Genre: Mythological Fantasy

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Esme’s Wish” (Esme’s Series Trilogy: Book One) by Elizabeth Foster

Posted Saturday, 30 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I first heard from Odyssey Books late last year, however, the timing of accepting their review request for “The Monster Apprentice” wasn’t the best timing for me due to my health and my migraines. As I was setting to mind what I wanted to do for Wyrd And Wonder this year, I decided to reach out to the publisher to see if I could schedule guest author features and perhaps finally accept the chance to read and review “The Monster Apprentice”. I was thankful I could put together a mixture of guest features (guest posts and interviews) as well as two reviews for this Indie publisher in New Zealand. This marks my second book review and I am humbled in joy for the conversations and the stories I’ve discovered this 3rd Year of Wyrd And Wonder through Odyssey Books!

I received a complimentary copy of “Esme’s Wish” direct from the author Elizabeth Foster and the publisher Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What truly attracted me to read “Esme’s Wish”:

I was caught up in the essence of where this novel could take me as a reader – I love poetic stories which seek to give us something wonderful from their stories. I have been enjoying my journey back into Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction – however, most of the stories I enjoy the most from those branches of literature are within the Speculative realms. Writers who are writing #SpecLit for these readers are truly tapping into a beautiful vision of how Science Fiction and/or Fantasy can be imagined – whilst giving us layered stories in which to feel we’ve lived elsewhere for a short spell outside our own living experiences.

I knew this was going to become an emotional read for me – the heart of the story, even before reading it is a daughter’s search for her Mum; in different ways in how a daughter can look for her Mum whilst dealing with the realities of having this chasm of ambiguous loss between what Esme remembers from the past and where she currently finds herself in the future. Esme doesn’t remember exactly what became of her Mum – only that she knows others treat her mother’s absence as if she died and despite the tragedy of that moment, they’ve chosen to move on. Yet for Esme how can you move on when you cannot reconcile the past?

This story I felt would be an entry into how Urban Fantasy can feel wonderfully grounded in a contemporary lifestyle and yet, have small touches of the fantastical slowly take over the scope and depth of where the story can take the reader. This gentle hand in guiding us forward into the Esme’s Series is what I loved more about Foster’s writing style. She gives you such a firm grounding of place and setting – of allowing us to better understand her characters and then, she takes us on this wild adventure we simply are better for having experienced. This is why I wanted to read Esme’s Wish and this is why I am wicked thankful it became a part of my #WyrdAndWonder journey this 3rd Year!

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Two things I was attempting to do differently this year is to participate more in the #WyrdAndWonder Challenge (wherein I could take photos and share them on #bookTwitter) but I also wanted to create posts outside reviews & guest features. As the month wore on I realised the few times I was able to respond to the challenge prompts and the vlog video I had made featuring my #bookmail for #WyrdAndWonder might be all I would be able to contribute this year. I am most proud about how this turnt out as I have only released a handful of these so far overall!

I put together a short teaser of a #booktube #vlog #unboxing video which I shared on Twitter. I had a most delightful time answering one of the #WyrdAndWonder challenge prompts which was “The Best Things Come in Threes”.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Esme’s Wish” (Esme’s Series Trilogy: Book One) by Elizabeth FosterEsme's Wish
by Elizabeth Foster
Source: Direct from Author

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Genres: Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1925652246

Published by Odyssey Books

on 30th October, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 252

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

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Esme’s Series (trilogy):

Esme’s Wish (book one)

Esme’s Gift (book two)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #EsmesWish, #YALit, #YAFantasy
as well as #YoungAdult; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy and #WyrdAndWonder

About Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 30 May, 2020 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythology, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Portal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Showcase in [cycles of six] Reviews | The journey Jorie takes into the world of “Cycles of Mythology” by Glenn Searfoss feat. [Cycle One]

Posted Thursday, 28 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.Acquired Book By: I was approached in late August 2019 – just ahead of #Mythothon Year 2 to consider reviewing a tome of a book (over 800+ pages) regarding Norse Mythology. At the time the book review request came into my blog, I must admit, I was slightly *gobsmacked!* at the timing of it – as how could a book such as this about the very topic of discovery I was about embark on during September come into my Review Requests? I considered it writ in the runes as they say – eagerly excited about what the book would reveal to me about the Norse Mythologies but also, the challenge of reading, dissecting and blogging about a book separated into six distinctive sections called “cycles”.

Initially, I had projected to read and review this work of fictional excellence within the month of September, however, due to unforeseen illness and a severe migraine; I re-grouped and realised I needed three months not thirty days! I also re-planned how I would attack reading and reviewing this book – as per each ‘cycle’ of the story, there was loads to ruminate over and discuss with my readers – therefore, this is a review in [six] installments – where each ‘cycle’ in the book itself is a separate review [similar to when I read serial fiction?] and it will be anchoured with a Q&A at the beginning of my readings [featuring nine questions, one per post featured in this series of showcases]; a more extensive interview at the conclusion of my readings [featuring 20 questions] and a cumulative review wherein I will re-address each of the cycles (and their reviews) whilst talking about what truly resonated with the book overall as the whole story will have become revealled to me at that junction.

My health proved to be a stumbling block I could not circumvent in late 2019 – I had two months of migraines and two months of illness to shift through to where focusing on Non-Fiction and headier reads like this one were not going to work out very well for me. It wasn’t until May, where I felt I could re-settle into the context of the story and truly honour the text with reviews I had originally planned to write on its behalf where I felt renewed to re-attempt my original goals of sequencing the reviews into six installments whilst interviewing the author at the end of finishing the book and giving my overall impression of what I had read. Sometimes you have to let life be lived before you can return to something you were enjoying to read – such as this lovely book I received last year.

I received a complimentary copy of “Cycles of Norse Mythology” direct from the author Glenn Searfoss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The mood I created for myself as I read:

Regular followers who actively read Jorie Loves A Story will have denoted a section on my reviews where I talk about the playlists I listen to on a variety of platforms – from Spotify (my first choice), Pandora (my secondary choice), iHeartRadio (a distant third) and when I was able to have a subscription Hearts of Space programmes which I originally discovered on analogue radio broadcasts. If I could ever remember the Sunday Playlists are *free!* to stream via Hearts of Space – I could soak into their beautiful soundscapes which feature ambient and trance electronica.

As I was embarking on a reader’s odyssey into a wholly new dimension of a) literature and b) Mythology – in the Classical study of the field – I opted to use Spotify due to the choices the platform affords readers who are seeking a personalised soundscape as they’re reading. I’ve mentioned this previously on different reviews – how I equate the components of a novel or work of Non-Fiction with the sounds, tones, lyrics or non-lyrics, classical orchestrations or other experimental sound environs which are either contemporary, classic or somewhere betwixt the two – either featuring stateside artists or stepping through the window into the world’s musical stage. In essence, my musical adventures cast a wide net.

For Cycles in Mythology, I knew instinctively it would be similar to my original pursuits of Irish, Celtic and Gaelic stories – wherein I would pursue the music in-line with my readings across Contemporary and Historical story-crafters who were intriguing me into their sagas and/or genre fiction. Happily Spotify did not let me down – all you had to key into their lovely search box (it is a bit like a treasure box of infinite random joy; at least to me) was “Nordic” – this gave me such a motley ecelecticity of choice I was at first unsure which playlist, album or artist to begin my journey.

Previously I had discovered melodic metal bands Sonarta Artica and Nightwish – with this kind of background of layered sound and an intriguing approach to how music can transcend time, place and language inasmuch as create a soundscape intuitive aware of its origins, I let my eyes roam over the selections. Sometimes you have to just trust your intuition. This is how I landed on “Nordic and Viking Music” – a collection of music spanning 7 hours and 50 minutes with a total collection of 93 tracks. I felt it was fittingly long enough to dive into my “Day One” readings.

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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Showcase in [cycles of six] Reviews | The journey Jorie takes into the world of “Cycles of Mythology” by Glenn Searfoss feat. [Cycle One]Cycles of Norse Mythology
Subtitle: Tales of the AEsir Gods
by Glenn Searfoss
Source: Direct from Author

Edda's and Sagas of the Northland recount epic struggles for control of the world. In this land lost amid the cycles of time, canny gods confront shrewd giants, while valiant heroes battle honorable foes.

Cycles of Norse Mythology takes the reader on a thrilling exploration of the Norse Universe as the Gods and Giants are exposed in their complex interactions. From the creation of the world to its violent ending, this comprehensive re-imagining breathes life and modern relevance into the Norse gods and their foes, while remaining faithful to the traditional myths. Through engaging, lyrical storytelling, this work presents the gripping adventures of the Norse Gods in a style to delight modern readers of all ages.

Cycles of Norse Mythology comprises six cycles of 100+ interconnected stories that encompass the entire breadth of Norse Mythology. All tales are extended to create greater tension between the reader and the characters. Sequence gaps are filled by interpolations based on cross references in classic and modern literature.

Cycle 1: Prophesy. Odin travels the dark road to Niflhel seeking knowledge from the withered lips of the long dead seeress. In this frozen land, he is forged to his purpose by the harsh lashings of the seeress as she relates the creation stories of the cosmos, the nine worlds, the sun and moon, day and night, the origin of giants, dwarves, elves, mankind, and the gods themselves.

Cycle 2: The Victory Gods. Returned to Asgard, Odin learns the truth of prophecy and the ultimate cost of purpose. As the Æsir expand their number and their power, Gullveig’s brutal death at their hands sparks a bloody war with a rival clan, the Vanir; their eventual truce unifies the godheads in an uneasy alliance. Post-war rebuilding introduces the primary gods and goddesses, along with the Einherjar, valorous warriors gathered from battlefields across Midgard. Meanwhile, Thor’s martial journeys into Jotunheim underscore the constant tension with the offspring of Ymir.

Cycle 3: The Sword of Vengeance. Accompany the fiery blade born of love and hate that is destined to play a pivotal role in the shaping of the Norse universe, through the tragedies of Volund its creator, Nidud king of the Njara who is ordered by the Odin to capture the blade, and Svipdag the chosen son of man fated to recover its keen edge, and who ultimately gifts it to the Æsir for his marriage to Fryeja .

Cycle 4: Premonitions. Victory, jealousy, and revenge follow the Æsir gods and goddesses as they seek to avert their ultimate fate. The Fenris wolf is tricked and bound. Baldur’s death sends shudders through the nine worlds as innocence dies and the first portents of Ragnarök begin to align. Vali, fresh born from his mother’s womb, slays Baldur’s hapless killer. Freyr gives away the Sword of Vengeance for a bride; an ill-fated gift which ultimately finds its way into the hands of Surt at Ragnarök. Loki’s devious and sometimes, vicious attempts to humble the gods highlight the strife and dissent of within the Æsir clan and result in his horrible punishment.

Cycle 5: Ragnarök. Unable to avoid the final confrontation, the Æsir gather their band of chosen warriors and prepare for battle. The rainbow bridge shatters as ancient enemies charge onto Vigrid Plain, eager to end the reign of the victory gods. Follow the fortunes of the primary combatants as they boldly face known defeat, the Æsir goddesses awaiting their fate in the great hall of Fensalir, and the remnants of mankind who survive to greet the dawn.

Cycle 6: Of Gods and Men. While Cycles 1-5 focused on interactions among the gods, this cycle encompasses stories of direct interaction between the Æsir gods and mankind. These stories contrast human folly with the morality inherent in Norse Mythology.

Glossary: Norse Mythology heralds from an era when names reflected the character attributed to an object, such as a weapon, a person’s character, or their current station in life. This glossary provides a quick reference to the meaning behind names and terms used in the book.

Source Reference: References for further reading are included for persons who want to delve deeper into the study of Norse Mythology. This bibliography is restricted to books published in or translated into English and is by no means, exhaustive. As with all resources, the harder and longer you look, the more there is to be found.

Genres: After Canons, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, Mythological Fantasy, Norse Mythos | Legacies, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781789820829

Also by this author: Author Q&A with Glenn Searfoss (Cycles of Norse Mythology)

Published by Acorn Press

on 11th April, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 825

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Published By: Acorn Press,
an imprint of Andrews UK Limited

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NorseMythology, #Norse, #Mythology and #Odin
as well as #WyrdAndWonder

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About Glenn Searfoss

Glenn Searfoss

Engaging storytelling transports the reader to a different time/place/viewpoint and encourages their exploration of a subject. A professional writer of 28+ years, Glenn Searfoss has authored numerous technical manuals (bills must be paid), as well as books in computer science, language identification, natural history, science fiction, and mythology.

Glenn lives with his wife and two boxer dogs in a turn-of-the-century, brick farm house in Colorado, USA. When not busy making a living, he gardens, works on the house (there is always something with an old house), reads classic and not-so-classic literature, and does research for new book projects.

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:

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Posted Thursday, 28 May, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Heroic Fantasy, Indie Author, Norse Mythology, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “The Monster Apprentice” (Rahana Trilogy: Book One) by Felicity Banks

Posted Saturday, 16 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I first heard from Odyssey Books late last year, however, the timing of accepting their review request for “The Monster Apprentice” wasn’t the best timing for me due to my health and my migraines. As I was setting to mind what I wanted to do for Wyrd And Wonder this year, I decided to reach out to the publisher to see if I could schedule guest author features and perhaps finally accept the chance to read and review “The Monster Apprentice”. This sparked my idea of hosting Felicity Banks during @SatBookChat as 1 of 3 guest Indie Fantasy Authors for #SatBookChat (the bookish chat I host on the weekends featuring strong female characters across genres) and having the chance to read and review her novel. I was thankful I could put together a mixture of guest features (guest posts and interviews) as well as two reviews for this Indie publisher in New Zealand.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Monster Apprentice” direct from the author Felicity Banks and the publisher Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Prior to finishing my readings of “The Monster Apprentice”

– I hosted the lovely Ms Banks during our first #SatBookChat during #WyrdAndWonder:

I love having the chance to feature Indie Authors on Jorie Loves A Story and during #SatBookChat – as it helps me showcase authors, publishers and stories I personally love seeking out myself who are on the Indie side of book world. I’ve been showcasing the Indies since I first started book blogging as at my heart as a reader is an Indie sensibility as I grew up having such a wonderful Indie bookstore in my city. Not to mention as a book blogger my knowledge of Indie publishers, press and authors is now on a world-wide scale of discovery.

Ever since Year One of #WyrdAndWonder, I’ve wanted to select Indie Authors and/or publishers to highlight, read and showcase as I want to help encourage other readers of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy to take a chance on an Indie novel and/or series. This is also the same mindset behind why I love hosting Indie Authors during #SatBookChat – whose roots were in hosting strictly Romance & Women’s Fiction novelists – however, in early 2020 I started to lay down the bones of change wherein we’re now featuring *all!* genres wherein you can find wicked strong female characters and/or stories which have a Feminist bent to them. We still focus on Romance & Women’s Fiction – however, I’m expanding it as my own readerly inclinations are more encompassing now that we’ve reached our six year of the chat!

What was so dearly delightful about Ms Banks is how she made the chat personable (sharing photos in the timeline of the chat) and how she answered questions directly about the world within the Rahana trilogy. To gain a bit of insight into how this world was constructed be sure to seek out the archive of our #SatBookChat.

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Ahead of discussing this lovely book on both #SatBookChat and on Jorie Loves A Story – I put together a short teaser of a #booktube #vlog #unboxing video which I shared on Twitter. I had a most delightful time answering one of the #WyrdAndWonder challenge prompts which was “The Best Things Come in Threes”.

I had planned to finish reading this novel and release my review last weekend – however, the hours escaped me and I wasn’t able to finish until now. I cannot wait to hear what my fellow #WyrdAndWonder readers will think once they find out about this intriguing world – wherein heroines step through ordinary lives into extraordinary circumstances!

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “The Monster Apprentice” (Rahana Trilogy: Book One) by Felicity BanksThe Monster Apprentice
by Felicity Banks
Source: Direct from Publisher

The only weapon Dance has is her name.

When pirates threaten the tiny hidden island of Luar, Dance knows her home has only one hope of survival: the magical monsters that killed her twin sister.

Dance loses her friends one by one as she attempts to prepare her strange apprentices for the showdown between monsters and pirates. Can she do it alone?

The Monster Apprentice is a powerful story of looking at the world differently and finding an answer in an unexpected place.

Genres: Children's Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle Grade Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, Pirate Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781925652130

Published by Odyssey Books

on 1st May, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 139

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

Felicity Banks invented the fantasy world of Rahana while living in Indonesia. She grew up reading stories set in Narnia and Middle Earth, and she wanted to invent a fantasy world that was just as beautiful but didn’t feel British, or white, or male.

In Rahana the weather is tropical and the people are visually similar to Indonesians. Magic is common, and makes physical strength irrelevant. There are millions of islands both small and large, and sailing technology is more advanced that the other sciences. Rahana is a thriving tropical world where people are born with a love of the high seas.

Naturally, the world is full of pirates.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheMonsterApprentice, #MGLit, #MGFantasy
as well as #pirates and #MiddleGrade; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy

About Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks is a Canberra author specialising in fantasy and interactive fiction, including her Antipodean Queen fantasy steampunk series, which is also published by Odyssey Books. All her interactive fiction is listed under “Felicity Banks” (visit site) and most of her interactive fiction can be read via an app.

She writes about all her various pirates tales (some appropriate for children, some definitely not) on her Facebook page as well as sharing stories and images that appeal to the not-so-secret pirate within all of us.

She met her husband at a pirate ball, and has two little pirates at home.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 16 May, 2020 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death of a Sibling, Fantasy Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Twin Siblings