Series check-in: October Daye, books 2 & 3


October Daye is the main character in Seanan McGuire’s ongoing urban fantasy series (conveniently known as the October Daye series), which is set mainly in the San Francisco Bay Area (yay!) and includes all sorts of full-blood and mixed-blood denizens of the world of Faerie. October — Toby — is half fae, half human; in this world, someone of mixed blood is called a changeling, and Toby exemplifies the complicated lives that changelings lead: She has some magical abilities, but they tend to take a toll on her physically. She can’t pass for human without casting an illusion, but she doesn’t belong fully in the Summerlands — the lands of faerie beyond the mortal world.

Toby is also a hero, much as she might dislike the label. As a sworn knight to her liege lord Sylvester, ruler of Shadowed Hills, she fights on his behalf and rights wrongs when needed, usually putting herself into grave danger along the way.

The series kicks off with Rosemary & Rue (reviewed here), a book that sets the stage in terms of world-building. I’ve now read books 2 and 3 in the series (both published 2010), and can (happily) report that the story continues to be fun and exciting and even a little bit heart-breaking along the way.

In A Local Habitation, Toby is sent by Sylvester to investigate an odd situation in the neighboring land ruled by his niece, which happens to be situated on top of/alongside Fremont, California, right in Silicon Valley. The land in question is housed inside a tech company. Weird, right? Something is going on inside the cubicles besides office politics, and what should have been a relatively simple visit turns into a deadly hunt for a killer. And naturally, Toby’s own life is on the line alongside everyone else’s.

In An Artificial Night, fae and human children are stolen by Blind Michael’s wild hunt, and Toby is the only one with a shot at rescuing them before they’re permanently changed into damaged creatures bound to the Ride. The story is quite dark, both because it’s children at risk and because the danger to Toby seems inescapably fatal. The odds of her returning from her travels into Blind Michael’s lands are slim to none, and as the book progresses, it’s harder and harder to believe that Toby will survive.

Of course, I’m well aware that there are another 8 or 9 books in the series so far, and seeing how it’s Toby’s series, I never quite believed that she stood any chance of dying. Still, she gets hurt in the most creative ways in each book, and it’s a wonder that this woman can still stand, much less breathe, by the end.

I’m thoroughly enjoying Toby as a character as well as the stories overall. The supporting characters are quite delightful, especially Sylvester and his wife Luna; Lily, the undine who presides over the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park; Quentin, the teen-aged pureblood learning to be a knight; and the one who stands the best chance of becoming everyone’s book boyfriend, Tybalt, the smirking, dangerous, and sexy King of Cats. (Note: He’s not a cat. He’s a Cait Sidhe, which according to the October Daye Wiki, are “cat shapeshifters. They are ruled by no court but their own after petitioning Oberon for independence. They control the forgotten places and walk the shadows. The Cait Sidhe live in loose alliances called Courts, which each answer to a single King or Queen. The rulers ascend by a trial of combat.”

I’m assuming that Tybalt is the slow-burn love interest of the series, although so far there’s just some unacknowledged chemistry between him and Toby. I’m betting that their simmering interactions will get hotter and hotter as the books progress. (But if you’ve read the books, don’t tell me if I’m right!)

I do still have some unanswered questions about Toby’s backstory and how she came to be Sylvester’s knight in the first place, and it seems like there’s still a lot more to learn about Toby’s mother — especially since fae folk refer to Toby as “Amandine’s daughter” constantly, as if this has great meaning.

This being an urban fantasy series, some of the more predictable elements are really more issues with UF tropes than complaints about the series. Things like Toby being in danger every time she turns around, Toby always being the one to battle the bad guys, even though she has less power than the purebloods, Toby having some sort of undefined mystique in the fae world, and the plethora of enemies who want to do her in. And of course, the fact that as the main character, we know that she’ll come out okay in the end.

The language and terminology and speech patterns used in the books in quite fun, but I am getting a little tired of Toby’s constant use of either “Root and Branch!” or “Oak and Ash!” as interjections. (Yes, they’re kind of cute, but Toby says them A LOT.)

That being said, it’s definitely exciting to see Toby come to turns with past hurts, build alliances, and face the reality of her role as a hero. I’m dying to see what happens next, and will definitely be continuing the series.

I’ve been listening to the audiobooks so far (hence any misspellings of character/creature/place names in this post — sorry!), and have loved the narration by Mary Robinette Kowal. Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have audio versions of the next few books in the series, so I’ll be switching to paper. I’ll miss the great voices and accents, but on the plus side, I’ll probably be able to move through the books a lot faster.

If you’re an urban fantasy fan, definitely check out the October Daye series! It’s fast-paced, exciting, and with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading for hours on end.

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Shelf Control #111: The Replacement

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: 2010
Length: 343 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

How and when I got it:

I really have no idea. I probably picked up my copy at a library sale, but it’s been long enough that I don’t remember actually buying it.

Why I want to read it:

Okay, number one? That cover! I mean, creepy — right? I’m pretty sure I grabbed a copy based on the cover alone, but the description sounds aewesome too. I’ve read other stories about changelings traded for human children, and they’re never not scary.

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Audiobook Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire


October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.

Rosemary and Rue  is the first book in the ongoing October Daye series — and as the first book, it has a lot of heavy lifting to do, in terms of establishing characters, building a world, and setting up the rules of the supernatural system that dictates the possibilities of plot from the starting point onward. Fortunately, Seanan McGuire is supremely talented and inventive, and in Rosemary and Rue, she’s more than up to the challenge of creating a world we’ll want to stay in.

Set in and around San Francisco, R&R starts with a pretty ominous set-up for Toby (October) in the prologue. While chasing her liege lord’s enemy (who’s also his twin brother), Toby walks into a trap and loses the next fourteen years of her life. I won’t say why or how — it’s just too much fun to find out for yourself.

We re-meet Toby in chapter one after she’s returned to a version of her former life, having sworn off anything to do with the world of the fae, determined to live as simply human and ignore the other half of her changeling identity. She’s been burned too badly and has lost far too much to be able to stomach the idea of returning to the intricate systems of fae courts and allegiances and territories. But Evening’s murder sucks her back in against her will, and soon enough Toby is brought face to face with old allies, lovers, and enemies. Her own life is on the line as she tries to solve the murder. If she fails, Evening’s dying curse will take Toby’s life as well.

The plot of R&R follows Toby’s search for clues and her reinvolvement with characters from her past, some well-meaning, some clearly not. As a changeling, Toby’s magical abilities are only so-so, and each time she engages with a pureblood, she’s at risk. As you’d expect in an  urban fantasy series, Toby is a smart-ass, tough woman with her own set of abilities, not least a talent for thinking on her feet, reading a room, and figuring out how to get what she wants. Still, she has vulnerabilities too, both physical and emotional, and she certainly suffers throughout the book as all sorts of baddies are out to get her and stop her investigation.

I love Toby as a character, and love the odd assortment of changelings and purebloods we meet along the way. Also excellent is the use of San Francisco as a setting. While some of the location descriptions didn’t quite gel with the reality of the area, others (such as the use of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park) are just brilliant.

I have to give a shout-out to the most endearing and adorable magical creature in the book, a “rose goblin” named Spike. Picture a cat with thorns instead of fur, and you have the basic idea. Just loved it.

I did wish that Toby’s backstory was spelled out in a little more concrete detail. As with many urban fantasy stories, we start in the middle of the action and learn about Toby’s difficult past through various references as we go along. It’s enough to give a general timeline, but I still have questions. What does it mean that she’s a knight? What was the process to become one? How did she first join Sylvester’s court? Maybe future volumes in the series will provide more specifics.

Even thought the solution to the murder wasn’t that difficult to guess, I still enjoyed the revelations, Toby’s realizations about the various people in her life, and the reasons behind the events. The plot is fast-paced and exciting, and I enjoyed the adventure start to finish.

Narrator Mary Robinette Kowal brings her talents to the variety of characters, with accents and intonations and pitches that distinguish them and make it easy to identify the speaker at any given point — not always easy in audiobooks. As with the Indexing books, she does a great job of making the story flow, and I enjoyed her depiction of Toby’s inner life.

Rosemary and Rue was really a fun listen, and I’m planning on diving right in with book #2.

Note: Woo hoo! I’ve started another series from my reading goals list for 2018!
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The details:

Title: Rosemary and Rue
Author: Seanan McGuire
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Publisher: DAW Books
Publication date: September 1, 2009
Length (print): 346 pages
Length (audiobook): 11 hours, 20 minutes
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

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Take A Peek Book Review: Roses and Rot

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

Roses and Rot

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

 

My Thoughts:

If a book has haunting imagery and some terrific passages, is that enough to get past a plot that doesn’t quite make sense? Perhaps not. In Roses and Rot, we follow two adult sisters who are accepted into an elite and mysterious artists’ retreat for a year. Imogen and Marin have lived apart for years, but their residency at Melete offers them a chance to both hone their art and mend their relationship.

Which all sounds terrific, but there’s more. The school borders Faerie, and the artists who achieve the stunning success that Melete is famous for do so at a cost. Imogen and Marin both want the guaranteed flourishing of talent that will come if they pay the price, but according to the twisted Fae rules, only one can be chosen.

Meanwhile, they and the other artists work and live in a dreamlike setting, with magical fairs popping up from time to time, when the borders between worlds become porous and the Fae walk freely among the humans across the campus.

Everyone seems to accept the existence of the Fae and the odd rules and opportunities without more than a blink of an eye. Imogen and Marin come to Melete with no knowledge of any of this, but they just fall right into it as if it were normal. Imogen has been fascinated by fairy tales her entire life, finding in them an escape from their horribly abusive mother, but it seems to me that it should have been a much bigger leap to accept the fantastic as real. The entire retreat, not to mention the lure of the Fae promises, makes even less sense for Marin, who already has a promising career in ballet just starting to take off when she enrolls in this voluntary seclusion for the year of her residency.

The story is kind of all over the place. I enjoyed the relationship between the sisters, and was moved (and horrified) by the memories of their mother’s incredible cruelty. The interplay between the artists’ success and the debt to Faerie just didn’t particularly work for me. There are pieces that made little or no sense, and some storylines that seem to drop in and then out again without much reason.

Overall, this is a book that includes some lovely writing, but the plot itself lost me somewhere along the way, and the characters seemed more like types than actual people. I just didn’t get swept up, and I think the success of the book as a whole depends on how much you can get lost in the atmosphere of the storytelling.

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The details:

Title: Roses and Rot
Author: Kat Howard
Publisher: Saga Press
Publication date: May 17, 2016
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Fantasy/contemporary/adult
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Shelf Control #5: The Uncertain Places

Shelves final

Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Uncertain PlacesTitle: The Uncertain Places
Author: Lisa Goldstein
Published: 2011
Length: 237 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In this long-awaited new novel from American Book Award winner Lisa Goldstein, an ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic, revealing the places between them.

When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced by his best friend, Ben, to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, Will quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia—are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women believe that luck is their handmaiden, and so it is, almost as though they are living in a fairy tale.

But the price for such gifts is extremely high. Will and Ben will unravel the riddle of a supernatural bargain, hoping to save Livvy from what appears to be an inescapable fate.

How I got it:

I bought it.

When I got it:

Several years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I read a review of this book shortly after its release, and the reviewer absolutely raved about how great it is. I picked up a copy on my next visit to a bookstore, but somehow ended up shelving it and never picking it up again. I still think it sounds like something I’d love!

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!

 

For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

Graphic Reaction: The Good Neighbors series by Holly Black

Let’s talk about the terrific trilogy I just read! Presenting…

KinKith 0-439-85564-0

Holly Black excels at creating beautiful yet dangerous faerie worlds in her novels, and here she does so in graphic novel format.

Kin, Kith, and Kind tell the story of Rue Silver, a seemingly normal high school student whose life starts falling apart when her mother disappears. When her father, a folklore professor at the local university, is accused of murdering a student, things gets decidedly weirder.

Rue sees odd visions — people with horns or wings, a creature in the tree outside her house — and remembers all the slightly bizarre things about her mother. Like, for example, how her beautiful mother never seems to age, and how she hangs out naked in the garden, and how the flowers seem to respond to her.

The truth is slowly revealed: Rue’s mother is a faerie, making Rue only half-mortal. And it turns out there’s a plot afoot: Rue’s grandfather Aubrey is a faerie king, and wants to claim the entire city as a world for his people.

These books are such fun! There’s drama and danger, romantic love, passionate encounters, and familial love and loyalty at stake. The story builds, with Rue evolving into a force to be reckoned with, the more she claims her birthright and power.

I really liked the illustrations, which are in black and white throughout the three books. Rue and her friends are all distinct and well-drawn, and I love Rue’s depiction as a cool, funky, rebellious girl, in looks as well as in actions. The inhabitants of the faerie world are visually wonderful, with wings or fangs or talons, beautiful and menacing, and each one different and unusual. The details are terrific, and I particularly love the pages with crowd scenes, where all the various denizens of faerie (or the human world) appear as individuals, even when the page is teeming with them.

The story starts small, focusing on Rue and her personal dilemmas, and grows to a much wider scale, culminating in a fight for survival between the human and faerie worlds.

These books are a quick read, and ideally should be read right in a row for peak enjoyment. I found the Good Neighbors trilogy a really nice treat after a lot of heavier reading, and recommend them as a (dare I say it?) magical diversion when you’re looking for something a bit different to spend your time with.

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The details:

Title: Kin (book 1), Kith (book 2), Kind (book 3)
Author: Holly Black
Illustrator: Ted Naifeh
Publisher: Graphix
Publication date: 2008 – 2010
Length: 128 – 144 pages
Genre: Graphic novel
Source: Library

Take A Peek Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought. This week’s “take a peek” book:

darkest part

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My Thoughts:

I find myself not quite knowing what to say about this unusual, lovely book. I love the juxtaposition of the modern world, with its IPods and high school parties, alongside the hidden world of the Folk who live in the deep, dark forest. In fact, the opening lines create such a magical aura that it’s a bit jarring to realize that this story is set in a 21st century real-world town with ordinary teens who drive cars, drink beer in the woods, go to football games, buy vintage clothing, and have all the usual rivalries, gossip, and tensions you’d see in any young adult novel.

And yet, in the town of Fairfold, residents know that there are other beings in the forest, and it’s best to be wary. Every child knows the rules, such as never saying “thank you” to a fairy or eating any food offered. It’s just tourists, flocking to what’s known as a kitschy destination with cutesy, magic-themed main street shops, who get into trouble, finding their money replaced by leaves or, in more recent years, being subjected not just to harmless pranks but to actual life-threatening danger.

Hazel and Ben have grown up with the stories and know the ropes. They’re also each crazily infatuated with the sleeping prince in the glass coffin in the woods, and have concocted all sorts of fantasies about him and his world. As the story progresses, we learn much more about Hazel and her secrets, and what she’s done to help her brother, despite all the warnings and scary-sounding rhymes.

While the book is a bit odd at first, introducing plot points as facts already known (so that I kept having to flip back and say, “wait, when did that happen?”), it eventually settles into a logic and rhythm that work. The everyday lives alongside the magical, and the writing too can veer from the commonplace to the enchanted in the blink of an eye.

I loved the strange interplay between waking life and dreams, and I especially loved how traditional fairy tale gender roles are turned on their heads. A girl is the wielder of a powerful sword, defending family and all those who need her strength. A boy can find true love by waking a sleeping prince.

Meanwhile, there are changelings, goblins, a terrifying Alderking, and a creature so consumed by the loss of her true love that she literally becomes a monster.

In The Darkest Part of the Forest, author Holly Black creates a spell-binding tale of sibling love, bravery and devotion, with language that weaves its own magical enchantment.

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The details:

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 13, 2015
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Source: Purchased

Book Review: Unthinkable

Book Review: Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin

In this young adult novel, faerie curses have a huge impact on the lives of a human family. But will human love triumph over faerie tricks?

Unthinkable takes place in the same world as Nancy Werlin’s previous novels Impossible and Extraordinary. Given how much I loved those two books, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to have enjoyed Unthinkable as much as I did.

In Impossible, we meet Lucy, the latest in a long line of women in the Scarborough family, doomed by a faerie curse that’s been passed down over the generations for four hundred years. The Scarborough curse binds each daughter of the family to a cruel faerie lord, Padraig, and each generation repeats the cycle of bearing a daughter, abandoning the daughter in the human world as she is condemned to Faerie, and then witnessing the enslavement of that daughter 18 years later. The curse can be broken only by the completion of three impossible tasks. Is Lucy the one who finally stands a chance at ending her family’s curse?

In Unthinkable, the focus of the story shifts to Fenella, the first of the Scarborough women to be ensnared by the faerie curse. We learn of the curse’s origins, and how the Scarborough women first fell under Padraig’s power. Now, Fenella has yet another challenge in front of her, and in order to succeed and finally eliminate Padraig’s influence for good, she may have to destroy what she values most: her own family.

Fenella is a strong but vulnerable main character. Having lived in Faerie for 400 years, she is human but sensitive to magic, and fated to live in limbo, neither fully a part of the human world nor able to die a normal, mortal death. As Fenella finds her way back to her family, she has to decide what she is willing to do in order to accomplish her goals, and just how much of a sacrifice she’s willing to make. She’s a fascinating character: The author doesn’t portray her as perfect, and we see her struggles with fear, selfishness and doubt battling with her growing urge to protect her family and shield them from pain. The more she experiences life among her human family, the more she realizes that the bargain that she’s made may have been her biggest mistake yet.

Meanwhile, Fenella’s story intersects with Lucy and the other characters we met in Impossible. I’m trying to avoid spoilers for all three books, so I won’t say much about the how or why of Fenella’s involvement with Lucy and her family. Suffice it to say, Fenella has choices to make, and her choices may impact Lucy and the rest of her family — forever.

Short version of a review? I loved Impossible and Extraordinary (which is only obliquely related, but does influence parts of this story), and I definitely was not disappointed by Unthinkable. The plot is emotionally involving and fast-moving, and I was kept guessing throughout as Fenella faces a series of obstacles and tasks to complete. Overall, I’d say Unthinkable is a terrific addition to this loosely-connected series, as well as just a really great young adult book that’s sure to appeal to readers who like a bit of magic and other-worldliness in their family dramas and love stories.

Do you need to read Impossible and Extraordinary before reading Unthinkable? This is one of those rare occasions where I think you could jump right into the most recent book and still have it make sense… but why would you want to? Impossible always makes my lists of most recommended YA fiction, and I’m happy to say that Extraordinary and Unthinkable belong on that list too.  For a haunting, compelling, and magical read, don’t miss any of these three books by Nancy Werlin.

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The details:

Title: Unthinkable
Author: Nancy Werlin
Publisher: Dial
Publication date: 2013
Genre: Young adult
Source: Purchased

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

 Unthinkable

Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin
(to be released September 2013)

From Goodreads:

Fenella was the first Scarborough girl to be cursed, hundreds of years ago, and she has been trapped in the faerie realm ever since, forced to watch generations of daughters try to break this same faerie curse that has enslaved them all. [SNIP! A bit of the synopsis has been deleted to spare y’all from spoilers related to the previous book!]

In her desperation, Fenella makes a deal with the faerie queen: If she can accomplish three acts of destruction, she will be free, at last, to die.  What she doesn’t realize is that these acts must be aimed at her own family and if she fails, the consequences will be dire, for all of the Scarborough girls.

How can she possibly choose to hurt her own cherished family not to mention the new man whom she’s surprised to find herself falling in love with? But if she doesn’t go through with the tasks, how will she manage to save her dear ones?

Why do I want to read this?

BECAUSE IT’S THE SEQUEL TO IMPOSSIBLE!

Okay, I’ll calm down now. I loved Impossible. The story of the Scarborough curse is haunting and beautiful, and I loved how the author constructed the story using the old Scarborough Fair song — but altered to fit the faerie-curse storyline. I am so excited that the author has written a follow-up novel, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Meanwhile, between now and September, check out Impossible — and I also highly recommend Nancy Werlin’s more recent faerie-world book, Extraordinary.

Quick note to Wishlist Wednesday bloggers: Come on back to Bookshelf Fantasies for Flashback Friday! Join me in celebrating the older gems hidden away on our bookshelves. See the introductory post for more details, and come back this Friday to add your flashback favorites!

Wishlist Wednesday

And now, for this week’s Wishlist Wednesday…

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Please consider adding the blog hop button to your blog somewhere, so others can find it easily and join in too! Help spread the word! The code will be at the bottom of the post under the linky.
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.
  • Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it’s on your wishlist.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
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My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

Other Kingdoms by Richard Matheson
(published 2011)

From Amazon:

For over half a century, Richard Matheson has enthralled and terrified readers with such timeless classics as I Am Legend, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Duel, Somewhere in Time, and What Dreams May Come. Now the Grand Master returns with a bewitching tale of erotic suspense and enchantment.…

1918. A young American soldier, recently wounded in the Great War, Alex White comes to Gatford to escape his troubled past. The pastoral English village seems the perfect spot to heal his wounded body and soul. True, the neighboring woods are said to be haunted by capricious, even malevolent spirits, but surely those are just old wives’ tales.

Aren’t they?

A frightening encounter in the forest leads Alex into the arms of Magda Variel, an alluring red-haired widow rumored to be a witch. She warns him to steer clear of the wood and the perilous faerie kingdom it borders, but Alex cannot help himself. Drawn to its verdant mysteries, he finds love, danger…and wonders that will forever change his view of the world.

Other Kingdoms casts a magical spell, as conjured by a truly legendary storyteller.

Why do I want to read this?

First off, it’s Richard Matheson! Not only is he responsible for some remarkable works of fiction, he is also the creator of fiction that inspired some remarkable movie achievements as well. Somewhere In Time has to be one of the most romantic movies of all time (Christopher Reeve! Jane Seymour!), and when I finally discovered the book, I loved it as well. Based only on Somewhere In Time, you might assume that Richard Matheson writes mainly in the romance/fantasy genre… until you encounter pieces as diverse as the scary I Am Legend and short story Steel, the basis for last year’s boxing robot movie Real Steel.

Other Kingdoms sounds right up my alley. Post-WWI historical setting, mysterious woods, a dangerous faerie kingdom — too intriguing to pass up! Mortals inadvertently crossing a border into faerie have cropped up in several novels I’ve read over the past few years: Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale and Susanna Clarke’s masterpiece Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, among others. Done well, these stories can be chilling in their mix of the ordinary and the magical, as they take the sparkly fairy worlds of our collective childhoods and reinvent them as strange universes full of menace and wonder. I have a feeling that Other Kingdoms, in the hands of Richard Matheson, will fit right in with the best of the best.

Quick note to Wishlist Wednesday bloggers: Come on back to Bookshelf Fantasies for Flashback Friday! Join me in celebrating the older gems hidden away on our bookshelves. See the introductory post for more details, and come back this Friday to add your flashback favorites!