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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The March #WednesdayYA book club pick is...

Liz and I decided last year that as a birthday treat to ourselves, we would get total control of the book choice for #WednesdayYA during our birth month. And since I kick off March birthdays on the 1st, March is under my control  (mua ha ha).
That means, if we don't like this month's club read, it's fully on me (and the author. Actually, it'll be mostly their fault, tbh). But I have a feeling that won't be the case, because I've heard excellent things about both the author and the series that this month's read comes from, and I am SO in the mood for something quirky and crazy and memorable. Which is why, after pulling half a dozen books off my shelves and reading through the first few lines of each, I just had to go with...

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
"Another world is colliding with this one," said the toad. "All the monsters are coming back."
"Why?" said Tiffany.
"There's no one to stop them."
There was silence for a moment.
Then Tiffany said, "There's me."

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk's local Nac Mac Feegle - aka the Wee Free Men - a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds - black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors - before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone....

In a riveting narrative that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett returns to his internationally popular Discworld with a breathtaking tale certain to leave fans, new and old, enthralled.

Now, this is technically the thirtieth book in the Discworld series, but if you're unfamiliar with Discworld, they're basically all stand-alone(ish) books set in the same weird world, so you can start basically anywhere (or so I've been told). But further taking the pressure off of this ginormous series, The Wee Free Men is actually the beginning to its own little cycle of stories within Discworld, the Tiffany Aching storyline, which is Pratchett's middle grade/YA entry into Discworld. So have no worries, you can jump right in at this book without having read anything else, which is exactly what Liz and I intend to do.
One further note: the first cover shown is from a Wee Free Men/Hat Full of Sky bind-up, but we're only reading the first story, WFM (though that is the edition we both have - if you have it too, no pressure to read both!).

Our liveshow discussion of the book, which I'm thinking will be an animated and fun one, since these books are so quirky, will take place on the last Wednesday of March, the 25th, at 8;30EST, on both youtube and twitter (hashtag #WednesdayYA). We sincerely hope you'll join us in reading and discussing it then, but if you're unable to make the discussion, remember the video will go live the following day, and will be posted here on the blog, so you can still join in the conversation.

Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interview with Rachel Hartman, author of Seraphina!

By now, you guys know I love Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I talk about it a lot.
A lot.
And I've been promising you that I'd be talking with you about the sequel, Shadow Scale, for ages now, and it's finally time!
Well, almost.

I promise I will be sharing my thoughts on Shadow Scale soon, as well as giving you a chance to win a copy of your very own, but first, I somehow convinced Rachel to come back and chat with us a for a bit -- How she hasn't run screaming from me by now, I'll never know... -- and let me tell you, there are VERY IMPORTANT THINGS in this interview. *commence tiny freak out*

Check it out below, and then leave some love for Rachel (or your own tiny freak out) in the comments!

Hi, Rachel! Glad you could join us. Were you surprised at all by the reaction to Seraphina? William C Morris award winner, fervent fans who waited (im)patiently for the follow-up, etc? And on that note, have there been any especially weird/memorable/heady moments that took you by surprise (like fan art, etc)?

I always knew Seraphina was a good book, but I’d worked in bookselling long enough to know that good books don’t always find their audiences right away. I’m very pleased that it’s gotten as much attention as it has, and that readers are excited about the sequel. I love all the fan art the book has inspired, and the stories people tell me about the connection they feel to Seraphina’s inner struggle.

A particularly heady moment happened right around the time of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” (remember that? A million years ago, in internet time). The actor Orlando Jones had dumped bullet casings on his head instead of ice, trying to bring attention to the violent deaths of Mike Brown and others, and he was getting some flack for being political. I had quite liked his video, so I tweeted at him, “Thanks for the that video.”

He tweeted back, “Thanks for Seraphina.” He knew who I was. I can tell you, my squee was heard around the world.

[Note from Misty: Whoa.]

I've had a lot of people ask me if I thought this would turn out to be a longer series; if I thought it was open-ended, there were more book coming, potential for more set in the same world, etc. Clearly people don't want to let Seraphina and Goredd go. Though I always let them know that they can get their hands on more of Goredd's stories already, in the form of Amy Unbounded, can you dangle the worm and let us know if there's any chance of more Goreddi stories down the line, or whether they should abandon all hope? 

Goredd has been with me since junior high, and I can’t imagine letting it go. My intention all along -- pending success of these first two books -- has been to write a whole bunch of different books set there, like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Even Terry Pratchett sometimes dabbles in non-Discworld books, however, so it’s not impossible that I may want to venture further afield someday, but my heart is in Goredd and it always has been.

[Another note from Misty: funny you should mention Discworld...]

And, I know some authors hate being asked this, because they're like, I just finished this book. Let me wallow in it a bit!, but: what's next for Rachel Hartman? What glorious, amazing thing are you going to make us wait agonizing years for bless us with next? ;)

I am excited to tell you I’ve got two more books coming, set in Goredd but only tangentially related to Seraphina herself. Remember her twin half-sisters from the first book? They’re mentioned only briefly, in a single scene. Well, one of them is going to have some adventures. Seraphina will have a few cameo appearances, and I’m really having fun showing her from her sister’s point of view. Nobody sees your flaws more clearly than a sister, or loves you harder in spite of them.

[One last note from Misty, promise: WHOA.]

If Seraphina was being made into a movie and you could dream-cast any character who would it be, who would play them, and why? 

I have a terrible time with questions like this! I always suspect that the best actors for the job haven’t been discovered yet. However, there was one character who was loosely inspired by a real actor, and that was the Ardmagar Comonot. I was trying to describe his personality to my editor and hit upon the word “Shatneresque.” So yes, I would want William Shatner to play Ardmagar Comonot. I know the late Leonard Nimoy usually gets all the credit for playing the alienated alien, but Shatner, for my money, was always the one who seemed to be trying really hard to be human and just slightly missing the mark.

[Okay, I lied, because here's another note: this is the most perfect response to this question that I think an author has ever given. Shatner as Comonot. Yes. Yes.]

In a recent vlog, I asked viewers if they had any questions for you, and one viewer wanted to know both who your favorite character was to write, and more importantly, what YOU would look like as a dragon. Which I think may just be the best question ever, and I will add to it with: what would you be like as a dragon? 

Y’know, I almost hate to say it, but I really could see myself more as a quigutl (the dragons’ lizardy cousins) than a saar (the winged, flaming, shape-shifting sort of dragon). I’m just not dispassionate enough to fit in with the dragons , and I’m more of a putterer, always scuttling after scraps (of ideas) and building things (out of words) just for the heck of it. I’d like climbing the walls and hiding in crates of cabbages. That scene in Seraphina where the quigutl spin molten glass into a cobwebby lattice and then break it by sitting on it? That’s me all over.

And lastly, the last time we chatted, I was able to obtain video evidence (by the way of you sending me video evidence) of you singing Ye Merry Ole Dragon Tune. Any such silliness you would like to add to the pile of things you remember years down the line with the faint blush of, Oh yeah, remember when I did the thing?

Did you ever see the movie Singin’ in the Rain?  Towards the beginning a reporter asks Don Lockwood (played by Gene Kelly) the secret of his success, and he says, “Dignity. Always dignity.” That is my motto, too, and I reckon I’m exactly as successful at it as Lockwood was. Can’t you just feel the dignity coming off this man in waves:


Well, there you have it, folks, and can I just say (as if I haven't already interjected enough): I KNOW, RIGHT? Who else is super, super excited to see more of Gorredd? *raises hand*

If you haven't already picked up Seraphina, then I really don't know what you're doing with your life (look at your life. Look at your choices.), and you should maybe go correct that now. If you have read Seraphina, then I feel it my duty to inform you that next week, I will be sharing my thoughts on the sequel, Shadow Scale, and giving you a chance to get your hands on a copy, too! Next Tuesday, literally 1 exact week from today (down to the minute), I will be Gorredding in your face all over again, so be there or be...more awkward than a dragon at a rom-com!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Get It | Add It
Fantasy, 499 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers
In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

About the Author:

As a child, RACHEL HARTMAN played cello, lip-synched Mozart operas with her sisters, and fostered the deep love of music that inspired much of her award-winning debut novel, SERAPHINA. Born in Kentucky, Rachel has lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She now lives with her family in Vancouver, Canada. A New York Times bestseller, Seraphina won the William C. Morris Award, received eight starred reviews, and was named to multiple “best of” lists. To learn more, please visit SeraphinaBooks.com or RachelHartmanBooks.com.

Monday, March 2, 2015


What will I be reading in March? WHO KNOWS, but it's a safe bet it'll have to do with fairy tales!

The Wee Free Men: http://amzn.to/1K4xDdo
Maybe Lying Out Loud (http://amzn.to/1AswgKJ) or The Winner's Crime (http://amzn.to/17ICWO9)
Beastkeeper: http://amzn.to/17ID0xo
Stitching Snow: http://amzn.to/1ALhaF1
and then it's anybody's guess, but let me know in the comments if you'd like a review of:

For more on Fairy Tale Fortnight, visit this post!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci | Blog Tour

Many of you know how much I loved last year's Tin Star, which I never seemed to stop talking about. If you don't know, here's a refresher. As soon as I found out there was going to be a sequel, my fingers started itching for it, and it planted its self pretty firmly near the top of my must-haves list. So of course, I was very eager indeed to be part of the Stone in the Sky blog tour, and share my thoughts on this highly-anticipated book with you.

[And since this is a sequel, it should go without saying that there may be spoilers for the first book. I say should because it never ceases to amaze me, the things people will cry 'spoiler!' at...]

Now, it should be said, I'm always a little hesitant going into a follow-up to a book I loved. Sophomore Slump and all that, but the truth is, it's not just hard to capture the things that made me love it in the first place; sometimes it's downright impossible. I think such is the case with a series like this, because what made me love it so thoroughly the first time around was the isolation and cold-fish-ness of Tula, which is slowly chipped away by new connections and a new life forged. You can't really recreate that in a sequel, because Tula is beyond that. So the trick for a sequel, then, is not recreating what I loved, but about giving me something new to love. Castellucci does this by sending Tula out into the Great Unknown, forcing her out of the comfortable niche she's carved for herself on the Yertina Feray, and out of the arms of my favorite alien, Tournour. She's alone again, and in peril, so it echoes her experiences of Tin Star, and allows her to prove herself once again, but it's a new venue, a new set of challenges and goals, and I appreciated that.

I like exploring more of the world(s), and that there are still hard times for Tula and the people she meets. In both Tin Star and Stone in the Sky, Castellucci has not shied away from pain and heartache, and just the stark realities of trying to cobble together a life out of barren, hardscrabble worlds. In some ways, this book goes even darker in the actual subject matter, but because of the things Tula has experienced and the people she finds herself now surrounded by (no longer alone!), there is a strong savor of hope. There's a tenacity about Tula that I absolutely love, and I also love that people she meets admire and respond to it. It's a quality that would be very helpful, if not downright necessary, in such a setting, I would think, and Tula puts it to good use. Even when she's selling herself short or downplaying her own role in things, she makes things happen, she fights for what she wants to happen, and I am a big fan of that. From the very beginning of the first chapter of Tin Star, when Tula is literally fighting for her life, straight through to the end of Stone in the Sky, she never gives up reaching and growing and making things happen -- even when the odds are practically non-existent.

And at the core of the story, Tula is still Tula. I said in my review of Tin Star that part of the reason I love the book and Tula is because "I gravitate towards prickly people and hopeless situations," and Tula gives me that, both in her being somewhat prickly and often in seemingly hopeless situations, but also because I feel like she gravitates toward prickly people and hopeless situations. She doesn't shy away from daunting challenges, and she draws people to her against all odds, and by the time Stone in the Sky comes to a close, Tula has really come into her own. She's grown, but she's still her, in all of her prickly, cold-fishy tenacity that I adored the first time around.  The same disclaimers from the first book still apply, in that I don't think this is the book/series for everyone. It is slow, in a slow-burning way that I personally enjoy (so I don't really feel it's slow, but that was the complaint I saw most), and I'm sure some people still just won't connect to Tula or her world. I also felt that there were times, especially as it neared the end, that it felt a little rushed or chaotic, and I actually wished it would have slowed down and lingered over some things.  But no book is the book for everybody, and for me, I'll always gladly take more Tula Bane (and Tournour!), and this series that isn't really like anything else out there right now. And I have a feeling that these characters will stick with me for some time to come, and when you fly through things and then promptly forget them, the way I do, saying something's memorable is high praise indeed.

And with that, the Stone in the Sky blog tour is a wrap! Check out the full list of stops on Cecil's blog for any reviews or interviews you may have missed!

Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci
Get It | Add It
Sci-Fi, 320 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Roaring Brook Press
In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy.

Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books. Titles include Boy Proof, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell), First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool The Plain Janes and Janes in Love (illustrated by Jim Rugg), Tin Star and Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon).

Her short stories have been published in various places including Black Clock, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine and can be found in such anthologies such as After, Teeth, Truth & Dare, The Eternal Kiss, Sideshow and Interfictions 2 and the anthology, which she co-edited, Geektastic.

She is the recipient of the California Book Award Gold Medal for her picture book Grandma's Gloves, illustrated by Julia Denos and the Shuster Award for Best Canadian Comic Book Writer for The Plain Janes. The Year of the Beasts was a finalist for the PEN USA literary award and Odd Duck was Eisner nominated.

She splits her time between the heart and the head and lives north and south of everything. Her hands are small. And she likes you very much.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Count Spatula's Guide to Baking blog tour!

I can't remember a time of my life that I wasn't a foodie. I can remember avidly watching Julia Child & Jacques Pepin on PBS as a toddler, and I can remember rushing home throughout my pre-teen and teen years to watch Daisy Martinez cook and act saucy, or lose myself in Breaking Bread with Father Dominic, and being very irritated if I missed either one. (Once again, thank you PBS.) Normal pursuits for a kid to obsess over? Can't say, but I have a feeling the answer is no. But such was my life, and frankly, still is, and I can't remember a time I haven't loved to see people prepare or talk about or savor and enjoy food.

Except for jello.

Which is why I find it moderately hilarious that for my leg of the Princess Decomposia & Count Spatula blog tour today, I have said Count talking about, of all things, jello.  Now, don't get me wrong, I've eaten jello (and had my fair share of jello shots...), so it's not a taste thing. I blame it on many, many childhood viewings of The Blob, actually, and on that uncanny jiggling. *shudder*
(But strangely enough, I kinda like jello jigglers. Go figure.)

But that said, I do understand that gelatin has a long and storied history, and there is a case to be made for the humble jello.
So I'll allow the Count to make that case...
Enjoy, and let me know if you have weird foodie quirks like this in the comments!

On Jello by Count Spatula

Jello, that colourful, wobbly delicious delight we remember from our childhood. Some chefs believe jello is best confined to children's birthday parties and is beneath their notice. I find it a remarkably flexible dessert, not only in concert with other ingredients to make trifles and (in very rare cases) salad, but in its own right. Quick and easy to make in bulk, I've found jello has remarkable properties when combined with a little bit of imagination and a touch of magic. At it's most advanced, jello work should be regarded with the same respect as sugar craft. Below are just some of my signature dishes using this enchanting dessert.

Jelly Babies. Once eaten these gelatinous treats produce peculiar effects. Firstly, once consumed, the eater loses the power of speech and can only communicate in a variety of gurgles and burbles. Friends and relatives may find this adorable or repulsive. Brief periods of deep sleep are punctuated by lengthy bouts of inconsolable crying. The tears produced are thick and sticky and share the bright colour of jello. Due to these strange effects, those who eat the jelly babies are often taken home early by a responsible adult and told that they're 'overtired'. Do not fly or use heavy machinery after eating.

Jelly Teen. These larger and slightly more mature jelly babies share a similar recipe. The effects again involve the loss of speech, although this is through choice rather than lack of vocal development. Grunts and nods replace gurgles as a method of communication. Long, deep periods of sleep are punctuated by sulking, mood swings and violent slamming of doors. Those who have eaten jelly teens inevitably end up confining themselves to their bedroom and refuse to come out for meals.

Jelly Mould. Jelly left out or in the back of cold storage for extended periods will develop this virulent bacteria. Any jelly showing signs of the mould should not be eaten. Those who consume jelly mould will exhibit symptoms of jelly poisoning, these include: nausea; uncontrollable quivering; lime, strawberry and blackcurrant flavoured mucus and, in the most severe cases, a visibly transparent complexion. A hot bath, anti-gelatin tablets and eating absorbent sponge fingers usually cure the problem.

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson
Get It | Add It
Graphic Novel, 176 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by First Second
Princess Decomposia is overworked and underappreciated.

This princess of the underworld has plenty of her own work to do but always seems to find herself doing her layabout father's job, as well. The king doesn't feel quite well, you see. Ever. So the princess is left scurrying through the halls, dodging her mummy, werewolf, and ghost subjects, always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well.

Luckily for Princess Decomposia, she makes a good hire in Count Spatula, the vampire chef with a sweet tooth. He's a charming go-getter of a blood-sucker, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become friends. And then...more than friends? Maybe eventually, but first Princess Decomposia has to sort out her life. And with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she'll succeed.

Andi Watson (Glister, Gum Girl) brings his signature gothy-cute sensibility to this very sweet and mildly spooky tale of friendship, family, and management training for the undead.

Andrew "Andi" Watson (born 1969) is a British cartoonist and illustrator best known for the graphic novels Breakfast After Noon, Slow News Day and his series Love Fights, published by Oni Press and Slave Labor Graphics.

Watson has also worked for more mainstream American comic publishers with some work at DC Comics, a twelve-issue limited series at Marvel Comics, with the majority at Dark Horse Comics, moving recently to Image Comics.


Dark Triumph Wrap-Up | #WednesdayYA live show

In case you missed it last night, or want to rewatch any of our awkwardness and antics, here is this month's #WednesdayYA live show!
This month, we were discussing Robin LaFever's Dark Triumph, the second book in the His Fair Assassin series, which I think it may be safe to say, Liz and I are fully in love with. It's rare that we have not one single negative thing to say, but this was a pretty glowing -- and animated -- discussion.

Check it out below and feel free to weigh in on the book, or our antics, in the comments! And stay tuned to the end or keep an eye out for next week's WYA post, for the announcement of March's group read!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I probably should have waited on this, since I got a pretty incredible package right after uploading this, but I knew I wouldn't get another chance too soon, so here is my February book haul (not including the last 4 days or so of the month -- those goodies will just have to wait for the March haul!). Check out the video below, and let me know in the comments what you think of the books and this month of amazing surprise goodies! And of course, share some of the things you're excited to have added to your shelves this month. =)

At the Water's Edge | Sara Gruen
Lying Out Loud | Kody Keplinger
Salt & Stone | Victoria Scott
The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise | Matthew Crow
The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
Tear You Apart | Sarah Cross
The World Within | Jane Eagland
The Witch Hunters | Virginia Boecker

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I don't know about you, but I was massively into scary stories as a kid. Blame it on R.L. Stine, Alvin Schwartz, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, or the many, many bad B horror movie marathons I had with my dad as a kid, but whatever it was, I just couldn't get enough of them.

And though I may not have ever been a guy, I would have been all over the latest installment from the Guys Read series of books (but secretly. Because even though I loved scary stories, I dug in my heels a bit when something explicitly stated it was for boys. Because smelly gym socks and fart jokes, or whatever. I still would have read it, but it probably would have been covert-like*...)

But that said, I think it's great when boys are actively encouraged to read (and scary stories, all the better!), and you add in the contributing authors and the fact that it's edited by the hilarious & awesome Jon Scieszka — whose name I can both pronounce and spell without googling it, BOOM — and I think we've got a winner!

And of course, I am very pleased to be revealing its cover to you today! Designed by graphic novelist Gris Grimly, who also illustrates the stories, it has that perfect blend of quirky humor and ugh, skin-crawling, bugs in the hair THERE ARE BUGS IN HER HAIR thing going on.
That thing.

Check it out below, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Guys Read: Terrifying Tales edited by Jon Scieszka, illus. by Gris Grimly 
Sept. 1, hardcover and paperback, $16.99 and $6.99, 
ISBN 9780062385581 and 9780062385574
The sixth installment in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading includes ten all-new, original horror stories from R. L. Stine, Kelly Barnhill, Michael Buckley, Rita Williams Garcia, Adam Gidwitz, Claire Legrand, Daniel José Older, Nikki Loftin and more. Ages 8-12

*That is, until someone told me that I couldn't read it, because I was a girl. And then I would have read the ever-loving out of it, in public, just to prove a point.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


So, this was supposed to go up LAST Wednesday, hence the Valentine's references. Just ignore those, it's still a fun game to play any time of year — so play along and enjoy your blind date!

How this works:
I've given you 3 categories of books to choose from. You'll click on the category you want (either in the video, or below), and be taken to a new video.
That new video will give you TWO blind date options. You'll decide which book is right for you and click on it, which will take you to a reveal of your "blind date".
Have fun with it, and let me know what you think if you end up spending some time with your blind date book!

The Categories:
Reader Seeking Romance: http://youtu.be/WOhDm6oM-Xg
Down with Love: http://youtu.be/IXbBH4ICVqs
Anything Goes: http://youtu.be/VR4LI23OY1Y

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente Blog Tour & Giveaway!!

"A Changeling is a little bomb dropped by Fairyland upon the human world for fun and profit."

I'm very pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente today! I've been an eager follower of this series from the beginning, and though, as some of you know, I had a weird reading funk where the third book unfortunately got left by the wayside, I'm glad to say that with this new installment (one very different from the ones that came before it), I've fallen right back into Fairyland — or should I say, out of Fairyland, as it is invading our turf this time 'round!

I've decided to save my full review for this year's Fairy Tale Fortnight, which I announced yesterday, because these books are just too good a fit to not include, but until then, I thought I'd treat you to a little snippet of the book. This scene, just after the Red Wind has spirited away a little troll-boy named Hawthorne, to replace him as a Changeling with a human from our world, was the first scene to really make me excited. Now, there had been plenty of lines and turns of phrase before this point that charmed, tickled and delighted me, but this scene, when I realized that this new book meant that we'd get to see Valente turn her hand to bringing out the absurd and fantastical in our own world, brought a very big smile to my face.

I love a good whimsical created world, I truly do, but I think the thing I love even more is when that whimsy spills over into our own world, seeps into our history and our ways of life, and tints it all in rose-colored magic. I love the places your mind can go with the alternate universes's"new information," and I love seeing how real people and events shape the authors decisions, and then our world is reshaped by those decisions, and on and on in this intricate tangle of real and make-believe. It delights the child and the creative person in me, as well as the absurdist, and this scene let me know that Fairyland number 4 would give me that in abundance — at least for a little while...

Enjoy the excerpt below, and then enter to win a copy of The Boy Who Lost Fairyland for yourself!
And don't forget to stop back by during Fairy Tale Fortnight for my full review of the book!

from The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente. Quoted from an advance copy, so wording may not be final. Any typos likely mine (but I tried to catch them all!)
"PARCEL?" the creature barked thunderously.
"What is that?" whispered Hawthorn.
The Red Wind smiled slowly, her whole face filling up with wicked delight. "Why that, my excitable little emerald, is a human. I should get acquainted, if I were you. I daresay you'll be seeing more of them."
"Can I touch it?"
The human scowled. "I've never heard the like!" she snapped. "How would you like it if I asked to touch you?"
Hawthorn shrugged. "You can touch me if you want," he said softly. And reached up his hand.
The human narrowed her eyes. She puffed out her cheeks like a great fish. Then she gave a short, hard laugh like a stamp marking a form and touched his fingers with hers. Her skin was soft and warm. His was hard and cold as stone — but for a troll, as hard and cold as stone is just the warmest and most wonderful thing to be.
"Pleased to meet you," said the human. "I am the Postmaster General for the Commonwealth of Australia. You may call me Mr. Benjamin Franklin. Everyone does."
"You don't look like a Mr. Benjamin," Hawthorn ventured.
The Postmaster General shuffled several envelopes together and tied them with twine before chucking them behind her into a large canvas bin.
"Long ago," the Red Wind explained, "a wizard called Benjamin Franklin became so powerful, by means of a magical lightning-wand and an excellent wig and a fell familiar in the shape of a kite, that he was made Postmaster of a vast kingdom. Using his monstrous magics, he, the kite, and the wig founded the Grand Society of the Golden Postilion, of which all Postmasters are members. That is why they are called Masters, you know. Each and every one of them is a great Master of Questing Physicks. How else could a magical sword find its way to the bottom of a lake just in time for a little baby kinglet to wander by? Or a coat of many colors to a shepherd's shoulders, or a spinning wheel to a locked and hidden room, or a girl in the shell of a hazelnut to an elderly couple longing for children? The Post is how the end of a story gets shipped safely to the beginning."

Thanks to the awesome people at Macmillan, I've got one copy of Catherynne M. Valente's The Boy Who Lost Fairyland to give away to one lucky winner! Giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry international peeps! Keep an eye out for giveaways during FTF!), and will run through the end of the blog tour/publication date of March 3rd! Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.
Good luck, and make sure to visit the rest of the stops on the Fairyland blog tour!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
Get It | Add It
Fantasy, 256 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling – a human boy -- in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution--until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant.

Time magazine has praised Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland books as "one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century." In this fourth installment of her saga, Valente 's wisdom and wit will charm readers of all ages.

Catherynne M. Valente is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her husband, two dogs, and an enormous cat. Visit her online at catherynnemvalente.com or on Twitter at @catvalente.

Ana Juan is a world-renowned illustrator best known in this country for her wonderful New Yorker magazine covers. She lives in Spain. Visit her online at anajuan.net.


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