Publisher: Odyssey Books

A #WyrdAndWonder #MGFantasy Book Review | “The Princess and the Pirate” (Rahana Trilogy: Book Two) by Felicity Banks

Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Gifted Book By: This novel “The Princess and the Pirate” was part of a gifted #bookhaul of mine from my Mum and Dad for #WyrdAndWonder, Year 4! They happily surprised me with a lovely bundle of books I featured last Wyrd And Wonder celebrating the Indie Publisher Odyssey Books! This kicks-off my readings of those novels as I was overjoyed I can read all the lovely stories I had either showcased and/or featured but wasn’t able to read during our Year 3 Wyrd And Wonder.

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “The Princess and the Pirate” by my parents and I was not obligated to post an honest review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and had asked if I could re-use them if and when I was able to read and/or review the stories I was featuring during Wyrd And Wonder Year 3 (2020); and thankfully was given permission to do so which is why I am using them during my readings this 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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Why I am in love with this series & couldn’t wait to read the next story:

I immediately took an interest in Dance – she was a brave young girl who understood the history of her island but also the growing tension of why her father worried about her safety and the safety of their community here. Even in the opening paragraphs there is a bit of urgency in the tone of how Banks started her story – where Dance can sense the heightened fear in the caller’s voice – the person intending to speak with her father and the voice which was drawing her to catch her breath.

I loved how art was introduced straight-away – a small bit of insight into the heart of her people – of how on this island (Luar) art was as sacred as the trees. And, trees apparently were quite revered because you can sense this yourself as Dance speaks about the art which comes from the raw materials of the trees. Trees for me have held such a high impression on my person since I first started staring after trees along highways and byways; whilst pausing whenever I was close to them in person and happily feeling museful about their lives. Especially the cycle of how other species laid claim to their boughs and branches; how connected they were to our source of life (ie. oxygen) and how throughout the ages of time, trees are resolute, proud and awe-inspiring just to be nearby. I could then imagine – any bit of art carved from a tree has a life spirit of its own etched out of the raw wood and drawing a new energy from the carver’s tools, hands and vision for what the art being created would represent.

Dance lives on an island tucked away from the world – what makes this one dearly unique in my eyes as I haven’t come across a lot of snowbound or ice encased worlds, is the fact this particular island would be right at home in the Arctic Circle! It is beyond cold here – where the frozen ice hides their greatest enemy (ie. Heest monsters) and where if you were brave enough, you wouldn’t consider what their presence unde the ice was foretelling about your own fate and the fate of your community. Banks goes into a bit of detail about how this island was fashioned together – from materials they could repurpose and from purchases they had made long ago giving them a bit of bolster of privacy from prying eyes on the outside. It was their sincere hope to remain hidden which inspired how they lived and how they choose to thrive in one of the coldest locations I’ve had a chance to visit.

I positively LOVE finding illustrative art inside novels – The Monster Apprentice is delightfully inclusive of renderings of the scenes you’re reading about as you walk beside Dance! The very first illustration was featuring the ‘sky cows’ – having spent time on a ranch with breeding stock, I know how stubborn cows can be and how particular they are once they’ve settled on a place they want to roost. Cows are gentle giants and have kind hearts but there are moments where like most animals, they simply want to be left alone and left to their own devices. The imagery provided in this illustration and the depictions of the cows and Dance’s interaction with them in the text was quite a heap of hilarity! It was interesting to see how Dance chooses to interact with her world and how she constantly likes to bend the rules in order to do what she is tasked to accomplish!

Banks does a wonderful job of keeping this first installment beautifully connected on her characters and on the priming of our introduction to their ice and sea world. Things are not quite as you expect them to be here – there are hints of magic, of intrigue and of binding bargains which may in the end be worse than their initial acceptance. Each person here – young or old alike has to find their own individual truth and path; similar to life, everyone is working through their own headspace and has to find the courage to be a bit braver than they feel.

One of my favourite features of this novel are the Heest – mostly because Banks keeps us in the dark for most of the novel about their truer nature and how they operate as a species. There is far more to the Heest than what is presumed and that is the true beauty of their kind for me. I’d love t see how this trilogy continues to develop – especially if we can entreat more into the magical perimeters of the world and the concepts of how those magical extras operate within a place that is a rather harsh physical environment of both ice and sea.

As this first novel is setting up the foundation of the trilogy – we were treated only to a hinting of the magic in this world. The curators of the magic are known as quickensmiths and this was broached at the time when Dance had to face the pirates because of how the ship itself was moving through the water. I found it interesting how the dynamics of the world and of the magic within it were not completely disclosed because this was a very character-centred introduction. You get a few hints towards what is coming in future installments but not overly enough to lose your curiosity because this novel does lend itself to being curious about what will become disclosed!

-quoted from my review of The Monster Apprentice

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The Princess and the Pirate collage created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

The Princess and the Pirate
by Felicity Banks
Source: Gifted

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1925652680

Also by this author: The Monster Apprentice

Published by Odyssey Books

on 1st June, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 126

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The Rahana Trilogy:

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.

The Monster Apprentice (book one)

The Princess & the Pirate (book two)

Waking Dead Mountain (book three)

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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

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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 Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 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, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Twin Siblings

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review| A Mythological Fantasy re-telling in the pages of “Cassandra” by Kathryn Gossow

Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Gifted Book By: This novel “Cassandra” was part of a gifted #bookhaul of mine from my Mum and Dad for #WyrdAndWonder, Year 4! They happily surprised me with a lovely bundle of books I featured last Wyrd And Wonder celebrating the Indie Publisher Odyssey Books! This kicks-off my readings of those novels as I was overjoyed I can read all the lovely stories I had either showcased and/or featured but wasn’t able to read during our Year 3 Wyrd And Wonder.

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “Cassandra” by my parents and I was not obligated to post an honest review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and had asked if I could re-use them if and when I was able to read and/or review the stories I was featuring during Wyrd And Wonder Year 3 (2020); and thankfully was given permission to do so which is why I am using them during my readings this 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I first was introduced to Mythological Fantasy through my readings during the first #Mythothon (@Mythothon) hosted by a dear friend, Louise @foxesfairytale. I was truly overtaken by all the different stories you can root out to read and how depending on the theme of what you wanted to read in Mythological Fantasy, you could take quite a wondrously lovely journey into this new (slightly hidden) niche of Fantasy literature. Ever since those first readings of mine, I’ve wanted to continue to join #Mythothon each year, but something seems to distract my attention or avert the hours I need in order to read during those events. Try as I might, I’ve missed a few rounds of the event and have set my eye on September, 2021 to re-join the community of readers who will be taking part in that round.

The credit goes to Louise for helping me re-look at this niche of literature and of unearthing such a wonderful foray into how stories set round different sets of Mythologies can become such entertaining reads! In this instance, I was wicked happy a copy of Cassandra was amongst the #bookhaul selections my parents surprised me with this Wyrd And Wonder, as I had known this was based on the myth of Cassandra but I hadn’t truly known much more than that before I started reading the story this May.

Cassandra is an intricate coming-of age story, wherein we follow in the footsteps of Cassandra (ie. Cassie) from a young girl into a budding young adult, as she curiously starts to recognise she has a gift for premonitions and knowing the future ahead of its arrival – but how that translates through her childhood and how she personally processes her precognitive thoughts and foreknowledge is uniquely writ into a backdrop of a life on a farm in Australia. Gossow takes you into this interpersonal journey of Cassie, as she navigates her home life, the pains of having a younger brother and of course, school life, too.

When I first started reading this story, I thought it was going to end up in a certain place by the end – yet, the final quarter of the novel tested my ability to stay rooted in the story and to find the ending. I just felt myself detaching from that mark in the book and I didn’t enjoy the final chapters as much as I had the rest of the novel as you’ll read in my review.

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

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review| A Mythological Fantasy re-telling in the pages of “Cassandra” by Kathryn GossowCassandra
by Kathryn Gossow
Source: Gifted

On a remote farm in Queensland, Cassie Shultz feels useless. Her perfect brother Alex has an uncanny ability to predict the weather, and the fortunes of the entire family hinge upon his forecasts. However, her own gift for prophecy remains frustratingly obscure. Attempts to help her family usually result in failure.

After meeting with her new genius neighbour Athena, Cassie thinks she has unlocked the secret of her powers. But as her visions grow more vivid, she learns that the cost of honing her gift may be her sanity.

With her family breaking apart, the future hurtles towards Cassie faster than she can comprehend it.

Genres: Australian Lit, Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythos | Legacies, Upper YA Fantasy, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Upper YA Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1922200785

Also by this author: Cassandra (Author Interview)

Published by Odyssey Books

on 6th February, 2017

About [ “Cassandra” ] by the author:

My book Cassandra is a reimagining of the myth of Cassandra, set in Australian in the 1980s.
It was a finalist for Best Fantasy Novel in the Australian Aurealis Awards.

Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

Converse via: #Fantasy, #UpperYA, #Cassandra
as well as #OdysseyBooks & #WyrdAndWonder

About Kathryn Gossow

Kathryn Gossow

Kathryn Gossow is a writer and sometimes gardener living in a two acre garden in a pocket of the Brisbane River. When she is writing, her garden is a mess. When she is gardening, she forgets to write. It seems she cannot have both. She writes for that elusive feeling when she gets into the zone and there is nothing else in the world but her and the words that tumble onto the page. Kathryn has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, won a commendation in the Australian Horror Writers’ Association Flash Fiction Competition and has a number of published stories out in the world.

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Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2021 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, 21st Century, Australia, Australian Fiction, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Death of a Sibling, Fantasy Fiction, Father-daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Greek Mythology, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Re-Told Tales, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, YA 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

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7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Middle Grade Fantasy.

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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, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Portal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction