitchen novella, to see how Ms Combs has chosen to alight us inside her world!

-previously disclosed on the Cover Reveal w/ Notes for the sequel to Heir to the Lamp

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

#EnterTheFantastic this #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review for “Heir to the Lamp” (Book One: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery CombsHeir to the Lamp
Subtitle: Genie Chronicles Book One
by Michelle Lowery Combs
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Sarena Ulibarri
Source: Direct from Publisher

A family secret, a mysterious lamp, a dangerous Order with the mad desire to possess both. Ginn thinks she knows all there is to know about how she became adopted by parents whose number one priority is to embarrass her with public displays of affection, but that changes when a single wish starts a never-ending parade of weirdness marching through her door the day she turns thirteen. Gifted with a mysterious lamp and the missing pieces from her adoption story, Ginn tries to discover who…or what…she really is. That should be strange enough, but to top it off Ginn’s being hunted by the Order of the Grimoire, a secret society who’ll stop at nothing to harness the power of a real genie.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 9780615813424

Also by this author:

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism, YA Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by World Weaver Press

on 16th July, 2013

Pages: 190

Published By: World Weaver Press (@WorldWeaver_wwp)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

The Genie Chronicles series:

Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs

Genre(s): Speculative | Young Adult | Fantasy | Lore & Legends

the Jinn (or Jinnis or Genies) | Adoption

Similar Reads: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (see also Review)

About Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities.

When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group.

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 Thursday, 9 May, 2019 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Equality In Literature, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Speculative Fiction, World Weaver Press, Young Adult Fiction

Co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder | Year Two – #EnterTheFantastic with Jorie as she devours an eclectic array of FANTASY whilst seeking out her next wicked good read!

Posted Wednesday, 1 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 10 Comments

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Dragon – by kasana86 from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Dragon – by kasana86 from 123RF.com.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Welcome to *Wyrd & Wonder* – Imyril, Lisa and I have delightfully planned a wicked #awesomesauce month of FANTASY celebration for you! This marks our 2nd Year co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder and we couldn’t be happier knowing we have mor participants this 2nd Year as well as renewed interest in the events we’ve planned.

  • A book photo challenge which can be done daily, weekly and/or in any combination of exploration you can think of!
  • 2x Readalongs for those seeking community bookish discussions
  • A welcoming community of Fantasy appreciators across blogs | Twitter | #bookstagram & #booktube
  • Read our FULL Schedule & start where you feel led to join us

We have been dearly *excited!* about kicking off our 2nd annual *Wyrd & Wonder* as last year was a raving success inasmuch as our mini-event #SpooktasticReads – all the while able to generate (discussion) posts or other such lovelies which help us better understand what it is about this wondrously lovely genre which entices us to enter into its sweet folds of worlds & wonders!

I’ve been an appreciator of Fantasy since I was quite a young girl – in fact, there is a blurred line about what I first discovered – Science Fiction or Fantasy?

Do you remember how *excited!* you were about seeing “The Neverending Story” for the first time as much as the twentieth?

There is a certain layer of JOY bursting out of reading & watching stories of the fantastical – I personally, love seeing how the writers knit the world ‘behind’ the Quest, the Journey and the dramatic lives of the characters you are almost too excited to be ‘meeting’!

These are the worlds which dimensionally re-define what is plausible and second nature to our own world – whilst re-instill why we have a penchant for Science Fiction – because where Sci-Fi leaves off, Fantasy begins or rather, both sides of the Speculative realms can sometimes blur together, co-merge and re-bend how we feel about *Fiction!* overall!

The beauty of course, is in the possibilities – of finding the authors (such as the ones I previously listed on my landing page for our inaugural *Wyrd & Wonder*) and the stories which enrich our hearts & minds for what is fantastically able to be imagined. I love seeing writers ‘go further, pushing our minds to see what they see & endeavour us to consider possibilities far outside the norm’ as this is what entices all of us to read Fantasy.

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Posted Wednesday, 1 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Fantasy Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Blog Book Tour | A special scrapbook glimpse into an author’s tour & a review of “The Breedling and The Trickster” (Book Two: Element Odyssey series) by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: In 2016, I was on the blog tour via iRead Book Tours for the first novel in this series “The Breedling & the City in the Garden” wherein I reviewed the story but also hosted a guest author feature: an interview with Ms Bastian. It was a difficult time for me back then, as it was close to the time of my father’s stroke and thus, upon receiving the sequel, a lot of the back-story of the series was lost to me until I read the details over again which Ms Bastian thankfully etched into “The Breedling & the Trickster” to help re-establish our knowledge of her world. I was asked to participate on her Spring blog tour to run concurrent to her real-life book tour throughout the Mid-West.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Breedling & the Trickster” direct from the author Kimberlee Ann Bastian in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What I appreciated about reading “The Breedling and the City in the Garden”:

Such a curious opening sequence – where we meet quite the interesting two characters – of whom start to set the tone for the story itself. The Tales Teller is an interesting character because she embodies the history of the origins within her mind and is electrically charged through her emotional angst for not being able to contain herself when she’s feeling vexed; despite the curiously magical situations surrounding her – such as self-brewing calming vapors by an apothecarist whose own intentions are as masked as her own. From the angle of entrance into this world, we’re curious to know more about the original origins of the Elements and how everything was first spun into orbit before it outspun itself into chaos – there was an organisation shift and a purposeful distortion of order causing a catalyst of after effects.

The back history itself reads similar to Earth’s own origins – about how natural elements are as important as the mathematical language which speaks for the universal codes. Elemental magic and elemental biochemistry are quite fascinating sub-focuses in scientific history but it’s how these particular elements were divided and then segregated away from each other that was most telling in the opening chapter to prove how disportioned this particular world had become since it was first conceived. There are only four elements hanging in the balance: Flame (in lieu of Fire), Wind (in lieu of Air), Earth (as itself), and Sea (in lieu of Water) who are being manipulated to exist outside of their own natural instincts. The spirit realm or the area known as Heaven (otherwise known as Aether outside of religious thought) is not separated into a fifth element but rather drawn into Wind – as Wind was cast out into Heaven whereas Flame was sent to Hell. Bastian has created an abridged origins story for her world which runs parallel to contemporary understandings of religious history through the eye of spirituality with takeaways from natural religious orders and the Far East. Metal and Wood are sometimes additional elements used to speak to the origins of balance in the natural world, however, they were not highlighted in this story.

There are twofolds to the story – the organisational backstory of the Elements themselves and how they influence and effect life in human society. Those who exist in the Elemental side of the world have a certain structure of duties and expectations – they are sent with specific goals in mind to carry out the will of those of whom control their actions, but what they hadn’t expected is one of their own to go against their rules and draw his own conclusions about what his purpose in his life was going to be outside of their controlling mandate.

Although I knew going into reading this novel it was loosely based on the Irish folktale of Stingy Jack – the only mentions of the fellow is fleeting on the outskirts of where Buck and Charlie are moving the story forward – even the Elements themselves have taken a backseat, allowing what happens in Chicago to become center-point to the evolving drama. Not that this is necessarily a negative but I did find it quite interesting how much time was spent on developing Charlie’s character – he’s very much well-defined and fleshed out, whereas Buck is loosely patched together with only a few inklings of his heritage and origin pierced together from the opening to the short revelations he’s giving to Charlie or the reader; as part of his point of view is in the narrative itself. You almost have to ‘take out’ the folklore origin story and follow Charlie on his path – as he’s the main character of the novel, which surprised me in a way, as I thought it would be Buck (given the title) but instead, I found myself drawn more to Charlie’s plight than worrying about what would become of Buck at this junction until the last quarter of the novel.

This is where Bastian pulled together why Buck was different from others like him and why Charlie and the Priest Charlie befriended were so very important to Buck – each of them were providing Buck with one piece of a puzzle only he could solve. There are great forces of good and evil weaving around the evolving plot as it thickens in and out of preference to continue telling Charlie’s story. Charlie’s story is very much hinged to Buck’s in a way that surprised Buck in the end as it was not what he was expecting to be true. Bastian wants her readers to read between the lines inasmuch as pay attention to the details she’s giving out in measured installments – you can tell she spent a great deal of time setting the scope of the series whilst sorting out what needed to be present and what could wait to be seen lateron.

You find yourself pulled into a story of ethics and morals – of sorting through the will of one vs the will of the majority and who decides what is right for themselves. There is far more to this story than what you first think is going to be revealled because Buck is set on a journey towards understanding why he alone is set apart from his kin and how his evolution away from tradition is a marked fixture of how time is yielding to reveall something altogether new to the Elements who until this point in time were a bit dormant in power. Bastian has written a story that encourages you to think back on what was revealled and when each revelation changed the perception of each character affected by the hidden truths of her world.

-quoted from my review of The Breedling and the City in the Garden

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | A special scrapbook glimpse into an author’s tour & a review of “The Breedling and The Trickster” (Book Two: Element Odyssey series) by Kimberlee Ann BastianThe Breedling and the Trickster
Subtitle: The Element Odysseys : Book Two
by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Source: Direct from Author

“He was the lad who did it twice, tricked the Devil by a roll of the dice . . . He goes by the name of Stingy Jack; with a turnip lantern in hand to light his way through the black.”

For immortal soulcatcher Buck, acclimating to newfound freedom in 1934 Chicago would have been impossible if not for the selfless actions of Charlie Reese. Now separated from his mortal friend, Buck accepts a new mission: to save the Shepherdess, whose unclaimed soul will soon stand trial in his old world, Euxinus.

Buck must find the Shepherdess’ beloved, the infamous Trickster Stingy Jack, and convince him to testify on behalf of her soul. Furthermore, Buck must ensure Stingy Jack is worthy to stand as her witness. It’s no easy feat; Hades, sworn enemy of Stingy Jack, threatens to thwart Buck’s mission at every twist and turn in hopes of seizing the Shepherdess’ soul—and the secret she holds—for himself.

Set on a whirlwind path that leads him on an odyssey across the American Midwest, Buck must rely on untested skills while being ever mindful of his dangerous surroundings as he prepares himself for his return to the dark, desolate realm of Euxinus.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1634890885

Also by this author: The Breedling and the City in the Garden

Also in this series: The Breedling and the City in the Garden


Genres: Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism


Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

on 19th September, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 274

 Published By: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (@Wiseink)

The Element Odysseys series:

The Breedling and The City in the Garden byThe Breedling and the Trickster by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

The Breedling and the City in the Garden (Book One) | (see also Review)

The Breedling and the Trickster (Book Two)

The Breedling and the Shepherdess (Book Three) | → Winter 2019!

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. When she is not in her writer's room or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of her Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture. The Breedling and the City in the Garden is her debut novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event