Tag Archives: novel

Recommended Book: SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson


SORCERY OF THORNS
Margaret Rogerson

Books about books are always fun, particularly when those books sing and bite and tell on little girls who aren’t where they should be.

This is a tale about Elisabeth, a young woman who grew up in one of the Great Libraries and was taught how to care for the books within. When a visit from a sorcerer and a subsequent attack leaves a dangerous grimoire stolen, Elizabeth finds herself being dragged to the capital and put on a path to solve the mystery of the sabotage and thievery before the Great Libraries fall to a power beyond imagining.

The cast is rounded out by a somewhat-friendly demon, who likes to turn into a cat, and a young sorcerer, who is somehow even less friendly. The story is engaging and quick, adventurous and fun, perfect for anyone looking for a light romp that takes them through magical libraries we all wish we had grown up within ourselves.


Recommended Book: THE KINGDOM OF BACK by Marie Lu


THE KINGDOM OF BACK
Marie Lu

This is the story of the other Mozart, the sister of the famed musician who was a talented and impressive musician herself.

Nannerl Mozart, desiring to be remembered and not to fall into the heavy shadow of her younger brother, seeks out that chance within a parallel fantasy world that the two of them call the Kingdom of Back, a fairy-tale-like place of dreams and music with a young man there who needs their help to take back his world. And who, in return, would grant Nannerl’s wish.

The story spans Nannerl and Wolfgang’s childhood, their tour across the European landscape in order to perform for the higher classes, and Nannerl’s realization of both her father and the public’s disinterest in her over her brother. This is contrasted with her being the focal within the Kingdom of Back, where she must perform tasks in order to achieve her dreams.

But those dreams will come at a cost, and the further Nannerl goes along this path, the more she questions what she sees and what she’s been told and even what she truly desires above all else.

This story has a clear feminist bent, shedding some attention and light on the amazing and talented historical women who are often forgotten, shadowed by their male counterparts. I recommend this book to anyone, especially young women, who have questioned their own dreams at some point, weighing the costs, but also, to those who feel as if they are the ones who have stood in the shadows behind someone else, despite being just as talented or skilled. And, of course, for those who adore music in their fiction and all the ways that music can stir the soul.


 

Recommended Book: THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern


THE STARLESS SEA
Erin Morgenstern

This is a story about a young man named Zachary. But it’s not just a story about a young man named Zachary. This is truly a story about dreams, about hopes, and passions, and places that don’t exist except in our hearts. This is a story about finding that missing piece that puts all the rest together.

There are books within this book and stories within its stories, each of them coming back to the idea of this starless sea that exists and calls to certain people. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is one such person who discovers a book that has him inside of it, for once there had been a door he hadn’t walked through. And in that book, he finds hint to this sea, to this place he’d had a chance to discover and yet hadn’t taken. So he goes searching for another way in, determined not to squander a second chance, with only frail clues to symbolize his way.

I went into this book thinking that there was a puzzle to unravel, but there is no such puzzle. This isn’t a book that answers every question or completes every idea. Instead, it’s about possibilities, about being lost or found or cold or unsatisfied; it’s about endings and beginnings and how sometimes they are indistinguishable.

This novel is a beautiful journey, meant for those who want that journey more than the place they expect to end up. I recommend this book for those who enjoy finding their own meaning between lyrical words and metaphorical stories.


Recommended Book: ALL THE MURMURING BONES by A. G. Slatter


ALL THE MURMURING BONES
A. G. Slatter

Macabre sea deals, crumbling manors, and haunting magic that infiltrates all the nooks and crannies of this world make this a novel worth falling in love with.

We follow Miren, the last of the O’Malley line, who have, through the centuries, been blessed with bounty from the sea, with riches that made them powerful and influential in their seaside town. But now, that magic is disintegrating; the O’Malley family is crumbling, with Miren being the youngest, the sole first-born daughter who might be able to change the family’s fates. But with everyone around her wanting to use her, she must combat her birth-right and seek answers to the disturbing questions about her family’s history and the truth about how they had gained their prosperity.

Between the narrative are short fairy tales of a dark variety. Each one is an engaging fable of the O’Malley history, steeped in layers of wonder and danger, each one adding another clue to the mystery that echoes back centuries, concerning children being sacrificed to the mer.

Miren is an engaging character, a young woman who is both feminine and powerful, using all her knowledge and ability to seek out the secrets that had been hidden from her. I highly recommend this tale to anyone who loves gothic strangeness, who loves the darker edges of merfolk, who wants engaging mystery and all their fantastical creatures to be haunting rather than bright.

Content warning: there is child death discussed within this book.

Thank you to Titan Books for an eARC of this title.


My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Aftermath

Where the beginning of Odyssey began slowly and ramped up, the end of Odyssey came abruptly. One day we were at lecture and critiques, had a graduation party that evening. The next day…nothing.

I wandered around, feeling lost, confused, pacing because my mind and body felt as if it was supposed to be doing something specific.

This was my life for six long weeks. I lived and breathed on Odyssey time. If I wasn’t attending lecture, I was reading a story to critique. If I wasn’t at a critique session, I was writing a story. If I wasn’t doing any of those things, I was working on a journal entry.

It got to the point where my daughter no longer asked me for tuck-ins at night. Six weeks of dad giving her nightly kisses. Six weeks of mom being locked in her office or buried in her computer or taking a walk with printed-out critique story and pencil took its toll. [I’m please to say that it only took another six-eight weeks for me to become the nightly requested tuck-in-er once more :)]

In terms of my writing, and all the things associated, my first week off Odyssey I did really well. Got back into the swing of things, went into writing-mode immediately M-F. Only, then I went on vacation, had the vacation cut short because of a hurricane and felt…morose. Partly because that vacation had been something I’d considered my reward and partly because suddenly I was smacked with all the things I’d let slide for two months.

I work on two pen names at once, so the list I compiled of projects to finish suddenly felt astronomical. Both blogs needed attention and posts; a novella needed finishing; promo work for a novel needed to be done; my submission number had dropped to a measly 1-2 out and stories desperately needed to be sent out; I had a stack of stories from Odyssey and before that needed editing; another novel to start preparing to write; my house was a complete wreck; my book club needed to meet; I was behind on reading I’d wanted to do; school was starting and would be at home; family felt partially abandoned by me and needed time and attention; and I’d agreed to do small extra things, like critiques & practice sessions that were now on the calendar; …I began to get that frozen feeling ones does when they feel like nothing you do will get you closer to finishing that goddamned elephant. Continue reading