Genre: Science Fiction

#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:

  • #EnterTheFantastic
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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

A #25PagePreview | A STEM Fairy-tale re-telling of “Sleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code” (Book One: STEM Princess series) by Emma Jean

Posted Friday, 18 June, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight 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 bound manuscript ARC copy of “Sleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code” direct from the author Emma Jean 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 will admit, I saw this week going differently than it had – who would have suspected that my rescheduled tour date for this lovely blog tour (shifted from Monday to Friday) would have been further stalled out my even more intensive storms than the weekend prior? I also lost ALL internet connectivity and had to have a full system replacement (blessedly, courtesy of my provider – who even wants to contemplate what that would have cost?) but it robbed me of all the hours I have to read and blog. Not to mention, I logged on early this Friday morning to get a jump-start on my post and to see if I could make further headway than I had – only to have my computer slam me into a locked out state of updates itself! (angry smirks)

I decided to keep this as a reduced review – to where I talk about what I’ve found inside the first twenty-five pages of the story, my thoughts on the characters and how the story is being presented thus far along. I work a lot of double shifts and with the compounded angst of weather & storms (which yes is par usual for Summers in my region) it is further difficult as I’m not generally out in them whilst working — however, you could say, this year has been a year of changes and that has been a bit of a challenge in of itself to work through. I miss reading and just having downtime to listen to Spotify and/or queue up an audiobook. This week was exhausting because I didn’t have a way to unwind after work and the long shifts – whilst wondering if any trees would be spared due to the heaviness of the lightning. The kind that makes you jump even as an adult because its such a strong force of natural phenom crackling right outside your windows!

I pray all is well elsewhere where you all are reading yourselves – where weather and climate isn’t putting a wench into your plans and you’ve been able to soak into some wicked good stories! One note of awesomeness is the beautiful LARGE manuscript ARC I received for this blog tour! I always have to get used to double spaced manuscripts – as I personally don’t use that format as a writer, as it messes with my line reads and eyes a bit — however, the font was graciously large and the book itself was such a delight to have to read as I felt it was a kind transition for a work weary reader such as myself!! This is similar to why I enjoy reading Harlequin Heartwarming in large print as well — sometimes a girl needs a gentle way to ease back into her stories!

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A #25PagePreview | A STEM Fairy-tale re-telling of “Sleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code” (Book One: STEM Princess series) by Emma JeanSleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code
by Emma Jean
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Sleeping Beauty's thirteenth birthday looms on the horizon as she and her friends hole up in the cursed princess lab, determined to prove that science and technology can defeat dark magic and save the kingdom from 100 years of cursed sleep.

Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8510604207

Published by 4Pigs2Fly

on 26th May, 2021

Format: Bound Manuscript (ARC)

Pages: 285

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Published by: 4Pigs2Fly

Converse on Twitter via: #STEM #FairyTale
as well as #SleepingBeauty Retelling and #EmmaJean

About Emma Jean

Sleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code by Emma Jean

Emma Jean writes books for children of all ages.

She lives in Massachusetts, near the Mayflower (the one the Pilgrims sailed on... or at least a pretty good replica), with her husband, two sons and one troublesome Basset Hound.

She studied Creative Writing at Holy Cross then earned her Masters in School Counseling at Assumption College.

She spent years working in adolescent mental health both in academic and therapeutic settings. Like her reporters in the Charles McCheese series, she found time to travel the world, helping with the Katrina clean up effort in New Orleans, studying abroad in Sri Lanka, and working alongside the Peace Corps. in Armenia. She worked with the Red Cross and counseled children in some of the toughest cities in Massachusetts.

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Posted Friday, 18 June, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Coming-Of Age, Lola's Blog Tours, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Spotlight & Discussion | “The Other Times of Caroline Tangent” by Ivan D. Wainewright

Posted Thursday, 27 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Many of us who participate in Wyrd And Wonder have a secondary passion which is Science Fiction – hence why a lot of us cross-participate in @SciFiMonth! Today I am featuring a story which isn’t entirely a fantastical story per se in the context of how it was written as it is much more of a Speculative Fiction narrative as it moves through a time travelling narrative. For me, time travel is one of those niche areas of SpecFic which can either work wonderfully or fall a bit flat for my own curiosities.

I had intended to read The Time Traveller’s Wife ahead of the film adaptation but in the end opted to see the film in lieu of reading the novel. It was one of those soul-crushing films and stories which nearly did me in whilst watching it – similar to how my soul crumbled into oblivion at the end of The Notebook. Some stories grip you so wholly whole you feel as if pieces of you have been left behind in the wake of them. Time travelling stories take a lot out of me as there is such a lot of drama and life being lived inside them that sometimes they can become a bit soul consuming. Not that I mind, as that is part of what I enjoy about them but I have to temper how oft I enter into those worlds and lives as well.

As I love focusing on Indie Fantasy storytellers myself every #WyrdAndWonder – I was thankful I would have a chance to showcase this author during our 4th Year. 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.

Sometimes the lines between the fantastical and the science fictional can blend and merge and crossover into each other. As I haven’t read the full story within this novel and have only the chapter sampler to go by – I am not sure if it merges into some elements of Fantasy vs Science Fiction or if it holds true to its niche of being a time travelling story start to finish.

Either which way this story travels into its own journey, the concept of it is what was most alluring to feature during Wyrd And Wonder as isn’t it a bit of a wonderment how time travelling can exist and how despite the challenges therein, we still speculate on how it can happen and of course, of the consequences if the threads of time are altered by our own interferences? I wonder if that is also explored — as it had been in The Time Traveller’s Wife. Along with the concept of course of how limited are you as you travel? Which is one reason I enjoyed the adventures of Dr Samuel Beckett throughout the years of Quantum Leap.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Spotlight & Discussion | “The Other Times of Caroline Tangent” by Ivan D. WainewrightThe Other Times of Caroline Tangent
by Ivan D. Wainewright
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

If you could travel back in time to see any concert, who would you go to see?

Caroline Tangent’s husband, Jon has invented a time machine so they can visit iconic gigs in history: Woodstock, David Bowie, Edith Piaf in 1930’s Paris – an inexhaustible bucket-list. But they can’t tell anyone they’re doing so; Caroline’s life as an artist in North London goes on with her friends and family, and their concerts remain a secret.

As their trips to the past continue, they begin to realise how Jon’s invention could change a devastating moment from their own past. And for Caroline, it’s clear that she and Jon don’t want the same outcome.

Until, on a trip to 1978, one of them does something unthinkable which will change both their lives forever.

For fans of Matt Haig, Audrey Niffenegger, Stephen King’s 11/22/63 – or anyone who likes time travel or music!

Please note the CW: Miscarriage, Abortion, Death/Dying, Racism, Sexism, Violence, Disease

Genres: Science Fiction, Time Travel Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781838367008

on 17th May, 2021

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #SpeculativeFiction or #SpecFic and #TimeTravel
as well as #storytellersontour & #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Thursday, 27 May, 2021 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Storytellers on Tour, Time Travel, Time Travel Adventure, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

An #HistFic Book Spotlight | feat. an extract from “Thunder on the Moor” (Book Book, Thunder on the Moor series) by Andrea Matthews

Posted Friday, 19 February, 2021 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Youmay not realise it but one of my favourite subniches of literature are the trifecta of how time can become bent inside stories: time shift, time slip and time travel! The third of which in the context of today’s featured novelist and series is most likely a bit more well-known since “Outlander” – both the series and the tv adaptation which took off into reader’s hearts worldwide. I, on the other hand – gathered most of the books but hesitated to read them and only read a partial portion of “The Outlandish Companion” as I was more keenly interested in the author’s writerly process and approach to creating her series than I was in the actual series itself. Part of that might have been readerly intuition? As I learnt lateron there are scenes and sequences within the Outlander series which might not have agreed with my readerly sensibilities and I felt better knowing I hadn’t read the series outright.

However, my pursuit of time travel romances never was curtailed – when I was a reviewer for ChocLitUK, I happily read stories by Kirsty Ferry and Christina Courtenay which focused on time travelling romances – many of which I was thankful to review on Jorie Loves A Story. I also purchased a large stack of time travelling romances from a regional library two Christmases ago and still intend on reading them as a way back into my own writerly pursuits as a method of reading outside my intended genre for inspiration. Ergo, I always have a ready eye out on this genre as it is one which interests me as a reader moreso than as a writer.

Scottish stories are equally curious to me – one of my favourite BBC serials is “Monarch of the Glen” – despite the fact part of that series ending episodes was dearly dramatic and emotionally gutting – it was the kind of quirky series you love to get invested inside and fall in love with both the characters and the setting. I love Scotland as a country, too, and being I have a lot of UK ancestral roots – any story set in the UK is going to be one I’ll favour!

Thereby it is with a hearty wicked welcome I am bringing a short extract from “Thunder on the Moor” to Jorie Loves A Story today! I had intended to interview the author but due to personal circumstances earlier in the month and injuries stemming out of the end of January – I was short on time to complete that goal. I hope you enjoy the extract I have for you on the blog tour and perhaps this story will whet a thirst of interest for you to seek out if you’re as mad for time travelling romances as I am!

Brew your favourite cuppa & enjoy!

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An #HistFic Book Spotlight | feat. an extract from “Thunder on the Moor” (Book Book, Thunder on the Moor series) by Andrea MatthewsThunder on the Moor
by Andrea Matthews
Source: Chapter Sampler

Maggie Armstrong grew up enchanted by her father’s tales of blood feuds and border raids. In fact, she could have easily fallen for the man portrayed in one particular image in his portrait collection. Yet when her father reveals he was himself an infamous Border reiver, she finds it a bit far-fetched—to say the least—especially when he announces his plans to return to his sixteenth century Scottish home with her in tow.

Suspecting it’s just his way of getting her to accompany him on yet another archaeological dig, Maggie agrees to the expedition, only to find herself transported four hundred and fifty years into the past. Though a bit disoriented at first, she discovers her father’s world to be every bit as exciting as his stories, particularly when she’s introduced to Ian Rutherford, the charming son of a neighboring laird. However, when her uncle announces her betrothal to Ian, Maggie’s twentieth-century sensibilities are outraged. She hardly even knows the man. But a refusal of his affections could ignite a blood feud.

Maggie’s worlds are colliding. Though she’s found the family she always wanted, the sixteenth century is a dangerous place. Betrayal, treachery, and a tragic murder have her questioning whether she should remain or try to make her way back to her own time.

To make matters worse, tensions escalate when she stumbles across Bonnie Will Foster, the dashing young man in her father’s portrait collection, only to learn he is a dreaded Englishman. But could he be the hero she’s always dreamed him to be? Or will his need for revenge against Ian shatter more than her heart?

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Time Travel Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1733337502

Published by Self Published

on 31st October, 2019

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

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Further Readings about the series on Andrea Matthew’s website:
Notes behind the series of Thunder on the Moor

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance
+ #ThunderOnTheMoor and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Friday, 19 February, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author