Author Query – Suellen Dainty [Blog Tour]

Today, I’m pleased to be able to bring you an interview with Suellen Dainty as part of her blog tour for her latest novel The Housekeeper, which was published in early March. When I read the blurb for the book, I was immediately intrigued by the concept and curious about the inspirations behind it. Suellen was kind enough to answer my questions in detail. This is just the third stop of the tour, so be sure to check out the other stops as well, you can find the schedule at the bottom of the post.

***

Let’s start with the basics. Who is Suellen Dainty?

Most importantly, I’m the mother of two children, both adults now but still children to me.

I used to be a television producer and journalist, but as the years rolled on, I became less interested in writing about what other people did and more interested in writing something for myself. Read More …

Amy Engel – The Roanoke Girls

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

Before I actually start this review and discuss Amy Engel’s The Roanoke Girls and my feelings about it, I want to give a content warning. Since it might be considered a spoiler, I’ve decided to put it in a footnote, so you can avoid it if you want.1 But in short, this book might be triggering to some, so Caveat Lector!  Read More …

Author Query – Claire North

Claire North has received huge accolades for her first two novels under that name — I say that name as it is an open secret that it is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb aka Kate Griffin — her third novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope was just released in paperback and her fourth novel The End of the Day is out this April. So no time like the present to have her over on A Fantastical Librarian for an Author Query. I very much enjoyed this interview and Claire’s answer for how she shelves her books is one of my favourite ones I’ve received yet. My next goal is my own book nook! I hope you enjoy the interview just as much as I did. And look for reviews of Claire’s books here on the blog in the near future.  Read More …

Emma Newman – After Atlas

Gov-corp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away, what made his father lose hope, what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do with why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realises that escaping the past isn’t so easy. There is more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realises…

Let’s not bury the lede here: Emma Newman’s After Atlas is brilliant, you should all read it and I nominated it for a Hugo. Done. Everyone can go about their day. Or you can read on and find out why I loved this book so much.  Read More …

Margrét Helgadóttir (ed.) – Asian Monsters

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don’t sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to reestablish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

Asian Monsters is the third in a coffee table book series from Fox Spirit Books with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world.

If myths and monster stories are universal and timeless, they are separated by place. Even if almost any civilisation has an overlap in the core nature of their monsters, each is rich in their variety often influenced by their environment. You can find dozens of iterations of vampiric entities and shape shifters, of the fey and the possessive. The one creature that appears across the globe in the same guise is the ghost. Be it a revenant, haunt, poltergeist or lingering spirit, be they malevolent or benign—ghosts are of all times and places. As such I found it striking that so many of the stories in Asian Monsters, edited by Margrét Helgadóttir, focused on these apparitions. If the monsters in African Monsters were largely bound by place, the monsters in this volume were bound by people.  Read More …

Margrét Helgadottir and Jo Thomas (eds) – African Monsters

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don’t sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to reestablish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

African Monsters is the second in a coffee table book series from Fox Spirit Books with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world.  Read More …

A.C. Wise – The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories

“Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you the Kissing Booth Girl! Lips that beguile. Oh, I promise, the nearest thing to nuzzling an angel can be yours—today!—for a shiny round Seated Liberty I know you carry in your very pockets as I speak.” But to mechanically-inclined Beni, is the ethereal girl who fell from the sky a wish come true or false hope for life beyond the confines of the odd carnival called home. Her story—as well as tales of an order of deep-sea diving nuns caring for a sunken chapel and a high school boy asked to prom by the only dead kid he’s ever met—can be found in A.C. Wise’s newest collection of the fantastical, the weird, the queer and the poignant.

Last year I read and reviewed A.C. Wise’s The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again and I loved it. It was fun, camp, and utterly delightful. So when Wise approached me about reviewing her latest collection, The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, I agreed with alacrity, as I was keen to read more of her work. And while this collection is perhaps less exuberant than the previous one, it is a deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking set of stories, which while spanning the breadth of the speculative genre in space and time, all deal with identity and agency.  Read More …

Jen Williams – The Ninth Rain

The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall…

Let’s not beat around the bush. I loved Jen Williams’ debut trilogy, the Copper Cat series, and I expected no less from her new series, The Winnowing Fire. And Williams delivered on that expectation in spades with this first book in the series, The Ninth Rain. I fell head over heels for Jen’s new main characters, especially the intrepid Lady Vincenza de Grazon. I did not know I needed Vintage in my life, but I really and truly did.  Read More …

Guest Post: Jen Williams – How Witches Taught Me to Write

Jen Williams is the author of the Copper Cat trilogy, which I absolutely loved to bits. So I was excited to learn that she had a new trilogy coming out called The Winnowing Fire, starting today with the publication of The Ninth Rain. I’ve already read it — look for a review tomorrow — and it is just as amazing as Williams’ previous novels. One thing all of Jen’s books have in common is the fact they all contain an abundance of fabulous women–from Wydrin,  Ephemeral, and Devinia in the Copper Cat books to Vintage and Noon in The Ninth Rain. I asked Jen about what influenced her writing of her heroines as she does and the following piece is her response. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and do check out The Ninth Rain available from all reputable booksellers as of today!

***  Read More …

Zak Zyz – Xan & Ink

Banished from their homeland, two disgraced brothers, a fanatical priest and an escaped slave who venture into the foreboding Kalparcimex, an uncharted jungle teeming with an incredible variety of wondrous and murderous insects. When the legendary ranger Xan refuses to help the adventurers on their quest for redemption, they enter into an ill-advised pact with Ink, a cursed sorceress who stains everything she touches. Caught in the conflict between the two powerful figures, the four banished heroes must confront their darkest desires to escape the Kalparcimex!

Zak Zyz’s second novel Xan & Ink is a tough one for me to review. While I enjoyed the story and the characters, there were elements that greatly bothered me—and no, it wasn’t the armada of creepy-crawlies that inhabited the Kalparcimex. To be able to discuss these things though, I will by necessity spoil some things, so if you do not want to be spoiled this is your warning. Also, I’ll add in a trigger warning for rape as well, both for the book and my review.  Read More …