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Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire {4 Stars}

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire {4 Stars}

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (InCryptid #1)
Published by DAW on March 6th, 2012
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: BookLender
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Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire {4 Stars}

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire {4 Stars}

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #6)
Published by DAW on Sept. 4th, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 353 pages
How I got my copy: BookLender
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It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Reflections by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {3.5 Stars}

Reflections by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {3.5 Stars}

Reflections by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Indexing #2)
Published by 47North, Brilliance Audio on Jan 12th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 325 pages
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
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“For her to love me, she had to be willing to kill me. Anything else would show that her heart was untrue.”

The struggle against not-so-charming storybook narratives isn’t the only complicating factor in Henrietta “Henry” Marchen’s life. As part of the ATI Management Bureau team protecting the world from fairy tales gone awry, she’s juggling her unwanted new status as a Snow White, dealing with a potentially dangerous Pied Piper, and wrangling a most troublesome wicked stepsister—along with a budding relationship with Jeff, her teammate.

But when a twisted, vicious Cinderella breaks out of prison and wreaks havoc, things go from disenchanted to deadly. And once Henry realizes someone is trying to use her to destroy the world, her story becomes far from over—and this one might not have a happily ever after.

Indexing: Reflections is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s continuing new urban fantasy, where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Indexing by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Indexing by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Indexing #1)
Published by 47North on Jan. 21st, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 404 pages
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is an audiobook and novella not to miss. I was originally worried about the ‘horror’ label that got stuck on it, but it’s really just dark fantasy with a bit of gore. More importantly, the worlds described and characters trying to get back to them will sink into your heart and make you exceedingly relieved that this is a series!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Every Heart a Doorway from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Cynthia Hopkins
(Every Heart a Doorway #1)
Published by Tor.com on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 173 pages
Audio Length: 4 hrs and 44 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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4 Stars: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

My book-loving mom has stopped by for a guest review!

This has been on my “want to read” list since Anya requested it for Christmas, but I was holding off to let her do the honors … and then let me borrow her copy.  (It pays to be a member of a bookish family.)  But, when I had a long wait at the San Francisco airport, I treated myself to a browse through one of its many bookstores: Books, Inc. Much to my amazement, they not only had a scifi/fantasy section, they had a GOOD one, and I snatched up a couple of paperbacks to read during the long trek back to the book desert of SE Wisconsin.

I had expected a light, easy read in the classic “elves and magic” vein and got a much better-written and fresh story in the urban fantasy genre than I ever expected.  And the fact that it is set in San Fran – which I was just leaving – made it all that more fun for me.  By the end of the book, I was at that perfect point where I had enjoyed a good story but wanted to know what happens next in the life of its spunky protagonist.

4 Stars: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #1)on September 1st, 2009
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 346 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I love the protagonist, October Daye.  She’s just the right mix of tough and vulnerable that I like in urban fantasy.  A bit of an underdog who has serious teeth when she chooses to use them, much like Harry Dresden.
  • The supporting characters of Rosemary and Rue have a delightful complexity about them although many of them are straight out of the classic structure of an urban fantasy. McGuire makes them each individuals, however, and I hope many of them will grace the pages of future novels.
  • Magic is not a solution to every problem, but the villains don’t have to be drawn unbelievably tough in order to give the hero a run for her money.  Take a traditional murder mystery and add shapeshifters and magic and voila, you have the world of Rosemary and Rue.
  • The parallel world hidden from human eyes is populated with all of the classic beastiaries of all the myths ever written, although vampires and werewolves are blissfully not present in Rosemary and Rue.  This is more an urban fantasy inspired by Shakespeare than Bram Stoker.

Weaknesses:

  •  I was tempted to give it 4.5 stars and then started thinking of a few things that bothered me.  Like the heroine going home to an old and abusive boyfriend.  While it doesn’t last long, it’s part of a pattern that I see played out in too many books with otherwise strong female leads.  Like a bad slasher flick, I start trying to tell the heroine, “Don’t trust him and certainly don’t go back to him!”  But they don’t listen any better than the teens who run off alone into the dark woods do….
  • A common trope in modern fairy tales is that nothing comes without a price among magical creatures, but by the end of the book I was getting weary of October’s constant need to bargain for help and her reluctance to accept help when offered freely by friends.
  • The complex backstory had me searching several times to see if there was a previous book.  October’s misfortunes of a past decade didn’t really have much relevance to this story – plenty happened to her to leave her with emotional scars to make her a hardened gumshoe.  The event at the beginning of the story does not really seem necessary considering she’d been abandoned by her mother, kicked out of Summerland, and ended up living on the streets with a modern day Fagin.  How many neuroses does a tragic figure actually need??

Summary:

Like many books I like, the sum is greater than the parts.  I really enjoyed Rosemary and Rue, despite some of the things that bother me about it in retrospect.  I’m looking forward to reading more of the October Daye series.  Maybe October will be the bookend to Harry Dresden?

-Barb

 Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire