Friday Face Off : Knock, knock… ‘who’s there?’

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Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme. This week’s theme:

Knock, knock… ‘who’s there?’ – A cover featuring a door, ajar or closed

I found this week’s theme a lot easier and had a few potential covers but went with:  Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire.  A book I loved and a series I need to seriously catch up with.

My covers:

That third cover is very different from the other four isn’t it!  I think my favourite, and I realise that these are all quite similar is:

everyheart2

I like the sun rays and the little specks of light.  I just feel that this cover is more crisply defined somehow.

Which is your favourite?

Next week – a cover with a title featuring the word ‘legend’

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ of one of your favourite covers)

24th August – ‘To be a legend, you’ve either got to be dead, or excessively old!’ – A cover with a title featuring the word ‘legend’

31st August – ‘“Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy’ – A cover featuring a goblin or dwarves

7th September – ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall – A cover featuring a queen

14th September – “He had killed man, the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the face of the law of club and fang.” – A cover featuring a wolf or wolves

21st September – ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ – a cover featuring clouds

28th September – Eyes wide shut – a cover featuring eyes

5th October – “He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn’t owe too much money.” – A cover that is ‘noir’

12th October – “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”  – A cover for a mystery novel

19th October -“If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”  – A horror cover

26th October – Trick or treat – A halloween inspired cover

2nd November – ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November,’ – A cover inspired by Bonfire Night

9th November – ‘All right! They’re spiders from Mars! You happy?’ – A cover feturing a critter of the eight legged variety

16th November – There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’  – A scary cover

23rd November – ‘The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince!’ – A cover featuring a mermaid/man

30th November – “..the children of the night. What music they make!” – a cover with a vampire

7th December – ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.’ – A cover featuring a hero

14th December -“Heavy is the head that wears the crown”  – A cover featuring a crown

21st December – ‘ho, ho, ho’ – A seasonal cover

28th December – A freebie – choose one of your favourite titles and compare the covers

2019

4th January – A cover that is fresh – New beginnings for a New Year

11th January – ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – A cover that depicts a novel set in the Tudor period

18th January – A cover featuring an Amulet – either in the cover or title

25th January – ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

1st February – A comedy cover

8th February – ‘Hi little cub. Oh no, don’t be ssscared.’ – A cover with snakes

15th February – A heart – for Valentine’s day past

22nd February – “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – A cover with abandoned building/s

1st March – ‘who will buy this wonderful morning’ – A cover featuring a shop or market

8th March – ‘Two little fishes and a momma fishy too’ – A cover featuring a fish/fishes or other sea creatures

15th March – ‘Beware the moon, lads.’ – A cover with a shapeshifter

22nd March – ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

29th March – “I thought unicorns were more . . . Fluffy.”  – A cover featuring a unicorn

5th April – ‘nomad is an island’ – A cover featuring a desert landscape

12th April – ‘Odin, Odin, send the wind to turn the tide – A cover featuring a longboat

19th april – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – A cover featuring a school

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Boneyard (Deadlands #3) by Seanan McGuire

deadlandsI think, having read a few of Seanan McGuire’s novels now, I can safely say that she has a wonderful ability to write about the dark, the different and the downright creepy.  So, given that I love the dark and the different loving this book wasn’t really a surprise.  Plus, there’s just something so right about reading a creepy book at this time of the year isn’t there?

The Deadlands series is based on a RPG of the same name that brings together a strange combination of the wild west, steampunk and horror.  I have no idea what the game is like to be totally honest or how the books relate to it but I’ve read the first and now the third book and so can safely say that (1) there’s clearly plenty of material to go on (2) this is the weird, weird West; and (3) these books can all be read as standalones – although the completist in me is crying out to go and pick up No.2 now and I’ll have to do so otherwise it will just nag and worry at me.

The Boneyard brings to us The Circus.  Who can resist the circus really?  It promises delights at the same time as it promises something dark and mysterious, something dangerous maybe, and The Blackstone Family Circus and Travelling Wonder Show is no exception.  It has it’s very own collection of oddities.  A caravan full of the wondrous and unusual, run by the secretive Annie Pearl.  As the story begins we’re given to understand that this year the Circus is down on it’s luck.  It’s almost the end of the season and the coffers that keep everyone going during the leaner months just don’t stack up this year.  There’s nothing else for it – the Circus needs one more visit – the Clearing, an unusual place, set in the forests of Oregon.  The Clearing has it’s own strange stories – people who go to the Clearing don’t always return, but the people there pay well to be entertained and needs must when the devil vomits in your kettle, food doesn’t just put itself on the table after all.

The first part of the story is a little bit slower paced, but I really enjoyed it because McGuire takes the time to establish the main characters.  The primary focus is of course on Annie, she has a past that she’s running away from, the detail of which is steadily revealed, and she makes for fascinating reading.  A wonderful character to be honest, McGuire excels at drawing her characters in such a believable way that you almost feel like you know them personally.  Annie is travelling with her young daughter Adeline.  Adeline cannot speak or make any sounds although she was perfectly capable of doing so as a newborn baby.  Her father seems to be something of a monster (definitely gave me Frankenstein vibes), he had a plan that involved Adeline but Annie stole her away and has been on the run ever since.

I don’t want to go over the top about the characterisation but I have to just say that McGuire is a wonder at writing relationships such as the mother and daughter one displayed here.  It’s probably what makes her books so appealing to me because her characters are flawed, they’re not always capable of doing everything by themselves, they just feel ‘real’, she has a way of expressing emotions and feelings that is absolutely spot on.  Of course, she also delivers some other very appealing traits involving folklore, fairytales, dark forests, monsters, shadows and other things from your worst nightmares.

Two things that I must throw a mention in for are the forest – which is almost like a character in itself.  Surrounding the Clearing with it’s statuesque trees it feels sometimes as though it’s closing in, looming, if you will in an almost claustrophobic fashion.  The shadows seem to have a life of their own, they feel menacing and almost invasive, and all of this makes for an overall impression of being trapped, being watched, being stalked.  The second thing – Annie’s caravan of novelties.  I loved this.  I have a clear picture in my mind’s eye.  Huge poisonous pit wasps, killer spiders whose natural anatomy includes a skull on the back!  Piranha like fish that are always hungry, but, my absolute favourite – this strange corn husk critter with a pumpkin head – this one gave me the serious heebie-jeebies – given the chance it would plant itself into the body of a corpse – so that’s now inside my brain ready and willing to cause nightmares!  This caravan of oddities, seriously, I loved it.  And, the absolute best, not an oddity at all, a lynx cat that has been with Annie for many years.  I loved that lynx.

Basically as the story progresses the ante is upped with two storylines set to crash together in a most dramatic fashion.

So, any criticisms.  Nothing that spoiled the read at all for me.  I guess in some ways the two storylines felt almost a bit superfluous – like The Clearing would have been simply enough by itself, but, I’m thinking that’s probably linked to some element of the game and, seriously, I’m not going to complain about an over abundance of things to entertain me.  The horror side of things –  it’s got some gruesome and scary elements to the story but if you’re seriously into horror then I don’t expect it will scare you.

I really enjoyed this, a very entertaining read that feels perfect as the nights draw in.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire.

the-winter-longBefore I say anything more I must profess my love for the October Daye series. Yes, to be honest, I think it maybe started a little slowly in the first book, but I think that’s fairly typical for the start of most urban fantasy series in my experience, but now, I love this series.  It’s just so good and Seanan McGuire is an effing genius!  Seriously people – if you’re looking for your next urban fantasy read you simply have to read this book.  But, to the Winter Long.

This is a difficult review to write because this book obviously is the pinnacle of Ms McGuire’s scheming – I understand that she planned this book and the previous books were all just working to bring us to this point and what an excellent and mind blowing point it is.  So, we have Toby, slowly beginning to relax into her life.  She has friends now, she has a purpose, she thinks she knows what’s what but she really couldn’t be more wrong.

I have to say that I’m not going to give anything away in this review.  Toby, receives an unexpected guest – okay, I’ll give a little bit away – Simon Torquill.  The guy who likes to give a person gills and fins for a short spell.  Well, he turns up unexpectedly at Toby’s place and pretty much from there on in things go horribly, horribly wrong.  This book is so full of revelations – the main one being that everyone has been keeping Toby in the dark – about a lot of things.  Simon isn’t the only unexpected visitor she is going to receive – but I’m not going to give that particular nugget away because it will blow your mind! And there will of course be lots of blood!  Not to mention there will be Tybalt – so everything is good.  Oh, and the Luidaeg, who just happens to be one of my all time favourite characters ever – yes, she’ll be making an appearance!

This is a necessarily short review – it’s not a reflection of my feelings for the book but just simply a desire on my part not to give things away.

If you are at an urban fantasy series end and looking where to go next – well, look no further.  Here you have your next series and it really does have everything.

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire. Readalong final week

the-winter-longToday is the final week of a three week readalong of Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long (October Daye #8). Today Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is hosting the questions.   The Goodreads page link is here. Be aware that spoilers will be lurking below for not only this book but for the previous books in the series. If you haven’t started reading the Toby Daye series and you like urban fantasy then I strongly recommend this series to you.

1. Some of Toby’s relationships are falling apart even more now. Luna and Sylvester both say (or don’t say) things they can’t take back, and it looks as though Toby may finally have had enough. What did you think of her confrontations with them, and is there any hope of reconciliation?

I would like to think that there is always hope of reconciliation.  I mean, these friendships didn’t turn out to be what Toby (or me for that matter) thought they were but nonetheless I feel at the moment I don’t know the true status.  Just like I didn’t know who Toby really was I wonder if there are bits and pieces of Sylvester and Luna’s history that I still don’t know.  I thought the confrontations were cold – in fact it felt like the two of them were finally showing that real ‘fae’ demeanour that we’ve read about so often.  The frozen, chilly kind that keeps people at arms length.  That was my first thought with both of them.  But, still at the back of my mind I don’t like to think too harshly of Sylvester.  I’d like to think that there is something holding him back or preventing him telling Toby what is going on.  Luna is another thing altogether.  I don’t think I’ve ever really warmed to her – she’s feels too detached or remote somehow.  Again, I will try to keep an open mind with both of them because if this series has taught me anything is that things aint always what they seem.

2. Conversely, it’s Simon who makes the effort to be supportive of Toby, in the end – despite what it costs him. How do you feel about what happens to him here?

I felt sorry for Simon.  He’s been weak, and he’s made mistakes, but he tried to turn it round didn’t he and I believe in second chances.  He’s going to take a long sleep now and hopefully over the next 100 years things won’t seem as bleak for him!  Although the fae are worse than elephants with their long memories.

3. Some family feuds really can be epic. What was your take on the big showdown with Toby, Eira and the Luidaeg?  

Well, yet more revelations and what really stands out to me is the fact that Eira can’t harm Toby  –  lordy, if she’d only known that a little bit sooner eh!  And the Luidaeg can’t harm Eira – all these protections that have been put in place – clearly to protect those that are weaker from those that could run amok.  I guess it keeps a strange sort of peace in a way doesn’t it.  It also makes it a little bit more obvious why the fae keep so many secrets.

4. Tybalt proposed! Is this going to be a happy ending, do you think?

OMG – it was almost the perfect ending.  In fact what I am talking about – it was the perfect ending.  I have no doubt that Ms McGuire will continue to chuck everything she has at Toby and Tybalt.  No doubt Toby will be covered in blood many, many more times, and no doubt Tybalt will continue to try and help rescue her and more often than not end up with her rescuing him.  Yes, I think they can have the perfect ending – they both know what they want now and it’s within reach!

Bring on the next book!

 

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire. Readalong week 2

winter-longToday is week two of a three week readalong of Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long (October Daye #8).  Today I am hosting the questions – and they’re a big mess which totally reflects my brain after reading the last chapters.  The Goodreads page link is here.  Feel free to join in or just jump into the discussion in the comments and be aware that spoilers will be lurking below for not only this book but for the previous books in the series.  If you haven’t started reading the Toby Daye series and you like urban fantasy then I strongly recommend this series to you.

Wow, what is going on around here! I think this week I’m more puzzled than ever not to mention the emotion! I’m all over the place. The questions are incoherent I’m afraid:

Firstly, The Luidaeg said that Toby’s mother had told her to beware The Lady of the Lake, but to be more afraid of Morgana. So we know a little more about the Lady of the Lake (I think) – but who is Morgana. So much seems to be wrapped up in the fairytales or myths and legends we have already heard of. What do you make of it all?

All these elements of fairytales and folklore that are creeping into the story really fascinate me.  Clearly the Lady of the Lake is all wrapped up in the Arthurian tales – I thought Morgana was Arthurs half sister and adversary in the old tales.  The Lady of the Lake is sometimes known as Viviene amongst many other versions of the name. Then we have this whole Snow White issue with Winterrose being Snow White – so not exactly the nice version of our fairytales though.  She makes use of the part of the story where Snow white sleeps to recover (or in the tale sleeps with an apple lodged in her throat) – I wonder who is going to play the role of Arthur – or the Wicked Queen.  Actually, I love that McGuire is twisting these tales for the purpose of her fae to infer that our stories have all been invoked by the fae living amongst us – just slightly different versions that those that we are familiar with.  I love this aspect of the story where McGuire builds up the legend of the fae living amongst us.

The Luidaeg – oh my giddy aunt. How could this have happened! The Luidaeg is the one who every one is afraid of – how can this have happened! Is her attacker so very powerful, is it because of the geas? How do you think the Luidaeg will react to Toby saving her life (well, bringing her back from the dead) and the Court of the Cats giving her a safe haven?

OMFG Noooooooo!  I could weep!!  What is going on here.  Who could do this to the Luidaeg.  I confess I don’t understand it at all.   I mean, obviously at the moment we don’t know who attacked the Luidaeg although it would be easy to infer certain characters.  And then Toby to the rescue – give that woman a cape!  I wonder what the Luidaeg will make of all her new allies – so, she’s obviously got more friends than her prickly demeanour really portrays.  I wonder how she’ll feel about all this warm cuddliness surrounding her – she’ll probably eat somebody’s head or something!  I’m hoping that she’s going to turn all badass – I want to see the Luidaeg in motion – put Winterrose back in her place!

So, as things have moved on it appears that maybe Simon, in a very odd ‘I will turn you into a tree’ fashion maybe did think he was helping Toby. When he was told the Luidaeg was dead he said that he was too late. It all points to the fact that maybe he was trying to help – do you think that is the case?

I really can’t figure him out – clearly he is still working for Winterrose isn’t he??  Is he scared of her too?  Why has she got everyone under her power somehow.  In some ways he comes across as crazy but maybe trying to help – like giving Toby the flower clues.  But then at the back of my mind I think was he helping or not – it seems that he keeps leading Toby straight to Winterrose!  And, to get back to the point in the first question – turning Toby into a tree – does that remind anybody of Apollo and Daphne – sorry just thought I’d chuck that in there!

Eira Rosynhwry, Evening Winterrose – (and can I say I NEVER saw that coming) what is she up to??

I really didn’t see that coming. It now makes me feel like I have to go back to the first books and read them again with this knowledge.  So, Winterrose is behind it all – she’s First Born – and why oh why would she want Toby dead?  Is this all about Armandine – is there a man between the two of them, why did they hate each other – did Armandine take her sister’s favourite dress and never return it?  I have no ideas.  But then, after Toby recovered from her fishy period Winterrose was her friend – or at least helped her, helped her back into the land of the fae even by cursing her.  I’m confused!

Finally, the First Born – of which Evening Winterrose is one – what sort of impact is this going to have on their children? Will it turn fae against fae? Why would one of the firstborn be hiding in plain sight?

I can’t figure out what Winterrose’s long game is. What does she want?  Was she involved with the Queen of the Mists then – why would she want Rayseline and Luna to be kidnapped? It feels like there’s a lot of bad blood between the First Born and memories are long.

How do you think Toby is going to walk away from this situation – people conflicted, Sylvester seeming to be in a trance! What next?

Why is everyone under a trance, well everyone except Etienne??  And is this going to cause some sort of rift between the fae – the children of the First Born – depending on who their First Born just so happens to be.

As you can see, I have questions upon questions and very little by way of answers.  Everybody – chuck me a bone now, come on, put me out of your misery!

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