Category Archives: Fantasy

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR #BoneClocks2017

Meme badgeReading and Bloggiesta-ing at the same time today, adding one more day to the weekend, thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday!

Mini Bloggiesta January 13 to 15 badge
This week I’m reading Bone Clocks by David Mitchell for a readalong (#BoneClocks2017) hosted by Care at Care’s Books and Pie and Melissa of Avid Reader’s Musing. I also just downloaded Slade House by David Mitchell for audiobook listening this week, because I heard through the readalong crowd that there is some connection between the two. I hope I won’t get the two confused!

What is Bone Clocks all about? I have no idea, really…It appears so far to be a quest story with elements of fantasy and literary fiction, tucked inside a coming of age story. (Or the other way round.) Set in England. In other words, one of my favorite kinds of book! I knew nothing about Bone Clocks going into the readalong (and I wasn’t planning to sign up for challenges, etc. this year) but the other books by David Mitchell that I’ve read (Black Swan Green and Cloud Atlas) were so good that I couldn’t resist this chance to read Bone Clocks and talk about it at the same time.

The first part of Bone Clocks is narrated by a fifteen-year-old girl who is starting to assert her independence from her parents, especially her mother. Holly Sykes is a handful, but loves her younger brother, Jacko. (Holly reminded me a little of Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, who also had an unusual younger brother, but I don’t know if there were any deliberate references, as I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time in ages.)

The narration in Bone Clocks has just switched to Hugo Lamb, a horny undergraduate at Cambridge, who seems callow and obnoxious at first, but if he turns out to be on the side of good (vs. evil) I expect he will redeem himself. He’s older than Holly – who is callow and obnoxious at age 15 – but boys mature later than girls?

If you want to jump in for the rest of the #BoneClocks17 Readalong, it’s not too late! It’s scheduled to go through February.

Bone Clocks Readalong button
The Bone Clocks Readalong Kickoff (Melissa)

The Bone Clocks Readalong Kickoff (Care)


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in, everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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A Party Girl and a Knight Walk into the Afterlife: Whereafter by Terri Bruce @_TerriBruce

cover image of WhereafterWhereafter by New England author Terri Bruce is a treat for paranormal fiction readers and lovers of afterlife mythologies.

The newest book in the Afterlife series, Whereafter follows Hereafter and Thereafter (Links go to my reviews) but because each book has its own set of journeys, you can jump into reading the books at any point.

I first connected with author Terri Bruce on Twitter and then got hooked on her series of paranormal fantasy books about smart-ass Irene Dunphy — a textbook case of arrested development at age 30 — and her adventures in the afterlife, first with a fellow seeker named Jonah, a 14-year-old loner, and then with a 19th-century American cowboy and a 12th-century Spanish knight.

For me, Irene’s banter and bravado are the best part of the books. On her extended journey — as her cockiness deepens into true bravery — Irene is gradually learning and growing, and she becomes more likeable as a person as the story moves forward. But her spirited streak remains as she continues to parry and thrust verbally (and physically, when necessary) with and alongside Andras, the knight she is traveling with on this portion of her journey through the realms of the afterlife.

Whereafter also picks up the story of Jonah, now age 17, who didn’t have a large role to play in Thereafter (Book #2,) and who was Irene’s best bantering match in Hereafter (Book #1.) Since then, in his continued quest to find and help Irene, Jonah has learned even more about the afterlife than he knew before — already an awful lot — but he has a lot to learn about living his own life. Cara, a new acquaintance his own age who does a bit of dabbling in the psychic realm herself, is determined to help him in both areas, despite her own lingering doubts about the wisdom of looking for Irene.

A genre-blending paranormal fantasy set mostly in mythical and fantastical worlds, Whereafter also has a New England flavor, as Irene and Jonah’s stomping grounds in life were/are Salem, Massachusetts (home of the witches) and Boston (home of Madame Majicka’s Shop of Mysteries.)

“‘I’m from New England. We don’t consider weather weird until it’s hailing, snowing, and lightning all at the same time.’

Andras’s eyes narrowed into a laser-hot glare; apparently this was no time for jokes. Irene sighed. ‘Look, it’s all strange and unnatural, okay? It’s been strange and unnatural from the beginning, before I even left the land of the living. I’m talking to a guy from 1195, for cryin’ out loud. Today, alone, I’ve been chased by ghost-eating shadows, found myself in the mythical land of Tartarus, and a disgruntled ex-slave attempted to put a curse on me. I’m sorry, where exactly in the grand scheme of things does a freak snowstorm fit on the weird-shit-o-meter?’ She patted his arm, half comforting, half dismissive. ‘Come on, buck up, will you? You’ve faced Hungry Ghosts and invading armies without so much as batting an eye. This is a million times easier.’

The furrow between Andras’s eyebrows deepened, but at the same time, one corner of his mouth lifted slightly. ‘Perhaps,’ he said softly, ‘we should visit my time. I would dearly love to see you face down an army of Moors. In all honesty, I am not sure which side I should pity.'”

— from Whereafter by Terri Bruce

Whereafter
Bruce, Terri
Mictlan Press
March 15, 2016
9780991303649 (soft.)
9780991303656 (ebook)

Disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this book through NetGalley. This review is part of the Whereafter Blog Tour.

Read my interview with author Terri Bruce and enter the giveaway for two Amazon gift cards.

Visit the other tour stops for additional interviews and excerpts.

Terri Bruce Whereafter Button

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins @penguinrandom

book coverThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins will definitely be on my list of favorite books of 2015. Not only does it have a vast fantasy library as the seat of incredible power, but it also centers around both a seemingly doomed quest and an epic conflict of good and evil for control of the world in which the two sides keep melting confoundingly into one another. I hope there is a sequel in the works for 2016!

Carolyn, the main character, is a librarian, but not the tea-sipping, cozy mystery-reading stereotype. There is something disturbingly powerful about her that others – “the Americans” – can sense, but can’t concentrate on long enough to figure out. The book is dark and apocalyptically violent, but allows readers (almost always) to keep a tiny, comforting, glimpse of hope for humanity.

If you like dark contemporary fantasy like American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman, you definitely want to read The Library at Mount Char. The publisher describes it this way:

Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy.

Disclosure: I read an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. I see the Highbridge audiobook edition is read by Hilary Huber, one of my favorite narrators, so now I may have to listen to the audiobook, too. Listen to an excerpt here.

Other opinions:
Beth Fish Reads
My Bookish Ways

The Library at Mount Char
Hawkins, Scott
Penguin, June 16, 2015
9780553418606
400 pp.
$26.00