Tag: Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire Review

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)Title: Rosemary and Rue
 
Author: Seanan McGuire
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
 
Series: October Daye #1
 
Goodreads Rating: 3.75/5
 
 

Synopsis: October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

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

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance
 

What I thought about the book:

This series is based on fairies such as the Tuatha Dé Danann (the narrator pronounced Tuatha as “tootha” and drove me crazy!!!!) which I grew up with and just loved having them feature in modern adult stories.

Toby (October) is a fae halfling or changeling who works as a knight and has to constantly prove her worth and strength to full-blooded fae. The ongoing plot of the series centres around her life in this position, she has many experiences and undergoes many changes.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day – Seanan McGuire Review

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or DayTitle: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Paranormal

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 3.83/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately, Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline.

But something has come for the ghosts of New York, something beyond reason, beyond death, beyond hope; something that can bind ghosts to mirrors and make them do its bidding. Only Jenna stands in its way.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: Loved this!!! Can Seanan McGuire do any wrong?! Her books are so good! I just wish there was more of this world to come. It was so interesting and had a fair amount of world-building despite its length and the fact that it’s standalone.

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My Rating: ★★★★★

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

5 Books I Loved This Year (so far)

I kind of think of summer as reading season. It seems like everyone suddenly wants books to read for their holidays or to keep them occupied during all the extra time they plan on spending outdoors in the sun. So everyone is looking for a good book to read and to help you narrow down the list of possibilities here are the 5 books I loved this year. It’s not a list of books released this year, just ones that I read and really enjoyed.

5 books I loved this year summer reading recommendations


UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

Fantasy, published May 2015

This wonderful book centres on a village close to an (evil) enchanted wood that is protected from said wood by a wizard known as The Dragon (are you feeling all excited for the fairytale magic yet?). Every 10 years he visits the village and takes a girl back with him to his castle. No one in the village knows what he does with the girls just that when they return after the 10 years they are different and never stay in the village. This year he takes Agnie despite everyone believing he will take her more beautiful and skilled best friend, Kasia. But Agnie does something at the Choosing Ceremony that makes him feel he must take her.

Based on that much you’re probably expecting a Beauty and the Beast style fairytale romance but you ain’t getting it!

That wood I mentioned at the beginning is the real centre of this story. Its power is growing and it wants to consume as much of its surroundings as possible. Including people! There are creatures living inside it that torment and steal villagers from all areas around the wood. It separates one province from another and attempts to incite war between them which Agnie and the Dragon try to prevent. If you like magic and fantastical battles then this one is for you.

Asking For ItAsking For It by Louise O’Neill

Contemporary, published September 2015 Trigger warning for rape

This book follows Emma O’Donovan, an 18-year old girl from a small town in Ireland, who goes to a house party one night with her friends where something disgustingly awful happens to her. The book is more about how the characters deal with this event than the actual event itself.

One of the more interesting aspects of this novel is how unlikeable all of the characters are. Especially Emma herself who is very concerned with status, her looks and how they affect people. The only character that may be a bit likeable is her neighbour and childhood friend Conner though he annoys me a bit as well because he’s very interested in her romantically and is often telling her she’s beautiful. He’s focusing on her in a romantic physical way which is not something that helps her. But I guess he can’t help how he feels and other than that he’s a good guy.

RELATED: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill Full Review

Anyway, after this party, Emma is found by her parents dumped in front of their home her clothes askew, her underwear missing and burning in the sun. She has no memory of what happened to her but she soon finds out because a Facebook page titled Easy Emma reveals all. The page features photographs of her seemingly unconscious and 3 boys performing various acts to her. Many people are commenting on them, some of them people Emma knows, and what they’re saying is not good. A lot of them seem to be of the mind that these boys are just treating her they should be treated.

Suddenly everyone is against her and she tries to make it all go away (she doesn’t remember any of it after all) but it becomes too big. She ends up pursuing it legally. The book doesn’t follow the case exactly, it focuses on the emotional upheaval and strain on Emma and her family. It’s about how this act affects people and how they react to it happening to someone they know and by someone they know. How rape is so bad people try to pretend it doesn’t exist. How boys they know aren’t like that so the girl must be lying and afraid of being thought of as slutty. And if they can see her as a slut then it doesn’t matter what’s done to her. She’s just some slut.

The story is very emotional and hard-hitting but it’s an extremely important one that I hope will reach people far and wide.

I saw the play version last week in Cork and it was utterly amazing. The production was fantastic, they did a great job adapting it. It will be showing at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin soon, I highly recommend going if you can.

Mom & Me & MomMom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

Memoir, published April 2013

I listened to an audiobook of this read by Maya Angelou, the best way to read a memoir in my opinion. (Check out John Cleese’s audio memoir as well it’s very funny)

In this memoir, Angelou explores her relationship with her mother which was pretty non-existent in the early years of her life but grew into something resilient and empowering later.

Her mother was essentially a stranger to her as a child, she chose to call her Lady instead of Mom which says a lot about the distance she felt. It also shows how she saw her as no ordinary woman but as someone to look up to, someone refined and feminine but still in charge.

This book really shows how love grows between people and how it makes us stronger.

Ride the Storm (Cassandra Palmer, #8)Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

Urban Fantasy, published August 2017 (part of a series)

This is the 8th book in the Cassie Palmer series, Touch the Dark is book 1.

I can’t go into too much detail about this one without spoiling the whole series since it’s a series full of cliffhangers (but lucky you, all the books are out so you don’t have to wait) and has an ongoing plot. The series follows Cassie Palmer, a clairvoyant who was raised by a gangster vampire after the death of her parents. She’s on the run from that vampire when she’s thrust into the position of Pythia, the supernatural world’s chief seer because it suits certain people to have someone they perceive as pliable in the position. She ends up the target of several factions, good and bad, and of some extremely powerful ancient beings.

RELATED: Reader Problems Tag

The series is mostly based around Greek mythology with some of the more popular supernatural beasties thrown in for good measure. As opposed to a lot of urban fantasy, the individual books don’t really follow the monster-of-the-week formula but do have their own stories. There’s a larger plot that the entire series follows but it can be broken down into two main storylines that are 4 books each.

Chance knows how to create a story that grabs attention so this series is perfect if you want several books to binge read in the sunshine.

An Artificial Night (October Daye, #3)An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

Urban Fantasy, published September 2010 (part of a series)

This one is 3rd in the October Daye series but follows the monster-of-the-week style. Rosemary and Rue is book 1. There is, of course, a larger plot throughout but it isn’t really necessary to enjoy the book (I do recommend reading the whole series though it’s brilliant!). This formula is still very enjoyable to read cause it doesn’t leave you chewing at the bit for the next book (I don’t mind cliffhangers as long as I don’t have to wait years for the next book).

This series is based on fairies such as the Tuatha Dé Danann (the narrator pronounced Tuatha as “tootha” and drove me crazy!!!!) which I grew up with and just loved having them feature in modern adult stories.

Toby (October) is a fae halfling or changling who works as a knight and has to constantly prove her worth and strength to full-blooded fae. The ongoing plot of the series centers around her life in this position, she has many experiences and undergoes many changes.

This book focuses on The Wild Hunt which has been taking children, human and fae, to its realm to convert them to beings possible of joining the Hunt. They take some children connected to Toby and she chases after them to get them back.

McGuire is amazing at writing urban fantasy that is full of all the magic and action you expect but also fills it with real human emotion that is completely relatable despite the events being so fantastical.

There are moments in this book where Toby feels isolated and frightened that really resonated with me.


I’ve read around 50 books so far this year but choosing these 5 was actually pretty easy, I loved them that much! I’m off to continue rereading Reap The Wind as part of Jazzy June in the sunshine now. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

What books have you read this year that stand out from all the rest? What are you planning on reading this summer?

March Wrap Up

So I read a fair bit this month and some pretty good books too. I kind of got a bit obsessed with a series I started reading last month. I wasn’t very impressed with it then but after reading the second book this month I was hooked!

Tempt the Stars (Cassandra Palmer, #6)Wild Fire (Leopard People, #4)A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2)SaloméShe Stoops to ConquerAn Artificial Night (October Daye, #3)Late Eclipses (October Daye, #4)One Salt Sea (October Daye, #5)Mammy Walsh's A-Z of the Walsh Family (Walsh Family, #6)Herding Cats (Sarah's Scribbles, #3)Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6)Tall, Dark & Hungry (Argeneau #4)Asking For It

Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance book photography Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance

The 6th book in the Cassie Palmer series. Love it though not as much as previous books. Maybe 4.5 stars. I felt like some of the action scenes were a bit lengthy and the lack of Pritkin annoyed me 😉 Love the introduction of witches and the Pythian court.

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A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire book photography A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

I read the first book in the October Daye series in February and, honestly, couldn’t see why everyone loves the series so much. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator pronounced Irish words wrong and has a terrible Irish accent. At least I think it’s meant to be Irish… Anyway, I was much more impressed with the next book and every book that followed. The narrator is still pronouncing Tuath de Dannan wrong and her Irish accent is still useless but I don’t care. The series follows October Daye, a fae halfling who has returned to fae society after a 15-year gap as a mystery-solving knight.

Tall, Dark and Hungry by Lynsay Sands book photography Tall, Dark & Hungry by Lynsay Sands

A total fluffy read. Great for reading after something heavy or when you’re feeling stressed out. It’s a straightforward vampire romance.

Asking for It by Louise O'Neill Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Amazing book. So haunting. I have a feeling it will stay with me forever. You can read my full review of this book here.

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Coconut Milk Scones & Down Among the Sticks and Bones

A very quick and easy recipe for today’s recipe and another quick read. This is the second book in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. You can read my recipe and review for the first book, Every Heart a Doorway, here.


31450908Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
 
Author: Seanan McGuire
 
Genre: Fantasy
 
Series: Wayward Children #2
 
Goodreads Rating: 4.24/5
 
 

Synopsis: Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretence of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

 
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What I thought about the book: Absolutely loved this one!! So refreshing to have creepy evil vampires in YA.
Can’t wait for the next book.
 
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My Rating: 
5 paws
Get the book: Amazon / Book Depository

Coconut Milk Scones

Coconut Milk SconesCan’t beat an auld scone and cup of cha. I’ve made a few different dairy free scones but these ones are probably the nicest followed closely by coconut oil ones I made not so long ago. They’re really quick and easy to make as well.

Dairy free scones

What you need…..

  • 200g Coconut Milk
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Power
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped Dates

Preheat your oven to 200c. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl. Add the chopped dates and mix. Stir in the coconut milk careful not to mix it up too much or you’ll toughen the dough. Roll it out on a floured surface to about an inch thick and cut into 8 scones using a cutter, mug or cut them into triangles with a knife. Bake in the oven for about 20mins.

coconut milk scone with datesEnjoy x