Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Transmigration of Cora Riley (A Forgotten Relics Novel, Book One) by Ellie Di Julio (A Bearded Scribe Blog Tour)

Bonjour, Beardies!

When Ellie Di Julio approached me about a blog tour to promote her title, The Transmigration of Cora Riley, I was drawn in by the amazing cover. Yeah, yeah... I know you should never judge a book by one, but it captivated me to read the premise, and I was sold. Magic, a soul-searching quest, and a trip to the Underworld; what could be better?

Cora Riley has always dreamed of a more extraordinary life; when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to forego college and the promise of one, settling down and marrying shortly after. After suffering a mental breakdown, leading to a divorce, Cora is forced to move back home with her parents, reminding her even more of her ordinary existence and the possibilities of more.

On an impulse, Cora decides to flee her parents' house in the middle of the night in search of the life she relinquished. When her truck loses traction, causing it to roll and crash and her death, Cora succumbs to the clutches of the Mistress of the Underworld. The Mistress agrees to give her a second chance at life—but only if she can first complete a quest.

With the help of an atypical angel named Jack, a lost, young soul named Xavier, and the courage and determination she had once abandoned, Cora must travel through a complicated system of portals in search of a secret, thirteenth door (one that may not even exist) in order to complete her quest—and she must do it in only three days.

Gems for Writers:
World Building. You probably assumed this would appear, but Di Julio truly does give us an incredibly-built world—several, actually. In The Transmigration of Cora Riley, we are introduced to the idea of twelve heavens, concepts based upon ideas held throughout various cultures. While Di Julio does not describe all twelve, she sets the premise for these worlds, all while immersing her characters and readers into a handful. The worlds range from stereotypical to mythological, borrowing elements from each yet expounding upon them with Di Julio's own twists and interpretations.

Mythology & Folklore Tie-In. This Gem is, in truth, one in the same with the World-Builing Gem, but let's delve a little deeper. Di Julio takes elements and characters from various mythological and folklore sources and makes them her own. Gods and goddesses from ancient mythos mix with angels, orcs, Faerie, dryads, and sprites, all done beautifully and believably. And a romp through Valhalla never hurt anyone, right?

Romantic Plotlines. Not only is Di Julio a great world-builder, but she's quite the romantic, too. Cora's relationship with Jack starts off as just a business transaction of sorts, the two seemingly as different from one another as one could imagine. Attraction builds between the two not-so-polar opposites, climaxing in a tastefully-written love scene, and culminating with a bittersweet and unpredictable twist.

Pebbles to Polish:
Poor Editing. While the story and the wonderfully-crafted worlds warrant a 5-Star rating, there are editing issues that exist throughout the story. These do not distract from the storytelling, however, and are only noticeable to those with a finely-tuned eye. {DISCLAIMER: The editing issues are present on the ARC I received from the author, which have been addressed in the final.}


Alongside heaven building and mythological tie-ins, Di Julio also weaves supernatural with mundane and sprinkles in a bit of magic, all while telling an awesome tale that left me wanting more. The readers get so caught up in Cora's story, they don't know that they're truly being directed to their own secret portal: a twist ending that is sure to please. I can't wait to find out what happens next in The Forgotten Relics series.

Keep Calm & Trust the Beard,

***The Transmigration of Cora Riley (2013), by Ellie DiJulio, is published by and copyright Elle Belle Media. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.

***Per FTC Regulations: I received a free Advance Reading Copy (ARC) from the author and was not compensated in any way, monetarily or otherwise, for this review.

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