Genre: Portal Fantasy

A #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday Book Review | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan Fitzgerald

Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonderWednesday graphic made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Originally, I received this novel “The Living Waters” via a blog tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour which is now a closed blog touring company as they left our bookish community at the conclusion of 2021. This author and duology was my last chance to host for them and it was a pleasure of joy discovering stories, authors and worlds within their catalogue of blog tours. Let me share a bit of the backstory about how I found them and when they entered my bookish life:

During my 3rd Year of co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder, I was able to participate on my first blog tour with Storytellers on Tour which was featuring the author Brianna Sugalski on her “Disenchanted” blog tour. What I appreciated about Storytellers on Tour was their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature (whether they were independently published, self-published or sought hybrid publishing options) and their ability to have found authors who were telling stories in Fantasy which intrigued me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which was why I felt blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I sought out a book to consider for review, I actively enjoyed hosting creative content using book photography and/or featuring their authors in conversation (ie. interviews) or giving them the breadth of joy to write a guest post based on a topic of my choosing. Overall, Storytellers on Tour were dedicated to creating community and for championing those of us who are choosing to share our readerly lives each day we bring content to our book blogs. 

Thereby, I received a complimentary copy of “The Living Waters” direct from the author Dan Fitzgerald in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Please note: this is an extended review and discussion about the first half of the duology for the Weirdwater Confluence series which originally began on “The Living Waters” blog tour in November and December, 2021.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You won’t be surprised I’ve decided to join my first #SelfPubFanMonth this September, if you’ve been following along with my #WWWWeds posts! As I’ve announced my participation this past week. As I am re-approaching how I read and blog this Autumn, you’ll see that I’m taking the lighter load approach each week – whilst being mindful that if I cannot get to all the stories I want to be reading, just making progress into the stories is my new normal right now.

However, I need to clarify that this particular duology and release by Mr Fitzgerald is NOT a work of self-publication. Usually, I am the one to verify those kinds of details and this particular week, I thought I had double-checked myself before I wrote my #WWWeds post — however, to err is human as the saying goes and I’ve already amended my #WWWeds post to reflect the error as well as apologising to the author directly for mentioning this was self-published when in effect it wasn’t – as it was published via Shadow Spark Publishing.

I can announce other works which will be published by Fitzgerald will be self-published which made me feel a bit better as I moved into re-reading this story during #SelfPubFanMonth as you could consider this highlighting of what is coming next from him as a writer and as a published author.

I knew I wanted to re-connect to “The Living Waters” and this month felt like the right timing to do that as it is a duology which I first learnt about whilst hosting for Storytellers on Tour. I’ve been celebrating Indies & Self-Published authors since I first started book blogging in [2013] as nearly all my most beloved reads in #SpecFic are from those two categories of writers. Continuing to find new ways to send out a signal flare of joy on their behalf is something I am always happy to root out! Thereby, as I try to read as much as I can during #WyrdAndWonder (annually in May) and by extension during #SpooktasticReads (annually in October) — it is now with a bit of joy to finally join the community of Self Pub Fantasy Month which will be seen in other posts which populate onto my blog this September. And, no, I haven’t forgotten about #Mythothon and hope to bring some Mythological stories into my readerly queue as well.

After making my faux pas in claiming this duology was self-published, I decided to feature it during a showcasing of reviews during a newly designated heading of #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday wherein I will be sharing fantastical reads betwixt and between @WyrdAndWonder. It will give me a chance to read more Fantasy each year and during the months I find myself particularly drawn into a story of Fantasy outside of the month of May, I can celebrate finding it whilst helping new Fantasy nerds to find out about the event! Let’s all continue to #EnterTheFantastic, together.

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Before I share my fuller ruminations – these were the thoughts I had whilst I concluded my previewing of the novel during the original blog tour in (2021):

It will be interesting to see what becomes of their time together – what they discover about themselves as individuals but also what personal growth is meant to be undertaken as well. I had a feeling that despite the fact they were both put together on this journey, they each had a different path to follow afterwards or at least, perhaps they both had a different destiny to put it that way instead!? I wasn’t entirely convinced they were meant to be together in the traditional sense because I felt this was one journey which would encourage self-awakening discoveries. And, of course the artwork eludes to another conclusion altogether, too!

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A #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday Book Review | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan FitzgeraldThe Living Waters
Subtitle: Weirdwater Confluence : Book 1
by Dan Fitzgerald
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

When two painted-faced nobles take a guided raft trip on a muddy river, they expect to rough it for a few weeks before returning to their life of sheltered ease. But when mysterious swirls start appearing in the water, even their seasoned guides get rattled.

The mystery of the swirls lures them on to seek the mythical wetlands known as the Living Waters. They discover a world beyond their imagining, but stranger still are the worlds they find inside their own minds as they are drawn deep into the troubles of this hidden place.
 
The Living Waters is a sword-free fantasy novel featuring an ethereal love story, meditation magic, and an ancient book with cryptic marginalia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Portal Fantasy, Fantasy Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8493260940

Also by this author: The Living Waters (#25PagePreview)

Published by Shadow Spark Publishing

on 9th October, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

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The Weirdwater Confluence series:

Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald featuring Gilea and Temi. Provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission of the author Dan Fitzgerald.
Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald
featuring Gilea and Temi.

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a duology featuring:

The Living Waters by Dan FitzgeraldThe Isle of a Thousand Worlds by Dan Fitzgerald

The Living Waters (Book One)

& The Isle of a Thousand Worlds (Book Two)

An aging alchemist seeks the key to the Universal Tincture said to unlock the Thousand Worlds of the mind, but she never expected to solve the riddle of her hermetic heart.

A meditation acolyte travels the mystical social media known as the Caravan and finds that the Thousand Worlds lie just below the surface, if she can only learn to see the space between the stars.

This steamy romantic fantasy explores the confluence of the physical and the metaphysical through the commingling of bodies and minds.

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NOTE: It is independent from the Maer Cycle trilogy, but there are a few points of contact, and both are part of a planned larger universe called the Copper Circle, which will include a trilogy called the Time Before, set 2,000 years before the Maer Cycle. Found this sidenote about the duology from the author’s website and felt it was relevant to share in case others are keen on reading serial fiction with the foreknowledge of how different duologies, trilogies and universes in an author’s collective works interconnect.

Published by: Shadow Spark Publishing (@ShadowSparkPub)

Converse via: #Fantasy, #SpeculativeFiction and #FantasyRomance
as well as #WeirdWaterConfluence & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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About Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). The Living Waters comes out October 15, 2021 and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds arrives January 15, 2022, both from Shadow Spark Publishing.

He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
  • #WyrdAndWonder Wednesday
  • 2022 Backlogue Reviews
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Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2022 by jorielov in Aquaculture, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Eco-Fantasy, Ecology, Environmental Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Portal Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Storytellers on Tour, Vulgarity in Literature

A #WitchyWednesdays Book Review this #WyrdAndWonder | “Trans Witch: College of Secrets” by E. Chris Garrison

Posted Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

#WitchyWednesdays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

#WitchyWednesdays is a curated collection of #WitchyReads this Wyrd And Wonder on Jorie Loves A Story. I have long held a fascination with Paranormally inclined stories involving witches and wizards as well as magic schools. I read either Contemporary or Historical releases as well as completely fantastical worlds featuring a Witchy premise and storyline. This year for Wyrd And Wonder, I’m focusing on specific stories I’ve been wanting to share and discuss either during our annual event in May OR our sister event #SpooktasticReads in October. Every Wednesday there will be a new Witchy story to discover as I share my readerly adventures into Witchy Fiction this month. I am considering keeping this a mainstay of focus both during May & October for our events for Wyrd And Wonder.

In regard to the name I chose for this showcase of reviews, I sort of stumbled onto the name when I was deciding which day of the week I wanted to feature Witchy Reads this year. I thought it was original until I ran a search online, I saw others use the #WitchyWednesdays tag however, I did not source an origin of the tag – only a collective recognition for it attributed to different creative projects or venues whilst I didn’t find an actual meme origin for it on a blog or website. If someone knows who started it – kindly let me know so I can add attribution.

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Acquired Book By: I have been a reader of Ms Chris’s stories since my first year as a book blogger when I first discovered her Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy with “Blue Spirit”. Over the years, this led to our friendship as we’re both writers and avid readers. I’ve completed my journey with the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy last year during Wyrd And Wonder (see also Review) whilst I gifted myself a copy of “Trans Witch” (in paperback) to celebrate Wyrd And Wonder, Year 4. Whilst I was about to dive into “Trans Witch” the author happily surprised me with an audiobook copy of the novel. Thereby I shifted from reading the story to reading whilst listening to the narrator narrate the story! One of my favourite things to do is to read and hear a narrator’s performance, so this made my final selection for Wyrd And Wonder extra special last year!

Likewise, I have showcased the collective works of Ms Chris over the years – you can read my reactions to the omnibus edition of the Road Ghosts trilogy (see also Review); listen to our vlog interview or revisit my review for the second Tipy Fairy Tale novel “Restless Spirit”. I also featured a guest post about her joy of participating in cosplay.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Trans Witch” direct from the author E. Chris Garrison in exchange for an honest review. Whilst the paperback copy I was reading whilst I listened to the audiobook edition was a self-purchase of my own. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I was originally hoping to read & listen to this novel during our 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder (in 2021) however, I was only able to begin the story last May whilst I re-attempted to listen to it during #SpooktasticReads that following October during our sister event for Wyrd And Wonder.

Every year, I feel as if I have a lovely road to walk settling into stories, rooting out new voices in Fantasy and finding myself captured by the stories & characters I’ve read along the route of the event. This year what is brilliant is being able to curl inside stories writ by authors I already know are my top favourites as well as being able to gather books by authors I have genuinely been curious about reading for several years and of whom, I’ve featured their stories in spotlights on my blog but never had the chance to properly read until now.

This was a special addition to my reading stack in 2021, as I hadn’t been aware of “Trans Witch” until just before Wyrd And Wonder began. Thereby when I went on a personal #bookhaul binge to bring more of Ms Chris’s stories into my personal library, I *knew!* Trans Witch had to be among them because I fell in love with the premise quite immediately! Who wouldn’t?

Set within the same Skye-Blue universe I’ve been reading all along, “Trans Witch” is currently a stand-alone novel without a series attachment, however, word on the winds has this earmarked as a potential series but whether we see it develop into one is something we’ll have to wait to find out! Be sure to message the author via Twitter if you’ve picked up a copy of “Trans Witch” and if you’ve enjoyed it – let her know if you’d like more of this world & character in other words! As previous novels were once one-offs too and were developed into series – including the Tipsy Fairy Tale!

Also: leave your comments for Ms Chris on this post as she’ll be checking for your notes throughout Wyrd And Wonder!!

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On my connection to Ms Chris (aka E. Chris Garrison):

My path first crossed with Ms Chris through a podcast sponsored by an Indie Speculative Fiction publisher which led me to hosting blog tours which celebrated her stories. Since our first encounter with each other, we’ve developed a friendship I am blessed to have and I appreciate getting to know a bit more about an author whose not only developing a unique style in the world of Fantasy but is receptive to the thoughts readers have as they gain impression by reading the stories themselves.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Chris through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. For more information, I disclosed a bit more on my first 10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts (read No.7!).

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Why I love reading E. Chris Garrison stories:

Ms Chris has incredible continuity – not just through the Tipsy Fairy Tale series but through all the stories which interconnect into this series as well. It is quite the large universe of stories and characters (as the Road Ghosts series is inter-threaded as well) – seeing how she’s brought everyone back to centre in this story was just wicked brilliant! I even loved seeing Frannie again as I felt she had a bum rap all along and it was good to see her step into her own so to speak at the height of the frenzy! I am so grateful I had the chance to read Blue Spirit all those years ago because it lead me into a series I am blessed to have read start to finish.

The author is transgender which gives her an inside edge towards how to write stories that are highlighting characters like Skye who are trying to lead lives without their sexuality, gender or orientation leading to prejudicial exclusions inside their everyday lives. This is quite apparent when the laws currently in place in the author’s home state are mentioned in Restless Spirit in regards to marriage equality as well as the perceptions of how some of Skye’s friends or friends of her friends view the relationship she has with Annabelle.

The relationship with Skye and Annabelle is more fleshed out and focused on in Mean Spirit – I was celebrating the joy of seeing this inclusive of the narrative because at the heart of the series, I always wanted to see Skye happy and settled into a relationship which was a good fit for her as a character. She’s had such a hard-won journey until now, it was nice to see something in her life was working out. Ms Chris tucked us into those quiet moments between the two women in love and gave us a wink and nod into how their lives were merging together in a way that I think even surprised Skye. It was a wonderful f/f romance inside a paranormal suspense set within an Urban Fantasy world.

I consider this series pro-positive for both LGBTQIA+ and Allies alike, as everything pertinent to this side of Skye’s life is told organically and shifts between being humourous and serious, depending on the nature of the exchange or the situation at hand. This is positive I think as it has a very realistic vibe attached to it. Skye is not afraid to speak her mind or to live her authentic truth, even if others are not as prepared to accept her on her terms, she still lives her life owning the truth she has within her and that’s something to applaud. She has her faults (who doesn’t?) but her strengths are her willingness to take-on challenges head-on and remain faithful to those she cares about whilst sorting out mysteries of the unexplained.

This is definitely an author to bookmark if your seeking #diverselit and stories of Equality where all characters are realistically written and openly honest about expressing their thoughts, views and feelings.

-quoted from my review of Mean Spirit

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A #WitchyWednesdays Book Review this #WyrdAndWonder | “Trans Witch: College of Secrets” by E. Chris GarrisonTrans Witch: College of Secrets
Subtitle: Can Lily conjure the clue's to find her missing wife?
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of Silly Hat Books
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Direct from Author, Purchased | Personal Library
Narrator: Danielle Muething

Professor Lily Shelley is frantic to find her wife Penny, who vanished two weeks ago. No one else seems to be looking very hard, not the police or even Penny’s family. As Lily refuses to give up hope, she continues searching for clues, even as she teaches English at Moraine University. In her search, she stumbles into a magical world; a college for wizards hidden in forgotten places at the University. Her favorite students come to her aid, helping her retrace Penny’s steps to learn the secrets of the School of Applied Metaphysics – as well as her newfound powers – in hopes of rescuing her wife.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Genre-bender



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1953763280

ASIN: B0959B64W9

Also by this author: Mean Spirit

Published by Silly Hat Books

on 27th February, 2021

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Paperback Edition

Length: 7 hours and 5 minutes (unabridged)

Pages: 212

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Audio Extract graphic created by Jorie in Canva.

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Visit the Trans Witch page via Silly Hat Books

Converse on Twitter: #TransWitch & #SillyHatBooks

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #WitchyWednesdays, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Good vs. Evil, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, School Life & Situations, Silly Hat Books, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Teacher & Student Relationships, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Witches and Warlocks

An Indie Fantasy #25PagePreview | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan Fitzgerald

Posted Wednesday, 1 December, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: During my 3rd Year of co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder, I was able to participate on my first blog tour with Storytellers on Tour which was featuring the author Brianna Sugalski on her “Disenchanted” blog tour. What I appreciated about Storytellers on Tour is their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature and their ability to find authors who are telling stories in Fantasy which intrigue me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which is why I feel blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I might seek out a book to consider for review, I also actively enjoy hosting creative content using book photography and/or featuring their authors in conversation (ie. interviews) or giving them the breadth of joy to write a guest post based on a topic of my choosing. Overall, Storytellers on Tour are dedicated to creating community and for championing those of us who are choosing to share our readerly lives each day we bring content to our book blogs. 

I received a complimentary copy of “The Living Waters” direct from the author Dan Fitzgerald 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!

I admit, today is a bit of a somber day for me to be hosting for Storytellers on Tour – as this lovely touring company I’ve been hosting for the past few years now is closing its doors by the end of 2021. I won’t be able to host for them moving forward into 2022 and that is quite a sad reality for me – as I have truly loved being a Roadie (part of their book blogging team) all the years I’ve hosted for them and have come to appreciate the authors, stories and series they’ve hand-selected to feature within the Speculative realms of Indie Publishing.

For those who follow me throughout the years, you’ll already note I love focusing on Indie Fantasy storytellers myself every #WyrdAndWonder (annually in May; follow us socially on Twitter via @WyrdAndWonder) – which I briefly mention at the end of this post. The reason I love Indie Speculative Fiction is because the writers of those stories are happily giving me wicked good stories to ruminate over and enticingly intriguing worlds to explore.

This year I’ve tried to juggle working full-time (now with two jobs since the end of October) and maintaining my blogging and online life. I recognise that I’ve not quite struck the proper balance between the two but I’ve tried to keep surfacing on my blog and social channels – despite the fact I completely missed #SpooktasticReads and #SciFiMonth this year – hopefully, by the time next October and November come round in 2022, I’ll have more to share with everyone! I’ll be sharing a bit more about this during my next #TheSundayPost but for those followers and readers of Jorie Loves A Story who’ve wondered about the reduction in my presence online, it is due to limited days off and a heavier work load now that I’m balancing two jobs full-time as well as the fact my Mum has been having some health issues recently herself.

I am just thankful I could join one of the last blog tours for Storytellers on Tour and be a part of their final tours before they close their doors. The author surprised me with a lovely piece of the artwork (its a art photograph I believe!), two bookmarks and a lovely bookplate when he sent me the book! I was so thankful to receive them as my copy arrived damaged from the post office – to find those enclosures still with the book was quite the blessing indeed! I cannot wait to frame the artwork, too!

As a result of having limited reading hours recently, I had to scale back my post from a full review to be featured today to a #25PagePreview wherein I share my thoughts about the first twenty-pages instead. It is my goal to share a fuller review before the close of the blog tour this week.

Until then,

Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about “The Living Waters”!

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An Indie Fantasy #25PagePreview | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan FitzgeraldThe Living Waters (#25PagePreview)
Subtitle: Weirdwater Confluence : Book 1
by Dan Fitzgerald
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

When two painted-faced nobles take a guided raft trip on a muddy river, they expect to rough it for a few weeks before returning to their life of sheltered ease. But when mysterious swirls start appearing in the water, even their seasoned guides get rattled.

The mystery of the swirls lures them on to seek the mythical wetlands known as the Living Waters. They discover a world beyond their imagining, but stranger still are the worlds they find inside their own minds as they are drawn deep into the troubles of this hidden place.
 
The Living Waters is a sword-free fantasy novel featuring an ethereal love story, meditation magic, and an ancient book with cryptic marginalia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Portal Fantasy, Fantasy Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8493260940

Also by this author: The Living Waters

Published by Shadow Spark Publishing

on 9th October, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Weirdwater Confluence series:

Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald featuring Gilea and Temi. Provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission of the author Dan Fitzgerald.
Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald
featuring Gilea and Temi.

a duology featuring:

The Living Waters (Book One)

& The Isle of a Thousand Worlds

← *forthcoming January, 2022!

NOTE: It is independent from the Maer Cycle trilogy, but there are a few points of contact, and both are part of a planned larger universe called the Copper Circle, which will include a trilogy called the Time Before, set 2,000 years before the Maer Cycle. Found this sidenote about the duology from the author’s website and felt it was relevant to share in case others are keen on reading serial fiction with the foreknowledge of how different duologies, trilogies and universes in an author’s collective works interconnect.

Published by: Shadow Spark Publishing (@ShadowSparkPub)

Converse via: #Fantasy, #SpeculativeFiction and #FantasyRomance
as well as #storytellersontour & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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About Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). The Living Waters comes out October 15, 2021 and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds arrives January 15, 2022, both from Shadow Spark Publishing.

He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.

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Posted Wednesday, 1 December, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Storytellers on Tour

#EnterTheFantastic with #MyYASummer epic first read | “The Twin Stars” (Book One: The Coseema Saga) by Bridgette D. Portman

Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#EnterTheFantastic Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. I am thankful I can continue to host and feature tours by this touring company from 2020-forward.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Twin Stars” direct from the author Bridgette Dutta Portman in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this story inspired me to read it:

Portal Fantasy is something I stumbled into in recent years – as I hadn’t come through that vortex of the genre previously. I wasn’t the right fit for Narnia (even though I enjoyed the first and third film adaptations) and I definitely was the kid who couldn’t stop watching “The Neverending Story”. What was interesting for me in your synopsis was the parallels to Neverending Story – how Bastian had to read and then live through the story which felt similar in context to your own character’s journey. I love stories which evoke such a strong reaction and connection between the world, the characters and the reader.

This is why this story appealled to me – as well as the self evolution and growth of Olive. I love coming-of age stories personally and I felt this was an interesting cross-section of why I love reading both MG and YA stories.

From the first moment I learnt of this story, I felt a pull of connection and knew I needed to feature it. I wasn’t sure at the time I signed on for the blog tour if I would be interviewing the author, hosting an extract or able to request the story for review consideration – but I felt as strong of a pull to have this story in my life this year as I have with other selections I’ve featured previously during our 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder! There was something uniquely different about this story and I had a sense about this world as being one I would find delishly devouring about how the writer wrote the story and allowed us into her character’s journey.

During #SelfPubFantasyMonth in September, I am curating a ‘final week’ of #WyrdAndWonder posts whilst endeavouring to carry forward further readings of Self Pub Fantasy novelists. Tied into those plans will be a forthcoming interview with Ms Portman as I wasn’t able to pull that together for this blog tour due to chaotically brutal lightning storms & a myriad of tech issues I had to work through just to finish this review.

I love finding writers who are writing coming-of age stories in Speculative Young Adult – the kind of stories you almost wish had been available to read during your own childhood but feel equally as blessed to find as an adult as YA doesn’t have an exit clause for readers! Everyone can appreciate YA at any age which is why I wanted to celebrate #MyYASummer all along.

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#EnterTheFantastic with #MyYASummer epic first read | “The Twin Stars” (Book One: The Coseema Saga) by Bridgette D. PortmanThe Twin Stars
by Bridgette Dutta Portman
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

A magical journal. A world savaged by its own suns. An evil prince. A princess in hiding.
And a teenage girl who learns to be the hero of her own story.

Sixteen-year-old Olive Joshi has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can't stop worrying about hurting the people she loves. She finds refuge in writing about Coseema, a magical princess on a distant planet. Coseema is fearless, confident, and perfect - everything Olive thinks she’ll never be. When she falls through a portal into her own unfinished story, Olive finds herself in a world in peril: double suns scorch the land, the brutal Prince Burnash seeks supreme power, and Coseema is nowhere to be found. Together with her friends - a bold poet, a cursed musician, a renegade soldier, and an adventurous girl from the desert - Olive will have to face her deepest fears to find the hero in herself.

The Twin Stars is an engrossing new portal fantasy in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, the Neverending Story,and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0995920422

Published by Titan1Studios

on 2nd July, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 326

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Ahead of reading my reactions to “The Twin Stars”
ENJOY this short extract of the novel which parlays into the ‘portal’:

She was underwater.

Olive realized it just in time to stop herself from gasping. Panic seared through her body as she thrashed about, kicking downward, tearing at the water uselessly.

There was nothing solid around her.

Murky darkness flooded her eyes; a churning roar filled her ears. Just as her starved lungs neared their limit, her left knee collided with something sharp and firm. She kicked and her foot met rock. She brought her other foot to the same position and pushed off the surface as hard as she could, propelling her body through the water.

The diminishing pain in her ears told her she was traveling upward, moving amidst an effervescence of tiny bubbles. She felt them swirling, fizzing, tickling her flesh, bearing her up toward the light as she begged her tortured lungs to hold out for another few seconds until, at last, she broke the surface.

Air.

At first, she could do nothing but devour it. When the haze of panic dissipated and her senses returned, her next coherent thought was that the plane had crashed. But this was not the icy water of the Arctic Ocean. This water felt like a warm bath. It bubbled like soda, and great plumes of vapor waltzed over its surface, spiraling upward until they melted into a golden haze. It reminded Olive of steam rising from mug. It might have been pleasant had she not nearly drowned in it.

The strange pool had a vague familiarity to it, but her head felt too muddled to sort it out.

Where was she? Where was the plane?

It crossed Olive’s mind that she was dead, and the thought sent a chill through her, but her sore knee and aching lungs reassured her. People weren’t supposed to feel pain after death, and they definitely shouldn’t need to breathe.

She treaded water, scanning her surroundings. She thought she saw movement through the curls of steam and paddled toward it, her knee smarting with each kick. Gradually the silhouette of something—no, someone—took shape as she moved through the plumes. At last, her feet touched the jagged, pebbly ground, and with a final rush of adrenaline, she pushed herself forward into the shallows. There she crouched in the warm water and stared up at the figure on the bank.

For a heartbeat, she thought it was Dadiji.

The woman had the same slight stoop, the same gently lined face, the same warm brown skin and long black hair frosted with silver. She was dressed differently, though; this woman wore deep crimson robes, with a fluted, draping cut that reminded Olive of an illustration she had once seen of an ancient Greek poet. A patch covered her right eye. Her left eye was a startlingly vivid purple, and it stared back at the young stranger who had just emerged from the steamy pool.

This was not Dadiji, and yet there was something jarringly familiar about the woman. Not until she spoke did Olive realize what it was.

“Coseema…” breathed the woman.

So, this was a dream. Olive felt a surge of relief. It did not seem like one—her knee throbbed with a very real pain—but this had to be a dream, because she was staring at a person she had made up herself.

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The Coseema Saga:

The Twin Stars (book one)

The Silver Sail (book two) *forthcoming release!

(there is a sneak preview of what is coming next @ the end of “The Twin Stars”)

I marked this as Upper YA due to the topics & subjects explored in the context of the story as well as how dark this fantasy turned in the final quarter of the novel. I felt it was better suited for Upper YA readers rather than for readers seeking traditional YA.

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Published by: Titan1Studios (@RelativityU)

Read About this debut release from Titan1Studios via their website

Converse on Twitter via: #YALit or #ILoveYA; #PortalFantasy + #SpaceOpera
as well as #TheTwinStars and #YAFantasy and #SciFantasy and #DarkFantasy

About Bridgette Dutta Portman

Bridgette Dutta Portman

Bridgette Dutta Portman is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Dozens of her plays have been produced across the United States and overseas. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, as well as a PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine.

She is past president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrights’ Guild, and the Dramatists’ Guild. She recently joined the board of the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, CA. The Twin Stars is her debut novel, and the first of a planned trilogy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Deepanshu and their two young children.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Dark Fantasy, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Portal Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction