The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

The Book (of the series) Where Everything Changes. Now give me the next one, please!

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Quick Takes #5: Finishing up 2013

It’s that time again: when I’m so behind, I have to do Quick Takes.  Here’s what I thought of the last few books I read in 2013.  There’s kind of a lot of them, so buckle up! Continue reading

Do You Suffer from Long-Term Memory Loss?

MemorysWakeTourBanner

Today I am pleased to be part of a blog tour, run by Xpresso Book Tours.  Stay tuned to the end for giveaways!

Memory’s Wake by Selina Fenech

MemorysWake

First Look:

Goth Cute.  She’s got a full face!

Jacket Copy:

Lost in a world full of monstrous fairies, a troubled sixteen year old has to find out who she is and why her memories were stolen before she is found by those who want her dead. She takes the name “Memory” and knows she has just one goal – to find her way home, wherever that is. But this land is strange. No technology to be seen, and iron is banned, thanks to a pact the humans have with the magical creatures who share their pre-industrial era world. In her t-shirt and torn jeans, Memory knows she’s different, even before she performs impossible magic. Haunted by her past, chased by a dragon, wanted by the king and stalked by the strange, handsome savage that seems to know her, everyone is after Memory, and she suspects it’s not just for her eye-catching outfit. Her forgotten past holds dangerous secrets that will challenge everything she believes and risk the lives of everyone she loves. Memory’s Wake contains over 45 illustrations by the author and artist. Continue reading

The Best People Are Born in October

The October Daye series (so far) by Seanan McGuire

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First Look:

Toby clearly is less about the glamour and more about the grit than a lot of urban fantasy protagonists.  Which is wonderful and refreshing.

Jacket Copy:

[From Rosemary and Rue, the first volume.]

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. Continue reading

Fairy Prince or Huntress?

Ash by Malinda Lo

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First Look:

*Slow Clap*  Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Of course, that means the publisher did change it for the paperback.

Jacket Copy:

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love. Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief. Continue reading

Wonderland: Even Scarier Than You Thought

Splintered by A.G. Howard

First Look:

Now this is a Big Face cover I can get behind, because it also looks unsettling in a way that is really appropriate to the book.  She looks a little unhinged, and the vine grabbing her hair is a great sinister touch.

Jacket Copy:

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. Continue reading

Should’ve Stayed Longer in Fairyland

Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

First Look:

Nothing innovative about this cover, but nothing objectionable, either.  Looks like a world-hopping fantasy: is a world-hopping fantasy.

Jacket Copy:

Teagan Wylltson’s best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures—goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty—are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn’t worried. Her life isn’t in danger. In fact, it’s perfect. She’s on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She’s focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn’s a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he’s crazy or he’s been haunting Abby’s dreams, because he’s talking about goblins, too… and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby’s right. The goblins are coming. Continue reading

Learning to Live (Again)

Faerie Winter by Janni Lee Simner

First Look:

Just like the first one, this cover is beautifully stark (and lacks a fancy gown, hurrah!), somehow managing to convey an unsettling feeling while sticking with a nature theme.  Bottom line: I love these covers.

Note: this is the second volume in a series: spoilers below!

Jacket Copy:

The long-awaited sequel to Janni Lee Simner’s breathtaking YA fantasy debut, Bones of Faerie.

Liza is a summoner. She can draw life to herself, even from beyond the grave. And because magic works both ways, she can drive life away. Months ago, she used her powers to banish her dangerous father and to rescue her mother, lost in dreams, from the ruined land of Faerie.

Born in the wake of the war between humanity and Faerie, Liza lived in a world where green things never slept, where trees sought to root in living flesh and bone. But now the forests have fallen silent. Even the evergreens’ branches are bare. Winter crops won’t grow, and the threat of starvation looms. And deep in the forest a dark, malevolent will is at work. To face it, Liza will have to find within herself something more powerful than magic alone.

Here at last is the sequel to Bones of Faerie, for all those fans of dark fantasy and dystopian adventure who thrilled to Janni Lee Simner’s unique vision of a postapocalyptic world infused with magic. Continue reading

Magical Tattoos & Alchemy

Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

First Look:

The silver tattoos are quite pretty, though since Donna’s ashamed of them, I don’t know why she’s hiding behind her arm.  Points for the vial, it’s very important at the denouement; points off for the clockwork bits on the vial, since I have no clue what that’s about (other than pandering to the steampunk crowd).

Jacket Copy:

Freak. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

…I’ve made the decision not to reproduce the rest of the jacket copy.  It’s one of those terrible instances where the description mentions an event which happens halfway through the book, thus making you anticipate this event throughout the first half, when that was never the author’s intention. Continue reading