The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Like the previous week, there’s only one new book to add to the pile, but it sounds like fun!

Last week didn’t leave me with a lot of spare time so there have not been any new posts since last weekend, but I’m hoping I’ll soon have time to work on a review of Stephanie Burgis’ fun new book Snowspelled.

A Spoonful of Magic by Irene Radford

A Spoonful of Magic by Irene Radford

This urban fantasy by Irene Radford, whose previous books include the Dragon Nimbus and Merlin’s Descendants series, will be released on November 7 (mass market paperback, ebook).

 

A delightful new urban fantasy about a kitchen witch and her magical family

Daphne “Daffy” Rose Wallace Deschants has an ideal suburban life—three wonderful and talented children; a coffee shop and bakery, owned and run with her best friend; a nearly perfect husband, Gabriel, or “G” to his friends and family. Life could hardly be better.

But G’s perfection hides dangerous secrets. When Daffy uncovers evidence of his infidelity, her perfect life seems to be in ruins. On their wedding anniversary, Daffy prepares to confront him, only to be stopped in her tracks when he foils a mugging attempt using wizard-level magic.

Suddenly, Daphne is part of a world she never imagined—where her husband is not a traveling troubleshooter for a software company, but the sheriff of the International Guild of Wizards, and her brilliant children are also budding magicians. Even she herself is not just a great baker and barista—she’s actually a kitchen witch. And her discovery of her powers is only just beginning.

But even the midst of her chaotic new life, another problem is brewing. G’s ex-wife, a dangerous witch, has escaped from her magical prison. Revenge-bent and blind, she needs the eyes of her son to restore her sight—the son Daffy has raised as her own since he was a year old. Now Daphne must find a way to harness her new powers and protect her family—or risk losing everything she holds dear.

 

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

There’s only one book to add to the leaning pile this week, but it sounds like a rather interesting one!

There’s also one new post since last weekend, my review of Yangsze Choo’s novel The Ghost Bride. I very much enjoyed it, especially both the historical and fantastical settings.

And now, the latest book arrival is…

The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper

The Silver Ship and the Sea (Fremont’s Children #1) by Brenda Cooper

The tenth anniversary edition of Brenda Cooper’s first solo novel, The Silver Ship and the Sea, was recently re-released (trade paperback, ebook). Though the author’s preferred version of this Endeavour Award–winning book tells the same story as the edition published in 2007, the writing has been edited to make it more polished. Both of the sequels will also be re-published, and a new fourth book will follow.

It’s possible to read a sample from The Silver Ship and the Sea on Amazon.

 

Winner of the Endeavour Award

Prisoners of a war they barely remember, Fremont’s Children must find a way to survive in a world that abhors their very nature. Or they must discover a way to leave it…

Brenda Cooper’s Fremont’s Children series launches with her award-winning novel The Silver Ship and the Sea. Cooper explores what it means to be so different that others feel they must oppress you.

Six genetically enhanced children are stranded on the colony planet Fremont in a war between genetic purists and those that would tinker with the code. Orphaned, the children have few remnants of their heritage other than an old woman who was left for abandoned at the end of the war, and a mysterious silver ship that appears to have no doors.

To keep themselves alive, the children must leave the safety of the insular community and brave the beautiful but dangerous wilds of Fremont. Is it an echo of their own natures, or a proving ground of their genetic worth?

In this battle of wills and principles, what does the future hold for Fremont’s Children?

The Ghost Bride
by Yangsze Choo
384pp (Trade Paperback)
My Rating: 7.5/10
Amazon Rating: 4.1/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.78/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.73/5
 

Yangsze Choo’s debut novel, The Ghost Bride, garnered much acclaim after its 2013 release: it was a finalist for several awards including the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, Shirley Jackson Award for Novel, Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy, and CILIP Carnegie Medal, plus it was a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah.com Book of the Week. The Ghost Bride is indeed a wonderful novel, especially impressive as a first novel, and it particularly excels at bringing to life both the historical setting of Malaya in 1893 and the Chinese afterlife.

As Pan Li Lan’s eighteenth birthday approaches, her father receives her first marriage offer. The Lim family, one of the most prosperous households in the town of Malacca, would like her to marry their only son, Lim Tian Ching, but there’s a rather large drawback to this arrangement: the proposed bridegroom died a few months ago.

Ghost marriage is a rare occurrence, especially in a case such as this one—Li Lan does not even remember so much as seeing Lim Tian Ching during his short life, though she probably attended the same festivals as he a couple of times—and her father only mentions this option to her because she’d be well provided for if she joined the Lim family. Though once wealthy themselves, the Pan’s fortune has steadily dwindled since Li Lan’s father became a recluse following the death of her mother when Li Lan was just a small child. Despite their financial circumstances, Li Lan is not at all interested in accepting this proposal, yet the Lim family does invite her to their estate where she meets and is drawn to the new family heir, a nephew named Tian Bai.

Shortly after Li Lan begins visiting the Lim family, Lim Tian Ching appears to her in a dream. Unknown to her, he saw Li Lan at a festival before his death and has wanted to marry her ever since—and now he claims he has come to court her. After this, he continues to haunt her dreams insisting that she will marry him, and when she refuses, he states she has no choice in the matter for she was to be his reward from officials in the afterlife. Lim Tian Ching becomes especially incensed after seeing Li Lan with Tian Bai, asserting that his cousin had him murdered.

This persistent intrusion into her dreams leads Li Lan to seek help from a medium, who gives her a powder to take before sleeping. When it fails to keep Lim Tian Ching away, she takes too much and wakes up the next morning as a spirit, watching her own unconscious form while her household puzzles over what could be wrong. Though Li Lan tries, she can’t rejoin her spirit and body and ends up undertaking a journey to the Plains of the Dead on a mission to discover the truth about Lim Tian Ching’s mysterious dealings in the afterlife—and in the process, learns more about both the Lim family and her own.

The Ghost Bride is a fantastic story, and its setting particularly shines, as well as the writing that brings it alive so vividly. Though there is quite a bit of telling and exposition interspersed throughout Li Lan’s first person narrative, it didn’t bother me as much it often does for a couple of reasons: it was interesting and pertinent information about Malacca in the 1890s and the afterlife, especially considering the setting was the highlight of the novel, and it was usually kept fairly brief before continuing the story. The prose is quite evocative of both the living world with its descriptions of buildings, food, and people and the spirit world with its ghosts and demons (and a dragon makes an appearance!).

The pacing could be a little slow at times, but I didn’t find this to be a huge problem. Despite being a slower book, it was suspenseful since there were a lot of mysteries to resolve as Li Lan traversed the town as a spirit and learned more about the world of the dead. Families, politics, and vendettas from life carried over into the afterlife, allowing Li Lan to learn more about her own family’s past and their connection to the Lim family. I quite enjoyed discovering these along with her, and there were plenty of questions to keep one curious about what would happen: Would Li Lan manage to reconnect her spirit and body, and if so, could she ever be free of Lim Tian Ching’s obsession? Was Lim Tian Ching in fact murdered, and if so, was his cousin the one who killed him? And what were these mysterious dealings Lim Tian Ching was involved with after his death, and how did this tie in to his being promised Li Lan as a reward?

Although the setting and story are wonderful, character is not one of The Ghost Bride‘s strengths. None of the characters are particularly complex and seem to have basic qualities that characterize them: for example, Lim Tian Ching is spoiled, believing himself entitled to anything he wants; Li Lan’s amah is superstitious; and Li Lan’s father is scholarly and dismissive of superstition. Other characters tend to be easily placed into categories such as manipulative, kindly, or evil, and the few that do have more traits are the most intriguing characters.

For the most part, the characters do at least seem consistent and believable with the exception of Li Lan herself. Since she hasn’t had much opportunity to live her life until she becomes a spirit, it’s definitely realistic that she’d have a certain amount of naivete. After all, she’s been especially isolated from a young age since her father hasn’t maintained relationships that would allow her to get to know other people outside their household. However, there are times when she goes beyond naive, jumping to conclusions and completely missing what should have been obvious to her in particular—making her appear far less clever than the book and other characters seemed to believe her to be. By the end of the story, she does undergo some development, having changed due to her experiences, but I also would have liked to see a bit more of how her adventures impacted her as a character (although this is a book that seemed to be focused more on world and mysteries than in-depth characterization).

Since character development is my favorite aspect of reading, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed The Ghost Bride. It’s a fascinating meld of history and fantasy with some mysteries, lovely writing, and a nice touch of romance, and I also appreciated that parts of the story didn’t quite go in the direction I’d expected toward the beginning. Although I did want a little more from the characterization and felt that the dialogue was also one of its weaker aspects, I also found it engaging and look forward to Yangsze Choo’s second novel (The Night Tiger).

My Rating: 7.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

This book is August’s selection from a poll on Patreon.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

There’s a lot of catching up to do this week since I’ve been away and super busy. I left for a trip to Montreal one weekend, came back the following weekend, and then had an unusually filled week that led to spending much of that weekend working. This post includes all the books that have come in the mail since then, plus one I purchased during my trip, but first here’s what you may have missed since the last one of these features:

And now, all the books!

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Jade City (Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee

Though Fonda Lee has authored a couple of young adult science fiction novels, including Andre Norton Award finalist and Oregon Spirit Book Award winner Zeroboxer, this upcoming fantasy book is her first adult novel. Orbit Books has an excerpt from Jade City, which will be released on November 7 (hardcover, ebook).

 

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.

Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for — and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Iraq + 100 edited by Hassan Blasim

Iraq + 100: The First Anthology of Science Fiction to Have Emerged from Iraq edited by Hassan Blasim

This anthology contains ten stories revolving around the theme of imagining what Iraq may look like in the year 2103, all written by Iraqi authors. Iraq + 100 was published in the UK last year, and it will also be available in the US on September 12 (trade paperback, ebook).

Tor.com has an excerpt from Iraq + 100, the introduction written by the editor, award-winning author Hassan Blasim (whose story “The Gardens of Babylon” is included in the anthology), and translated by Jonathan Wright.

 

Iraq + 100 poses a question to contemporary Iraqi writers: what might your home city look like in the year 2103 – exactly 100 years after the disastrous American and British-led invasion of Iraq? How might that war reach across a century of repair and rebirth, and affect the state of the country – its politics, its religion, its language, its culture – and how might Iraq have finally escaped its chaos, and found its own peace, a hundred years down the line? As well as being an exercise in escaping the politics of the present, this anthology is also an opportunity for a hotbed of contemporary Arabic writers to offer its own spin on science fiction and fantasy.

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Bloodprint (The Khorasan Archives #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Bloodprint, the first book in a quartet, is mystery writer and former Muslim Girl magazine editor-in-chief Ausma Zehanat Khan’s fantasy literature debut. It will be released on October 3 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

 

The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first fantasy novel—the opening installment in a thrilling quartet—a tale of religion, oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and hope.

A dark power called the Talisman, born of ignorance and persecution, has risen in the land. Led by a man known only as the One-Eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.

But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her fellow warrior, Sinnia, skilled fighters who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: the Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.

Finding the Bloodprint promises to be their most perilous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal boy they freed from slavery and a man that used to be both Arian’s confidant and sword master—Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.

Call of Fire by Beth Cato

Call of Fire (Blood of Earth #2) by Beth Cato

The sequel to Locus, RT Reviewers’ Choice, and Nebula Award–nominated author Beth Cato’s Breath of Earth was just released on August 15 (trade paperback, ebook). Harper Collins has a sample from Call of Fire, plus an excerpt from Breath of Earth.

 

A resourceful young heroine must protect the world from her enemies—and her own power—in this thrilling sequel to the acclaimed Breath of Earth, an imaginative blend of alternative history, fantasy, science, magic, and adventure.

When an earthquake devastates San Francisco in an alternate 1906, the influx of geomantic energy nearly consumes Ingrid Carmichael. Bruised but alive, the young geomancer flees the city with her friends, Cy, Lee, and Fenris. She is desperate to escape Ambassador Blum, the cunning and dangerous bureaucrat who wants to use Ingrid’s formidable powers to help the Unified Pacific—the confederation of the United States and Japan—achieve world domination. To stop them, Ingrid must learn more about the god-like magic she inherited from her estranged father—the man who set off the quake that obliterated San Francisco.

When Lee and Fenris are kidnapped in Portland, Ingrid and Cy are forced to ally themselves with another ambassador from the Unified Pacific: the powerful and mysterious Theodore Roosevelt. But even TR’s influence may not be enough to save them when they reach Seattle, where the magnificent peak of Mount Rainier looms. Discovering more about herself and her abilities, Ingrid is all too aware that she may prove to be the fuse to light the long-dormant volcano . . . and a war that will sweep the world.

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Up Jumps the Devil author Michael Poore’s second novel was just released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). Penguin Random House has an excerpt from Reincarnation Blues.

 

A wildly imaginative novel about a man who is reincarnated over ten thousand lifetimes to be with his one true love: Death herself.

First we live. Then we die. And then . . . we get another try?

Ten thousand tries, to be exact. Ten thousand lives to “get it right.” Answer all the Big Questions. Achieve Wisdom. And Become One with Everything.

Milo has had 9,995 chances so far and has just five more lives to earn a place in the cosmic soul. If he doesn’t make the cut, oblivion awaits. But all Milo really wants is to fall forever into the arms of Death. Or Suzie, as he calls her.

More than just Milo’s lover throughout his countless layovers in the Afterlife, Suzie is literally his reason for living—as he dives into one new existence after another, praying for the day he’ll never have to leave her side again.

But Reincarnation Blues is more than a great love story: Every journey from cradle to grave offers Milo more pieces of the great cosmic puzzle—if only he can piece them together in time to finally understand what it means to be part of something bigger than infinity. As darkly enchanting as the works of Neil Gaiman and as wisely hilarious as Kurt Vonnegut’s, Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is the story of everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking.

Because it’s more than Milo and Suzie’s story. It’s your story, too.

A Lot Like Christmas: Stories by Connie Willis

A Lot Like Christmas: Stories by Connie Willis

Nebula and Hugo Award–winning author Connie Willis’ upcoming short story collection is an updated edition of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories featuring five brand new stories (plus seven more!), an introduction by the author, an afterword, and the author’s favorite Christmas movies, stories, TV episodes, and poems. A Lot Like Christmas will be released on October 10 (trade paperback, ebook).

 

This new, expanded edition of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories features twelve brilliantly reimagined holiday tales, five of which are collected here for the first time.

Christmas comes but once a year, yet the stories in this dazzling collection are fun to read anytime. They put a speculative spin on the holiday, giving fans of acclaimed author Connie Willis a welcome gift and a dozen reasons to be of good cheer.

Brimming with Willis’s trademark insights and imagination, these heartwarming tales are full of humor, absurdity, human foibles, tragedy, joy, and hope. They both embrace and send up many of the best Christmas traditions, including the holiday newsletter, Secret Santas, office parties, holiday pageants, and Christmas dinners (both elaborate and spare). There are Rockettes, the best and worst Christmas movies, modern-day Magi, Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come—and the triumph of generosity over greed. Like all the timeless classics we return to year after year, these stories affirm our faith in love, magic, and the wonder of the season.

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

This was my one book purchase made while in Montreal. I visited a few bookstores while there and especially had fun browsing the huge fantasy and science fiction sections at Indigo. They had so much that it was hard for me to refrain from buying a lot so I decided to just buy an edition of a book I couldn’t find in the US. The Canadian edition of The Lions of Al-Rassan seemed fitting, especially since the book I purchased last time I was in Montreal was The Fionavar Tapestry omnibus.

 

Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan, a bestselling classic of Canadian literature, is the exhilarating story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when passionate beliefs conspire to remake—or destroy—a world.

Home to three very different cultures, Al-Rassan is a land of seductive beauty and violent history where peace among the people is a precarious thing. Despite their differences, three extraordinary individuals of different faiths are drawn together by a series of unforeseen events. Jehane bet Ishak is a brilliant physician who by saving the life of prominent merchant puts her life in peril. Rodrigo Belmonte is a powerful, charismatic military leader who finds himself exiled by his own king. Ammar ibn Khairan is a renowned poet, courtier, and deadly whose life is changed by a brutal massacre orchestrated by his king. These three find their lives interwoven as fate leads Al-Rassan to the brink of war.

Additional Books:

Brightest Fell Blog Tour Banner

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the upcoming eleventh novel in a series I love for its characters and sense of humor—the New York Times bestselling, Hugo Award–nominated October Daye series! The Brightest Fell will be released in hardcover and ebook on September 5, and I have an excerpt from its beginning to share. I’m also hosting a giveaway of a copy of Rosemary and Rue, the first book in the series and Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula Award–winning author Seanan McGuire’s debut novel. Those from the US and Canada are eligible to win; more details on the book and giveaway are at the end after The Brightest Fell details and excerpt.

About THE BRIGHTEST FELL (October Daye #11 | DAW Hardcover):

Contains an original bonus novella, Of Things Unknown!

Things are slow, and October “Toby” Daye couldn’t be happier about that.  The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn’t have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.

Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.

When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do…until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes.  Now Toby doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks.  Not with Jazz and Tybalt’s lives hanging in the balance.  But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she’s never met, one who’s been missing for over a hundred years?

Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally.  Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine’s oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.

This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.


ONE

October 9th, 2013

Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell. — William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

 

THE FETCH IS ONE of the most feared and least understood figures in Faerie. Their appearance heralds the approach of inescapable death: once the Fetch shows up, there’s nothing that can be done. The mechanism that summons them has never been found, and they’ve always been rare, with only five conclusively identified in the last century. They appear for the supposedly significant—kings and queens, heroes and villains—and they wear the faces of the people they have come to escort into whatever awaits the fae beyond the borders of death. They are temporary, transitory, and terrifying.

My Fetch, who voluntarily goes by “May Daye,” because nothing says “I am a serious and terrible death omen” like having a pun for a name, showed up more than three years ago. She was supposed to foretell my impending doom. Instead, all she managed to foretell was me getting a new roommate. Life can be funny that way.

At the moment, doom might have been a nice change. May was standing on the stage of The Mint, San Francisco’s finest karaoke bar, enthusiastically bellowing her way through an off-key rendition of Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window.” Her live-in girlfriend, Jazz, was sitting at one of the tables closest to the stage, chin propped in her hands, gazing at May with love and adoration all out of proportion to the quality of my Fetch’s singing.

May has the face I wore when she appeared. We don’t look much alike anymore, but when she first showed up at my apartment door to tell me I was going to die, we were identical. She has my memories up to the point of her creation: years upon years of parental issues, crushing insecurity, abandonment, and criminal activities. And right now, none of that mattered half as much as the fact that she also had my absolute inability to carry a tune.

“Why are we having my bachelorette party at a karaoke bar again?” I asked, speaking around the mouth of the beer bottle I was trying to keep constantly against my lips. If I was drinking, I wasn’t singing. If I wasn’t singing, all these people might still be my friends in the morning.

Of course, with as much as most of them had already had to drink, they probably wouldn’t notice if I did sing. Or if I decided to sneak out of the bar, go home, change into my sweatpants, and watch old movies on the couch until I passed out. Which would have been my preference for how my bachelorette party was going to go, if I absolutely had to have one. I didn’t think they were required. May had disagreed with me. Vehemently. And okay, that had sort of been expected.

What I hadn’t expected was for most of my traitorous, backstabbing friends to take her side. Stacy—one of my closest friends since childhood—had actually laughed in my face when I demanded to know why she was doing this to me.

“Being your friend is like trying to get up close and personal with a natural disaster,” she’d said. “Sure, we have some good times, but we spend half of them covered in blood. We just want to spend an evening making you as uncomfortable as you keep making the rest of us.”

Not to be outdone, her eldest daughter, Cassandra, had blithely added, “Besides, we don’t think even you can turn a karaoke party into a bloodbath.”

All of my friends are evil.

As my Fetch and hence the closest thing I had to a sister, May had declared herself to be in charge of the whole affair. That was how we’d wound up reserving most of the tables at The Mint for an all-night celebration of the fact that I was getting married. Even though we didn’t have a date, a plan, or a seating chart, we were having a bachelorette party. Lucky, lucky me.

My name is October Daye. I am a changeling; I am a knight; I am a hero of the realm; and if I never have to hear Stacy sing Journey songs again, it will be too soon.


About the Author
Seanan McGuire lives and works in Washington State, where she shares her somewhat idiosyncratic home with her collection of books, creepy dolls, and enormous blue cats. When not writing—which is fairly rare—she enjoys travel, and can regularly be found any place where there are cornfields, haunted houses, or frogs. A Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula Award-winning author, Seanan’s first book (Rosemary and Rue, the beginning of the October Daye series) was released in 2009, with more than twenty books across various series following since. Seanan doesn’t sleep much.

You can visit her at www.seananmcguire.com.

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire About ROSEMARY AND RUE:

The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie’s survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born.

Outsiders from birth, these half-human, half-fae children spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October “Toby” Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas…

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery…before the curse catches up with her.


Courtesy of DAW, I have one copy of Rosemary and Rue to give away! This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.

Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “October Daye Giveaway.” One entry per household and one winner will be randomly selected. Those from the US or Canada are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Thursday, August 31. The winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I don’t hear from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me with a place to send the book).

Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.

Update: The form has been removed since the giveaway is now over.

Since the beginning of 2016, I have been reading and reviewing one book a month based on the results of a poll on PatreonAll of these monthly reviews can be viewed here.

This will be the last monthly book review based on a Patreon poll. When I started the Patreon account last year, I knew I was doing something a bit different by offering editing services, but since that hasn’t drawn much attention, I’ve shut it down and replaced it with Ko-fi (though I will have more to say in the near future about editing services!). If you find the work I do here interesting and want to buy me a coffee, I would appreciate it.

For the final monthly poll, I decided to forego any sort of theme and just select a few books from my shelves that sounded especially appealing at the moment. This month’s book selections were as follows:

The August book is…

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Yangsze Choo’s stunning debut, The Ghost Bride, is a startlingly original novel infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, and unexpected supernatural twists.

Li Lan, the daughter of a respectable Chinese family in colonial Malaysia, hopes for a favorable marriage, but her father has lost his fortune, and she has few suitors. Instead, the wealthy Lim family urges her to become a “ghost bride” for their son, who has recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what price?

Night after night, Li Lan is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, where she must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family.

Reminiscent of Lisa See’s Peony in Love and Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s DaughterThe Ghost Bride is a wondrous coming-of-age story and from a remarkable new voice in fiction.

I’m really excited to read this one—I’ve heard it’s wonderful, and I also found it interesting to learn more about how Yangsze Choo found inspiration for The Ghost Bride and her upcoming second novel, The Night Tiger, in old buildings.