Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: Another Layer of Secrets Is Revealed, as Our Protagonists Recover from the Last Book’s Ordeal

A woman with a knife. The text reads "New York Times Bestselling Author Seanan McGuire, Night and Silence, An October Daye Novel"

If I needed any more evidence that grad school was driving me hard here it is: I didn’t even realize the latest October Daye novel had been out for a year. My ultimate auto-buy series, the one that’s reached a dozen novels now without my interest in the story dipping even a little.

Yeah, wasn’t expecting that. But now I’ve finally caught up with my favorite series…just in time for the next book to come out.

Centuries of Backstory Catching Up with Our Protagonists

The protagonist of these novels is Toby Daye, a part-fae detective whose heritage is so convoluted even she’s still figuring it all out. Daughter of a powerful but absent blood worker and a human man, Toby has had to carve a place for herself in a world that didn’t want her. She’s built her own circle of support, solved mysteries, been declared a hero of the realm…and made ridiculously powerful enemies. (Though to be fair, her greatest enemy had already been in place the moment she was born.) Continue reading “Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: Another Layer of Secrets Is Revealed, as Our Protagonists Recover from the Last Book’s Ordeal”

Advertisements

First Five Books I Reviewed (Which Somehow Turned into a Critique of My Past Writing Ability?)

This topic prompt was proposed over at Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl.

Thankfully, my old blog serves as an online record of my first book reviews (from 2012!). Wow, was I nowhere near as good of a writer then as I am now. In chronological order, here are the first five books I’ve ever reviewed and a quote from my not-that-well-written thoughts on them. (Also some criticisms about my former self’s reviewing skills–but with full appreciation that using whatever words I had back then is what allowed me to get better.)

1. The Lies of Locke Lamora

Genre: Fantasy

The view of a city built over a canal. Text reads "National Bestseller, The Lies of Locke Lamora, 'Fresh, original, and engrossing...gorgeously realized.' - George R.R. Martin, Scott Lynch, Author of The Republic of Thieves."
Image: Spectra/Random House LLC

“This book, set in a city evocative of Venice, is about a group of conmen who unwittingly become dragged into the middle of a political power struggle…From gladiators fighting sharks to a religious cult obsessed with their own mortality, it’s the details of the world and how it works that pulls readers in.” – World Building in The Lies of Locke Lamora  Continue reading “First Five Books I Reviewed (Which Somehow Turned into a Critique of My Past Writing Ability?)”

Into the Drowning Deep: Character-Driven Expedition Towards an Unknown Danger

Into the Drowning Deep is about a scientific expedition to retrace a voyage that’d gone missing seven years prior. No one knows what really happened to the Atargatis, except that the ship was found with no one left alive. But that failed voyage left consequences–for a young scientist who wonders why her sister never came home, a professor who carries the guilt for making the last expedition possible, a company whose reputation was left in tatters after the fiasco.

These people and more assemble to solve the mystery of the Atargatis…but how many of them will survive the answer?

Hands reaching out towards a streak of blood in dark water. The text reads "Into the Drowning Deep, New York Times Bestselling Author Mira Grant."
Image: Orbit

There is absolutely no way I would go anywhere near a story where the premise is ‘killer mermaids’ if I didn’t already trust the author.

I rarely venture into the horror genre at all, though I make exceptions for character-driven adventures. And Mira Grant (a penname for Seanan McGuire, who writes probably my favorite urban fantasy series ever) knows how to write a powerful, emotional story. Continue reading “Into the Drowning Deep: Character-Driven Expedition Towards an Unknown Danger”

5 Favorite Speculative Fiction Books with Under 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

The prompt for this post is for Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl.

So…this list turned out pretty queer. 3/5 of these books have queer main characters. Apollo in Thalia’s Musings is bisexual. One of the three protagonists in The Bone Palace is trans. I think something like four of the protagonists in Fire Logic are gay.

Granted, this isn’t everything I loved that’s under 2,000 Goodreads ratings–I selected the five that were easiest to talk about, and ignored multiple works in a series. And maybe Thalia’s Musings should be exempt since it’s also a web serial, and those aren’t usually huge on Goodreads, but still. The works that happened to be on this list all have unusually prominent queer characters for sci-fi/fantasy novels, and this list is specifically for books that haven’t received that much attention.

Which is a little disheartening to think about, so I’m just going to get on with the list. In no particular order:

The Final Formula

A woman with a vial and candles standing before a rundown hallway. The text reads "The Final Formula, Becca Andre".
Image: Becca Andre

Continue reading “5 Favorite Speculative Fiction Books with Under 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads”

Giveaways and Patreon

A couple of announcements:

Giveaways

I’m offering previews of each of my novels in one giveaway each. Head over to the giveaway site if you’d like to download PDF, MOBI, or EPUB files of the first chapters of my novels, or of any of the other stories available.

Fantasy heroines are featured in the giveaway “WHERE WOMEN RULE!” Over a hundred books/previews/short stories are on offer, one of which is a preview of my urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic novel, Terrestrial Magic–which will release in one week!

A woman sits on a motorcycle in an empty road. The text reads "Most people avoid fire-breathing carnivores that prey on humans. But where's the fun in that?"

YA fantasy is featured in the giveaway “Clean Fantasy Reads.” Almost fifty books/previews/short stories are on offer, one of which is a preview of my YA epic fantasy novel, Chains Carried on Wings.

The shadowy figure of a girl stands against a backdrop of the moon. The text reads "Chains Carried on Wings, Living on the edge of acceptance."

Patreon

I’ve put together a Patreon for my original fiction, which will launch once I meet the first stretch goal of $15/monthly installment (to cover the ebook delivery service). I don’t expect that to be soon, but I would like to start putting the idea out there as an option for whenever people start getting into my work.

Once it launches, patrons pledged at $1/monthly installment will receive the following:

1) Monthly installments of one of my projects–adventure fantasy novels, novellas, or short stories–via a digital download. Once the project is complete, I’ll combine the installments to provide you with the whole book in one package.

2) Access to each of my novels before their publication date via a digital download.

My goal is to make Patreon somewhere readers can get regular fiction from me, receive copies of my books before anyone else, and eventually, engage with other people who read my stuff.

But again, given that I’m pretty early on in my career, I don’t think this is going to launch for a little while. Though if I have any patrons pledged for whenever the installments start going out, while the stretch goal hasn’t been met, I might provide free behind-the-scenes content as a thank you for the interest.

My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, Top Ten Tuesday gives a weekly prompt for a list of books, and this week’s theme is villains. Interestingly enough, when I was going through the list of the books I’ve read, I found that I usually remembered the protagonists much better than the villains. So for me, this became an exercise in finding the stories where the villains stood out in my memory, where something made them stand out. And then figuring out what that something is.

In no particular order:

The Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

A woman stands in a forest, with butterflies flying around her. The text reads "New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, Hugo Award nominated series, The Brightest Fell, an October Daye novel"
Image: Tor

The character of Amandine had been vaguely hinted at in earlier books in this urban fantasy series, a picture emerging of a distant fae mother with a rift in her relationship with her half-human child, who nonetheless cared about her kid’s life. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when we finally met her. But it wasn’t for her to become the villain of the story. Continue reading “My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday”

7.25/10 Score from the Critic’s Report of the Booklife Prize for Chains Carried on Wings

Some publishing updates on my projects:

1. As the title of my post indicates, my YA epic fantasy novel received a 7.25 out of 10 score when I entered it into the Booklife Prize. I made the Critic’s Report publicly available on my Booklife profile such that anyone can see the critic’s comments on plot, prose, originality, and character development.

It isn’t enough to move onto the next round–it needed to rank in the top 10 in the YA/Children’s genre for that, and it currently sits somewhere around 20 (at least out of the entrants who chose to make their scores public)–but I’m pleased nonetheless. Continue reading “7.25/10 Score from the Critic’s Report of the Booklife Prize for Chains Carried on Wings”

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Novellas and Short Stories

Haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday list in a while, but I’m actually really excited by this one.  It’s now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

In no particular order:

The Jonathan Healy and Francis Brown stories by Seanan McGuire

A poster for a circus with two pistols lying over it. The text reads "New York Times Bestselling Author Seanan McGuire, The Star of New Mexico, An InCryptid Story."
Image: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Historical Fantasy

Length: vary in length from 15-60 pages each

Available: Here (most are available for free, but some are collected into anthologies)

I could have filled the entire list with this series of short stories–there are over a dozen of them. In a world where cryptids (folkloric animals) are real and in hiding from the rest of the world, the Healys are a family of battle cryptozoologists who both protect humans from dangerous cryptids and cryptids from extremist humans. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Novellas and Short Stories”

Sweep of the Blade: Badass Single Mother Integrates into Space Vampire Society

 

A woman wielding two swords stands with the background of planet behind her. The words read
Image: Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban fantasy/sci-fi/romance

Synopsis: Maud was born into an Innkeeper family, and taught the customs of the varied alien races who used the inn as a waystation—or a safe house. But she left her family to marry a vampire, entering a society that viewed her as weak due to her humanity, despite her martial prowess. She had a daughter. And then her husband got all three of them exiled onto a dangerous planet where they had to fight to survive. Continue reading “Sweep of the Blade: Badass Single Mother Integrates into Space Vampire Society”