Friday Face Off : A book or series that is urban fantasy

FFO

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 (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – 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.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:

A book or series that is urban fantasy

I had a few series to choose from for this week’s theme but I’ve gone for The Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire.  I’ve chosen the first book, Rosemary and Rue and there are a few covers so let’s take a look:

2022

Apr
22nd – Tough Travel Tropes – unknown magical ability
29th – Long/pointed ears
May the Month of Wyrd and Wonder
6th All about the women – kickass moms, daughters, grans, etc
13th A favourite book to film
20th Sunny and bright  – a cover that is predominantly yellow
27th Books with ‘You’ in the title
Jun
3rd  Under the Sea – anything you like
10th Sparkling like the sea – a cover that is turquoise
17th So pretty – exactly what it says
24th Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role
Jul  
1st Genre – epic – any book that fits into the genre
8th Hazy and hot – a cover that is predominantly orange
15th Tough Travel Tropes – Snarky sidekick
22nd Off the TBR
29th Gigantic – monsters, giants, buildings,insects – anything at all
August
5th Tough Travel Tropes – out for summer – school or academic setting
12th Dark/sky/navy  – a cover that is blue
19th Scantily Dressed
26th Tough Travel Tropes – Vacation time – the quest
September RIP
2nd Fallen leaves – covers that are brown
9th Armour/Protection
16th Rage against the machine – anything, cogs, clockwork, AI
23rd Tough Travel Tropes – Coming of Age
30th Genre – horror
October – Horror/Dark
7th Guess who’s back?  – Vampires – popular again?
14th Witches vs warlocks
21st Tough Travel Tropes – Good vs evil
28th  Covers that are black
November – Scifi Month
4th Red skies at night – Covers that are red
11th Tough Travel Tropes – The gang
18th Genre – Swords and Sorcery
25th Genre – And they all lived happily ever after – fairy tales retold
December
2nd Tough Travel Tropes – Assassins
9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or serie

Throwback Thursday : The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire @wyrdandwonder

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(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

ThrowbackThursday.pngThrowback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from your reading past. This can be virtually anything, a book that you previously read and loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

Given the Wyrd & Wonder event and the spotlight on fantasy this week I’m highlighting an urban fantasy series that I love and that if you haven’t started to read yet I will say – don’t be put off by the number of books already released – this series is remarkable.  It’s the series that keeps on giving with every book seeming to be stronger than the last.  The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.  I’m not totally uptodate with the series – but that just means I have some books still to look forward to.  And, on top of the 12 books below I know there are more planned, so there’s never been a better time to start.  Feast your eyes on these lovelies:

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

FFO.jpg

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

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.

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