Faerie Book Recommendations

Faerie Book Recommendations

Faeries, elves, dwarves, and druids are only a few of my favorite fictional creatures. I’m constantly searching for fantasy series that incorporate these characters, and although the fairy/faerie trope has recently skyrocketed thanks to authors like Cassandra Clare and Sarah J. Maas, I feel as though those are only certain types of Fae, being portrayed in drastically different manners with different parts of folkloric inspiration. And while I once enjoyed both the Seelie characters in Clare’s books, and all of the Fae in Mass’s stories, I’ve grown tired of the same few representations of these mythical beings. (This applies to almost every YA faerie book I’ve read— but needless to say there are many books that I find could replace the word “fairy” with “vampire” or “witch” and the readers wouldn’t notice the difference so long as said characters are still dark, sexy, and magical. I suppose the pointy ears are the only real giveaway.)

I’m not writing this post with the intent to bash popular authors. However, if you’re looking to move on or recover from a series and want books similar to it that are perhaps even better than the original… look no further. I’ve loved the Fae since I was a little girl, and the fact that there are so few known books about them makes me sad. That being said, here’s a list of all the faerie books I’ve read or will be reading this year! Beware the fair ones, friends.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

aeor coverIsobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

The Dreaming Tree by C.J. Cherryh

It was that transitional time of the world, when man first brought the clang of iron and the reek of smoke to the lands which before had echoed only with fairy voices. In that dawn of man and death of magic there yet remained one last untouched place—the small forest of Ealdwood—which kept the magic intact, and protected the old ways. And there was one who dwelt there, Arafel the Sidhe, who had more pride and love of the world as it used to be than any of her kind. But fear of the world of Faery ran deep in the hearts of men, and when Ciaran Cuilean, Lord of Caer Wiell, a man with Elvish blood in his veins, found himself the object of increasing distrust and suspicion from his men, his king, and even his own family, he knew he must once again put his humanity aside and return to Ealdwood. For shadows of a newly awakened evil swarmed across both lands, and unless Ciaran reclaimed his haunted weapons from the Tree of Swords and joined Arafel, he would see this evil overtake not only the warm hearthstones of the mortal keeps but the silvery heart of Ealdwood itself!

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

pendelum sun coverCatherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon – but the Queen of the Fae and her insane court are hard on his heels.

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want… at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marlier

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop.

wildwood dancingWhen Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love.

Spindle Fire Lexa Hillyer

A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a remarkable quest into the dark and miraculous—in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible.

Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

When the ancient evil of the Blackbringer rises to unmake the world, only one determined faerie stands in its way. However, Magpie Windwitch, granddaughter of the West Wind, is not like other faeries. While her kind live in seclusion deep in the forests of Dreamdark, she’s devoted her life to tracking down and recapturing devils escaped from their ancient bottles, just as her hero, the legendary Bellatrix, did 25,000 years ago. With her faithful gang of crows, she travels the world fighting where others would choose to flee. But when a devil escapes from a bottle sealed by the ancient Djinn King himself, the creator of the world, she may be in over her head. How can a single faerie, even with the help of her friends, hope to defeat the impenetrable darkness of the Blackbringer?

At a time when fantasy readers have an embarrassment of riches in choosing new worlds to fall in love with, this first novel by a fresh, original voice is sure to stand out.

Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan

Meg and her siblings have been sent to the English countryside for the summer to stay with elderly relatives. The children are looking forward to exploring the ancient mansion and perhaps discovering a musty old attic or two filled with treasure, but never in their wildest dreams did they expect to find themselves in the middle of a fairy war.

under the green hillWhen Rowan pledges to fight for the beautiful fairy queen, Meg is desperate to save her brother. But the Midsummer War is far more than a battle between mythic creatures: Everything that lives depends on it. How can Meg choose between family and the fate of the very land itself?

The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell

It began with the chiming of the tiny copper bell on the mantel, warning them someone was passing the ward stone her mother had placed on the path to their house …

One terrible day, Makenna, a young hedgewitch, witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of their own neighbors. Striken with grief and rage, Makenna flees the village that has been her home. In the wilds of the forest, she forms an unexpected alliance. Leading an army of clever goblins, Makenna skillfully attacks the humans, now their shared enemy.

What she doesn’t realize is that the ruling Hierarchy is determined to rid the land of all magical creatures, and they believe Makenna is their ultimate threat – so they have sent a young knight named Tobin into the Goblin Wood to entrap her.

In this captivating fantasy adventure, the difference between Bright and Dark magic is as deceptive as our memories, hopes, and fears — and the light of loyalty and friendship has a magic all of its own.

A young Hedgewitch, an idealistic knight, and an army of clever goblins fight against the ruling hierarchy that is trying to rid the land of all magical creatures.

Elfland by Freda Warrington

Rosie Fox is a daughter of the Aetherials, an ancient race from the Spiral—the innermost realm of the Otherworld—who lives secretly among us. Yet she and her kind are bereft of their origins, because on Earth, in a beautiful village named Cloudcroft, the Great Gates between worlds stand sealed.

elfland coverHer parents, Auberon and Jessica, are the warm heart of Cloudcroft and of Rosie’s loving family. But on the hill lives the mysterious, aloof Lawrence Wilder, Gatekeeper to the inner realms of Elfland. Tortured by private demons, he is beset by trouble on all sides: his wife has vanished and his sons Jon and Sam are bitter and damaged. Lawrence is duty bound to throw open the Gates every seven years for the Night of the Summer Stars, a ritual granting young Aetherials their heritage, their elders vital reconnection to their source. Lawrence, however, is haunted by fears of an ever-growing menace within the Spiral. When he stubbornly bars the Gates, he defies tradition and enrages the Aetherial community. What will become of them, deprived of the realm from which flows their essential life force? Is Lawrence protecting them—or betraying them?

Growing up amid this turmoil, Rosie and her brothers, along with Sam and Jon Wilder, are heedless of the peril lurking beyond the Gates. They know only that their elders have denied them their birthright, harboring dark secrets in a conspiracy of silence.

When Sam is imprisoned for an all-too-human crime, age-old wounds sunder the two families…yet Rosie is drawn into his web, even as she fears the passions awoken in her by the dangerous Wilder clan. Torn between duty and desire, between worlds, Rosie unwittingly precipitates a tragedy that compels her to journey into the Otherworld, where unknown terrors await. Accompanied by the one man most perilous to her life, she must learn hard lessons about life and love in order to understand her Aetherial nature…and her role in the terrifying conflict to come.

Midwinter by Matthew Sturges

Winter comes to the land only once in a hundred years. But the snow covers ancient secrets: secrets that could topple a kingdom.

Mauritaine was a war hero, a captain in the Seelie Army. Then he was accused of treason and sentenced to life without parole at Crere Sulace, a dark and ancient prison in the mountains, far from the City Emerald. But now the Seelie Queen – Regina Titania herself – has offered him one last chance to redeem himself, an opportunity to regain his freedom and his honor.

Unfortunately, it’s a suicide mission, which is why only Mauritaine and the few prisoners he trusts enough to accompany him, would even dare attempt it: Raieve, beautiful and harsh, an emissary from a foreign land caught in the wrong place at the wrong time; Perrin Alt, Lord Silverdun, a nobleman imprisoned as a result of political intrigues so Byzantine that not even he understands them; and Brian Satterly, a human physicist, apprehended searching for the human victims of the faery changeling trade.

Meanwhile, dark forces are at work at home and abroad. In the Seelie kingdom, the reluctant soldier Purane-Es burns with hatred for Mauritaine, and plots to steal the one thing that remains to him: his wife. Across the border, the black artist Hy Pezho courts the whim of Mab, offering a deadly weapon that could allow the Unseelie in their flying cities to crush Titania and her army once and for all.

With time running out, Mauritaine and his companions must cross the deadly Contested Lands filled with dire magical fallout from wars past. They will confront mounted patrols, brigands, and a traitor in their midst. And before they reach their destination, as the Unseelie Armies led by Queen Mab approach the border, Mauritaine must decide between his own freedom and the fate of the very land that has forsaken him.

Atmospheric Books

How we rate a book has a lot to do with not only the characters and the plot, but the setting as well. We might not realize it, but a vast amount of our emotions are placed in the background scenes and subconscious environments. To be fair, most books arguably have their own original settings wherein no two books will ever take place in the same fantasy kingdom or high school, however there are a few books that surpass all others in regards to being wholesomely atmospheric. Books that not only include an environment, but make that environment vital to the storyline. I adore books of the such, because they are the ones that I feel as though I can really submerge myself in and escape reality.

These books emphasize the whimsical aspect behind many genres, not only fantasy, because they seem so surreal yet they were designed to bring forth our own personal encounters and nostalgia in order to raise our emotional awareness. These atmospheric books do wonder for our minds, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ones!

Don’t just read books— fall into them.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenster


“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
“The Night Bazaar had ensnared me. I could smell its perfume on my skin—of stories and secrets, flashing teeth and slow smiles.”

The Half Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker

“She rushed across the fields and into the woods, where some shadowed grove would still shelter winter’s snow. She found a cache of not yet melted snow in the roots of an oak, and there she sat, numbing her hand, while the sun set.”
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

“White Sky. Trees fading at the skyline, the mountains gone. My hands dangled from the cuffs of my jacket as if they weren’t my own. I never got used to the way the horizon there could just erase itself and leave you marooned, adrift, in an incomplete dreamscape that was like a sketch for the world you knew -the outline of a single tree standing in for a grove, lamp-posts and chimneys floating up out of context before the surrounding canvas was filled in-an amnesia-land, a kind of skewed Heaven where the old landmarks were recognizable but spaced too far apart, and disarranged, and made terrible by the emptiness around them.”

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

“It was a palace of vaulting glass and shimmering tapestry and, woven through it all like light, magic. The air was alive with it. Not the secret, seductive magic of the stone, but a loud, bright, encompassing thing. Kell had told Lila that magic was like an extra sense, layered on top of sight and smell and taste, and now she understood. It was everywhere. In everything. And it was intoxicating. She could not tell if the energy was coming from the hundreds of bodies in the room, or from the room itself, which certainly reflected it. Amplified it like sound in an echoing chamber. And it was strangely—impossibly—familiar. Beneath the magic, or perhaps because of it, the space itself was alive with color and light. She’d never set foot inside St. James, but it couldn’t possibly have compared to the splendor of this. Nothing in her London could. Her world felt truly grey by comparison, bleak and empty in a way that made Lila want to kiss the stone for freeing her from it, for bringing her here, to this glittering jewel of a place. Everywhere she looked, she saw wealth. Her fingers itched, and she resisted the urge to start picking pockets, reminding herself that the cargo in her own was too precious to risk being caught.”

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

“The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed trough the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with coversation and laughter, the clatter and clamour one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music…but no, of curse there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.”

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

“As the sun shines low and red across the water, I wade into the ocean. The water is still high and brown and murky with the memory of the storm, so if there’s something below it, I won’t know it. But that’s part of this, the not knowing. The surrender to the possibilities beneath the surface. It wasn’t the ocean that killed my father, in the end. The water is so cold that my feet go numb almost at once. I stretch my arms out to either side of me and close my eyes. I listen to the sound of water hitting water. The raucous cries of the terns and the guillemots in the rocks of the shore, the piercing, hoarse questions of the gulls above me. I smell seaweed and fish and the dusky scent of the nesting birds onshore. Salt coats my lips, crusts my eyelashes. I feel the cold press against my body. The sand shifts and sucks out from under my feet in the tide. I’m perfectly still. The sun is red behind my eyelids. The ocean will not shift me and the cold will not take me.”

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

“Marya watched from the upper floor as once again the birds gathered in the great oak tree, sniping and snapping for the last autumn nuts, stolen from squirrels and hidden in bark-cracks, which every winged creature knows are the most bitter of all nuts, like old sorrows sitting heavy on the tongue.”

In the Woods by Tana French

“…the solitude was intoxicating. On my first night there I lay on my back on the sticky carpet for hours, in the murky orange pool of city glow coming through the window, smelling heady curry spices spiraling across the corridor and listening to two guys outside yelling at each other in Russian and someone practicing stormy flamboyant violin somewhere, and slowly realizing that there was not a single person in the world who could see me or ask me what I was doing or tell me to do anything else, and I felt as if at any moment the bedsit might detach itself from the buildings like a luminous soap bubble and drift off into the night, bobbing gently above the rooftops and the river and the stars.”

 

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

Read this review on GoodReads.
My Rating: 5/5

“She was never a hothouse flower. She is a sturdy oak tree. If her leaves have fallen, then she will bloom again come spring. She was not ready to die when she gave her life to me. But she did anyway, because she loved, and loved deeply.”

I went into this book with high expectations….and those expectations we’re blown away entirely with the magnitude of this story. It was phenomenal. This book truly resonated with me. It’s rustic, atmospheric quality compared with it’s whimsical plot and even more estranged characters made for an epic fantasy like none other I’ve read in a long time. Fans of Uprooted by Naomi Novik will appreciate the eerie personification that nature plays in this tale. What felt like a folkloric retelling but was actually an original, genuine piece of literature, Wintersong follows a young girl as she rediscovers her childhood self through love, responsibility, and sacrifice… all while doing so beneath silt and soil of the Earth.

Nineteen-year-old Innkeeper’s daughter Liesl has grown up in a sleepy village on the boarders between woodlands and Bavaria. While her younger sister is being groomed for marriage, and her brother preparing for an upcoming apprenticeship with a renowned composer, Elisabeth is constantly fussing over the wellbeing and success of her siblings. The only time she allots for herself is to revel in her passion— composing music of her own dark, melancholy nature. As a child, Liesl would roam deep into the Goblin Grove and play for the Goblin King—luring him out from beneath the earth to sing and dance and revel with her. But as time passes, Liesl’s fiery nature fades into the recesses of her soul. She focuses on everyone else around her but herself. It isn’t until her sister, Käthe, is stolen by the Goblin King to be his bride that our protagonist is drawn from her grey stupor and thrown back into the world of spellbinding fantasy. But Elisabeth has known all this time that no fantasy comes without a price, and her childhood adventures with Der Elkönig, The Goblin King, won’t compare to the game she is about to partake in. Elusive, powerful, and ferocious, Wintersong is a book that forces you to read it in two sittings or less.
Jones’s writing style reminds me of early British literature, not because it was hard to follow, but because of how smoothly it all flowed— as if being read like a song rather than a novel. Very fitting, indeed, for a book with a large element of music! Taking place in nineteenth century Bavaria, a lot of the terminology was derived from Germanic languages, which I thought made the setting seem more potent. Don’t worry though, it’s not overused and I found the occasional non-English quotes to be easily understood even though I can only speak English (but am learning a few other languages at the moment. *Props to my bilingual friends! You’re all incredibly talented). Most often the terms Der Elkönig (The Goblin King) and Mein Herr (My King) are used, because we never truly find out the main male protagonist/antagonist’s name until quite late into the story (if at all).

One of the most endearing things about this tale is how Jones offers the heroine’s character development in light of her younger self. She portrays not a protagonist who was once a meek, quant little thing with barely a kindle to a bonfire— rather, Elisabeth was always a bonfire of her own making, and her development resided in remembering how to live carefree and brave like she was as a child; playing her violin for the Goblin King deep in the woods. Jones created a main character who goes through two types of character development: the one where the heroine experiences new things that morph her journey for the better, and the second where the heroine revisits old strengths and embraces what was always within her, molding it into armor. That being said, I found Elisabeth to be a very intriguing and insightful narrator. I was definitely a fan of reading this story through her perspective. (But personally, I’d die to read some of these scenes via Der Elkönig’s perspective!)

There are many aspects that I’m still curious about, but of course we will most likely find those answers in the sequel! For starters, although most of this novel was spent Underground, back in the mortal realm Josef, Elisabeth’s younger brother, is transforming into a famous musician…with a very endearing young man to help compose alongside him. Käthe, their sister, is a peculiar character that I’m still curious about and hope to read more of, because she was vital to our heroine’s adventure so I desire to see her sister’s own journeys in the sequel. And of course, there’s the huge spoiler that shall not be revealed that will invoke plenty of stress and tears once you’ve read the tale to it’s bitter end. I would very much like to see the answers to THAT plot twist. (Side note: painful ending + long wait = sobbing, theorizing, and fanfiction!)

Wintersong will be a book that I always remember. It’s unique in it’s design, and highly imaginative. The way the story made me feel while reading it is an emotion indescribable, but a powerful one nonetheless. I can only hope that at least one other person experiences this tale the way I did—because now I’m craving a walk into the woods whereupon I’ll sadly attempt to play an instrument to lure out my own King of the Goblins. So do yourself a favor and read this book. I will forever recommend it.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

And because I enjoyed this tale so wonderfully, here’s a little soundtrack I’ve composed that made reading it slightly more magical!

SoundCloud link.

Tracklist

no.1  Winter Breath by Adrian Von Ziegler
no.2  Vow by Julianna Barwick
no.3  A Winters Tale by Jeremy Soule
no.4  Winter Rain by Hanan Gobran
no.5  Winter (full) by Antonio Vivaldi
no.6  Arrival of the Birds by The Cinematic Orchestra
no.7  Saturn by Sleeping at Last
no.8  Love by Daughter
no.9 Willow Tree March by The Paper Kites

 

 

Heroine Horoscopes

Find your Zodiac sign to venture towards your next battle— whether it be by wielding an axe, spying on foreign royalty, or tricking creatures as old as the realm with your cunning mind. Zodiac definitions are from Astrology-Zodiac-Signs. Not all heroines are YA. Be adventurous!

AQUARIUS

(n.) Aquarius-born are shy and quiet , but on the other hand they can be eccentric and energetic. However, in both cases, they are deep thinkers and highly intellectual people who love helping others. They are able to see without prejudice, on both sides, which makes them people who can easily solve problems. Although they can easily adapt to the energy that surrounds them, Aquarius-born have a deep need to be some time alone and away from everything, in order to restore power. People born under the Aquarius sign, look at the world as a place full of possibilities.

Elide Lochan was born to the Lord and Lady of Perranth, an heir to a humble territory set against the mountains of a greater kingdom. After the fall of her country, Elide is taken by her corrupt uncle and locked away, left with a crippled ankle and no sunlight or warmth. Upon plotting her escape, Elide finds out she has witch blood in her veins. This revelation causes something to awaken inside the usually quiet girl— a powerful darkness to match her compassion and peaceful attitude. Elide’s only hope is to see her lost queen again, and that loyalty drives her to do things she hadn’t thought herself capable of. Along the adventure, she allies with a morally questionable man who she tricks into believing her to be a shy maiden, not a missionary carrying one of the most dangerous weapons in the whole realm. Elide is crippled and illiterate, and these traits do not undermine her character in the slightest. She is wholly compassionate with a wicked strength for scheming. She is the pretty flower who hides its thorns. Elide, although being a side character, is stronger than most leading roles. Elide Lohan proves that you don’t have to wiled a sword to be a weapon.

  • Book: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

PISCES

(n.) Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back. Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity. Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. Neptune is connected to music, so Pisces reveal music preferences in the earliest stages of life. They are generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring.

Nina Zenik is a heartrender, capable of manipulating blood and healing fatal wounds, who finds herself amongst a wayward group of outcasts on an impossible heist. She is boisterous and loud, with a quirky love for food (particularly waffle) and an endearing attitude. Her forwardness is what makes her dialogue so intriguing, but so is her charismatic behavior. Nina is vey friendly and loyal, always seeking to help others before helping herself— especially those who need help and justice the most. These traits have caused her to fall in with the dregs of society and make a home within their ranks. She has a nurturing air, one that reveals itself whenever someone close to her is threatened. Fierce and extroverted, Nina’s love is that of unending abundance.

  • Book: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

ARIES

(n.) As the first sign in the zodiac, the presence of Aries almost always marks the beginning of something energetic and turbulent.They are continuously looking for dynamic, speed and competition. They are always first in everything – from work to social gatherings. Thanks to its ruling planet Mars, Aries is one of the most active zodiac signs. People born under the Aries sign, are meant to emphasize the search for answers to personal and metaphysical questions. This is the biggest feature of this incarnation.

Adelina Amouteru, the White Wolf and founder of the Rose Society, had always known she was born to be more than who she was. Her abusive childhood taught her not to trust, and to take action whenever she saw fit. Adelina is cold, calculative, and decisive. Those who have double crossed her will not be forgotten, for the White Wolf is not your average redemption story. Adelina is the grey area between good and evil, a character who slowly declines into a state of antagonism. She is relentless and unapologetic. She is entirely of her own making, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Having only one eye, no home, and a heart full of anger, this heroine is unlike any other written before her. She is symbolic for tragedy, but also should be recognized for her inner strength in facing such events and coming away with a lightened heart. Adelina does what many of us seem to forget when reading these adventurous tales— she focuses on her own well being. And that in itself is something to take pride in.

  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu

TAURUS

(n.) Powerful and reliable, Taurus is the first when it comes to harvesting the fruits of his labor. They love everything that is good and beautiful, and they are often surrounded by material pleasures. People born under the Taurus sign are very sensual and tactile. Touch is extremely important for them, both in business and in romance. Stable and conservative, Taurus is among the most reliable signs of the zodiac. Stubbornness is a trait that is forcing him to expel things to the end, in order to comply with the standards.

Blue Sargent is an aesthetic of her own design. She speaks her mind freely with little remorse or patience for ignorance. She’s quirky, and has moments where she appears vulnerable, but if you get on her bad side she’s quite a force to deal with. Her sass is astounding, as is her huge role as a feminist (and she doesn’t let the other four male protagonists forget that). Blue comes from an incredibly dynamic home of psychics, all of whom have told her that if she were to kiss her true love…he would die. But she doesn’t let this bother her as much as the fact that she cannot see the future as the rest of her family can. She has incredible potential but is lost as to where she should begin her story. In this, I think we can all relate to Blue to some degree. She is stubborn, but relies on her family to help guide her through her struggles. By surrounding herself with empathetic women, Blue in turn is empathetic towards her friends. She uses the caring and considerate nature of her home and reflects it upon her newly acquired friends, who definitely needed her understanding and adventurous attitude to join their circle. Touch is also extremely important to her, for she has limitations for what she can and cannot get to near; mainly being the boy she loves, and the dreams that seem to far away to come true.

  • Book: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

GEMINI

(n.) Expressive and quick-witted, Gemini represents two different sides of personality and you will never be sure with whom you will face. Gemini can be sociable,communicative and ready for fun, while on the other hand it can be very serious, thoughtful, restless and even indecisive.

Alina Starkov undergoes one of the craziest transitions in all of YA heroine history. Growing up an orphan in a tiny village within Ravka, she had no aspirations in life other than becoming a better cartographer for the Second Army. She is a melancholy type of girl, dreary and silent with unlocked potential buried beneath her own fear of a power she subconsciously knows she might posses. After unleashing her unique Sun Summoning powers, Alina is thrust into a war full of folklore and slow-burning vengeance. The Darkling tries to wield her as his own person weapon, but Alina turns the tides of battle once she leaves his stronghold and devises an army of her own. Going from an orphan with no ambitions to Sol Koroleva, the Sun Queen who would defeat the darkness that plagued her realm and stop injustice towards Grisha, Alina Starkov is both sides of a coin. She is unpredictable, which leads her to become a threat to her enemies. She represents the oppressed Grisha as well as those who have become lost within their own splendor. She wants to defeat the Darkling, but she knows that what he stands for isn’t necessarily wrong. In fact, Alina begins to think like her enemy through her own understanding of the war at stake. Her ability to see both sides of the story and sympathize with either has caused her to become stronger than what meet the eye.

  • Book: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

CANCER

(n.) Deeply intuitive and sentimental, Cancer can be one of the most challenging Zodiac signs to get to know. Cancer is very emotional and sensitive, and they care about family and home. Cancer is sympathetic and is very attached to the people who surround him.
People born under the Cancer sign are very loyal and empathetic people, able to empathize with your pain and suffering. Because of the ruling planet the Moon, the many phases of its lunar cycle can deepen Cancers internal mysteries and create fleeting emotional patterns that the sensitive Cancer cannot control, especially when a child. This can show itself as mood swings, selfishness, manipulation and fits of rage. Cancer is quick to help others and avoid conflicts. One of his greatest strengths is persistent determination. Cancer doesn’t have great ambitions, because they are happy and content to have a loving family and tranquil and harmonious home. They often take good care of their co-workers and treat them as family.

Agnieszka, a peasant living in the quant village of Dvernik which borders the deadly, malevolent Wood, is a highly sentimental and empathetic character. Her dearest friend, Kasia, emits strong beauty and bravery―qualities of which the Dragon sees fit enough for a new servant. The Dragon is an immortal wizard who protects the villagers against the dark magic of the Wood, yet each decade he takes the most promising girl to live with and serve him for the next ten years of her life. He des not harm the girls, and each one never returns to their meager lifestyle in the valley once they are put back into the world―instead going off to greater cities pluming wealth and prosperity. Kasia has known since she was a child that she is more than likely to be chosen by the Dragon. Agnieskza has known as well, and the thought of losing her aquatinted-sister is maddening. Until the day of the harvest comes, and the Dragon does not choose Kasia. Agnieskza’s love for her family is what powers her throughout this story. She is deeply intimate and empathetic because she has a connection with nature that can only be explained by her adoration for the unknown. To defeat the trees that come alive and haunt her fellow villagers, this heroine must become part of the forest.

  • Book: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

LEO

(n.) People born under the sign of Leo are natural born leaders. They are dramatic, creative self-confident, dominant and extremely difficult to resist. They can achieve anything they want, whether it’s about work or time spent will family and friends.

Camilla Macaulay is a “bramble rose”, a feature of society that is both disturbingly alive and also something of the past— as if she is a goddess reborn to wreck havoc in an innocent girl’s body. She is often described as such, and is lusted after by many—including her own twin brother. Camilla is a melancholic, tragic character that is so lost within her own misery that she goes along with the dangerous events surrounding her because they bring her closer to feeling awake. She is entirely compelling, and has qualities of a leader. Her looks may be what initially draw you in, but her quick whit and clever mind only further her role as the sensible and strong member of her group.

  • Book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

VIRGO

(n.) Virgos are always paying attention to smallest details and their deep sense of humanity makes them one of the most careful signs of the zodiac. Their methodical approach to life ensures that nothing is left to chance. Virgos are often tender but also very careful.

Marya Morevena gives a clear example of what it means to be a well-developed character. She starts her journey as a meek, young girl, the youngest of four sisters, who spends her days staring outside her bedroom window, watching birds fall from trees who then turn into suitors for her siblings. Her cherished red scarf, a sigil of her loyalty to her home, is taken from her after she dares to share her discoveries with the rest of her schoolmates. She grows to hope for little, and dream of more. Sharing her home with refuges of war is only half of her worries, for Marya desires to see the naked world when it is stripped bare. It isn’t until Koschei falls from her tree that her wish is granted. In a setting where each phrase is more like a lyric, paying close attention to detail is vital. Marya has a deep sense of humanity, for how else could she defeat the inhumane being that becomes her future husband?

  • Book: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

LIBRA

(n.) People born under the sign of Libra are peaceful and fair, and they hate being alone. Partnership is very important for Libra -born, and with their victorious mentality and cooperation, they cannot stand to be alone. The Libra is an Air sign, with expressed intellect and a keen mind. They can be inspired by good books, insurmountable discussions and interesting people.

Rebellious princess Mayavati has lived her whole life under the shadow of a horoscope that promises death and destruction through her marriage. Her kingdom befalls upon a crisis that can only be resolved through an arrangement between the princess Maya and her mysterious husband, who hails from a dark realm made of nightmares and folklore. Maya is cunning and uncompromising. She is a profound reader, and from her passion she has the ability to think cognitively about a great many things. This trait has led her to defeat enemies by using quick whit and intelligence. In regards to her position of power, Maya undergoes a transition from a quant royal living amongst secrecy and safety, to a queen of the underworld. In this Indian retelling of Persephone and Hades, you would wish to be wiser than to mess with Mayavati.

  • Book: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

SCORPIO

(n.) Scorpio-born are passionate and assertive people. They are determined and decisive, and will research until they find out the truth. Scorpio is a great leader, always aware of the situation and also features prominently in resourcefulness.

Karou is the apprentice of chimera Brimstone, collecting teeth to create wishes and resurrecting other beings of her kind. She is eccentric and very aware of her surroundings, though the more secrets that are unraveled, the more she becomes intwined with the dangers of her true nature. She rises to the occasion whenever others are feeling defeated, and her assertive nature helps to piece together centuries-old myths.

  • Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

SAGITTARIUS

(n.) Curious and energetic, Sagittarius is one of the biggest travelers among all zodiac signs. Their open mind and philosophical view motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. Sagittarius-born are able to transform their thoughts into concrete actions and they will do anything to achieve their goals. Like the other fire signs, Sagittarius needs to be constantly in touch with the world to experience as much as possible. The ruling planet of Sagittarius is Jupiter, the largest planet of the zodiac. Their enthusiasm has no bounds, and therefore people born under the Sagittarius sign possess a great sense of humor and an intense curiosity. Freedom is their greatest treasure, because only then they can freely travel and explore different cultures and philosophies. Because of their honesty, Sagittarius-born are often impatient and tactless when they need to say or do something, so it’s important to learn to express themselves in a tolerant and socially acceptable way.

Delilah Bard, a thief from Grey London, survives through stealing and lurking in corners her whole life. Yet she is full of wanderlust and dreams of becoming a pirate who travels the uncharted seas and wreck havoc wherever she goes. Her adventurous traits are almost childlike in their enthusiasm, but Lila has always known what she wanted, and so she has always worked towards her goal. She has an open mind, waiting to be fed with knowledge of worlds untouched by others. She would rather “die on an adventure than living standing still.”

  • Book: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

CAPRICORN

(n.) When it comes to professionalism and traditional values, Capricorn is the first. Capricorn is practical and is considered to be the most serious sign of the zodiac, who possess an independence that enables significant progress both on the personal level and in business. As an Earth sign, for a Capricorn there is nothing more important in life than family. Capricorn is a master of self-control and has the potential to be a great leader or manager as long as it is in the sphere of business.

Shahrzad, a young girl having just lost her closest friend, martyrs herself to be the Caliph’s next bride…and next kill. Every dawn brings new death in the realm of Khorasan. A new girl is married to Khalid, the monstrous King of Kings, and by sunrise she is strung up with a cord of silk around her neck. It has been this way for years, and the people live in turmoil and anguish for the loss of so many sisters, daughters, and friends. Shahrzad’s determination and adventurous charisma leads her to wed the Caliph with the hope of finding his weakness and using it to end him. However, neither of them expect his weakness to be her. Shazi is ridden with determination— to seek justice, to find answers, and to abolish the pain that has struck so many beloved of her. Her bravery and strong-wiled actions are what make her one of the most renowned YA heroines ever written.

Book: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

2017 YA Debuts

This year was fantastic in regards to the debuts and continuations released, but I think we’re all ready for the new year to begin. New year, new attitude, new goals… new books! My TBR has never been so long. That being said, I’ll keep this short. Here’s a list of just a few of next year’s releases that I’m highly anticipating! Attached are their Goodreads synopsis and covers. (I also must say that 2017 YA covers are the best ones I’ve seen as a collection thus far!)

A Crown of Wishes (#2, The Star Touched Queen) by Roshani Chokshi

— Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have toProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preset set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels. Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (#3, A Court of Thorns and Roses) by Sarah J Maas

— Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

— Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetThe Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

— Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

— When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the otheProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetr witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

King’s Cage (#3, Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard

— In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

— The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetDressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

A Conjuring of Light (#3, Shades of Magic) by V. E. Schwab

— The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab.

London’s fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

Warcross by Marie Lu

— Two teenage bounty hunters are “hired by a young billionaire to catch a hacker in the world’s most phenomenally popular virtual reality video game.”

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

— Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronesses…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eve

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset— All the women in Iris and Malina’s family are born with a gleam—a unique way of manipulating beauty through magic. Seventeen-year-old Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, her twin sister Malina interprets moods as music, and their cold, distant mother Jasmina bakes scenery into decadent treats at her confectionery in Old Town Cattaro, Montenegro.

Jasmina forbids Iris and Malina to share their gleams with anyone, and above all, she forbids them to fall in love—being discovered could shatter the quiet lives they’ve built in their tucked-away, seaside town. But Iris and Malina are tired of abiding by their mother’s rules and rebel in secret whenever they can.

Yet when a mysterious, white-haired woman attacks their mother and leaves her hovering between life and death, the sisters unearth an ancient curse that haunts their line—a wicked bargain that masquerades as a blessing, and binds the twins’ fates—and hearts—to a force larger than life. To save each other, they must untangle a thousand years of lies and reveal their own hurtful secrets. But even the deepest sacrifice might not be enough.

Wicked Like a Wildfire is the first book in a sumptuous, bewitching duology about the power of love, death, magic, and the many faces of beauty.

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preset

—  Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and grippin YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

— To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting ad dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

— Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Autumn/ Halloween TBR: Part I

Autumn/ Halloween TBR: Part I

In a field of dead wheat stalks, lapped at by frigid wind like raw meat to a starved crow, the trees reach taller than my limbs, the blood red moon hangs low above my fingertips; fog and murk and decay roil through the petrified grasses, through the fallen leaves that crunch against boots on a lonely Friday morning walk to school, through the veins of a heavy hearted wanderer carrying a bag of books against her boney shoulders. This is my autumn, but allow me to share my books with you…

Here are some books I’ve been intending to read around this melancholy time of year— I find them either eerie enough to compliment a Halloween TBR or dark and chilling enough for an autumn night where I’d stay up reading. I have also added some books that I have already ready, but they should certainly be on your TBR. Enjoy! Let me know if you have any recommendations as well!


 

Autumn/Halloween TBR: Part I

Paper Tigers, Damien Angelica Walters:

In this haunting and hypnotizing novel, a young woman loses everything—half of her body, her fiancé, and possibly her unborn child—to a terrible apartment fire. While recovering from the trauma, she discovers a photo album inhabited by a predatory ghost who promises to make her whole again, all while slowly consuming her from the inside out.

Little Sister Death, William Gay:

David Binder is a young, successful writer living in Chicago and suffering from writer’s block. He stares at the blank page, and the blank page stares back—until inspiration strikes in the form of a ghost story that captivated him as a child.

With his pregnant wife and young daughter in tow, he sets out to explore the myth of Virginia Beale, Faery Queen of the Haunted Dell. But as his investigation takes him deeper and deeper into the legacy of blood and violence that casts its shadow over the old Beale farm, Binder finds himself obsessed with a force that’s as wicked as it is seductive.

The Barrens, Joyce Carol Oates:

In this gripping psychological thriller, Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times best-selling author and one of the most versatile and original voices in contemporary American fiction, delivers a startling, complex tale of a serial killer and the people that his ghastly crimes touchand transform. People like Matt McBride. Matt was barely out of junior high when the mutilated body of the first victima popular, pretty teenagerwas uncovered in the desolate New Jersey Pine Barrens. Although he had hardly known the girl, Matt has long felt guilty at not having been able somehow to prevent the atrocity. Now another attractive young woman has disappeared, and Matt knew this victim, too. Just possibly he knew her more intimately than he is prepared to admit.

By degrees Matt becomes obsessed with a guilt he can neither comprehend nor assuage. His seemingly happy marriage begins to deteriorate, while his increasingly erratic behavior heightens police suspicions. It also draws official attention away from an artista man of limited talent but of fierce, demented visionwho signs his work Name Unknown. Under the spell of the missing woman, Matt follows a path that leads him out of the maze of tortured memory to a confrontation with not only the baleful Name Unknown but also his own long-unacknowledged self. The outcome is shattering. With “murder as an art and the serial killer as an artist,” National Book Awardwinner Joyce Carol Oates shows “how a murderer’s savage creations … transform a man’s life.”

(Read/ Rating: 5 of 5) The Secret History, Donna Tartt:

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Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Jay Kristoff:

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Heart Shaped Box, Joe Hill:

Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.

The Last Werewolf, Glen Duncan:

“Then she opened her mouth to scream–and recognised me. It was what I’d been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “It’s you.”

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Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you–and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.
Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide–even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

The Heretic’s Daughter, Kathleen Kent:

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha’s courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

(Read/ Rating: 5 of 5) The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

(Read/ Rating 5 of 5) Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente:

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

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Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson:

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan:

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her.

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She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

Soundtracks to Literature: How a Reader Becomes a Composer

Soundtracks to Literature: How a Reader Becomes a Composer

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’ve finally gotten the time to myself that I so desperately needed and deserved, and what better way to use that time than to write another blog post? I’ve got many fun things planned for autumn, but since we still have about a month to go, I’ve decided to write about something I think hasn’t been given proper attention lately (or ever, really). Book playlists.

This sounds strange, as do most of my posts, but it’s strange for a reason—it’s unusual in it’s awesomeness. How many times do you watch a film or a T.V. show and stop paying attention to the plot when suddenly you hear a heart-pounding music sequence in the background? I do it constantly whenever I get the chance, even during the gymnastics floor routines of the recent Rio 2016 Olympics. I believe my obsession for compiling literature-centric playlists started around the same time the Twilight movie soundtrack was born. You don’t have to love those books or those movies to fall in love with their OSTs and playlists. It’s that good.

When I read, I’m directing the scenes of a movie in my mind. The author is my screenwriter, her/his words shape the character’s mouths and move their bodies into battles, but the colors, the tones, the feeling of being near a fireplace or stranded on a shipwrecked island of sirens..those are mine to create. As is the music being played in the background.

Perhaps I’m talking in circles now, but if you don’t understand what I’m typing, just try listening to one of my playlists (preferably one that coincides with a book you’ve read so)! Just follow these links here for whichever series you’ve read, and close your eyes, turn up the volume, and let your mind walk wonders….

(Of course, this is better on the 8tracks free APP)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

1. x

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

1. x

A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas

  1.  x
  2.  x Lucien
  3.  x Rhysand
  4.  
  5.  x Feyre
  6. x

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

  1. x

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. x Gansey
  2. x Noah
  3. x Adam
  4. x Ronan
  5. x

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

  1. x Nikolai 
  2. x
  3. x

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

  1. x
  2. x Kaltain
  3. x Aelin 
  4. x The Thirteen
  5. x

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. x

Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

  1. x
  2. x
  3. x
  4. x

 

Not only can you create a playlist dedicated to a book series, but you can also compose one made just for an individual character. Theoretically, you can do whatever you want. But these are just a few ideas for beginner composers! I know a lot of my friends use Spotify, but I don’t particularly feel like paying monthly to create playlists when I could use other APPs that are free…like 8tracks. Now before you get any ideas, I’m not a sponsor for 8tracks. I just really love the APP…aside from the fact that they now have a few commercials popping up every now and again. That I could gladly do without.

But aside from it being free and easy to use, you get to create your own cover for the playlists, your own tags for the playlists, and you can follow other composers who share similar music taste! My account is under the username SeelieKnight. Feel free to hit me up whenever!

I’m always saving song ideas for when I have enough to compose a playlist. Music comes hand in hand with literature for me, as does the strong sense of imagery from both creations. There’s plot in both, but enough freedom to find your own stories. I hope I could persuade you to try making your own playlists, or to listen to them the next time you need a little extra initiative to read. Let me know if you already have some book inspired tunes, I’d love to listen to them!