Friday, October 30, 2020

Nancy Drew

If last fall, after I'd watched a few episodes of the "dark reboot" of Nancy Drew, you'd tell me it would end up being my favorite adaptation of the year I would have laughed at you. Yes, I admit I'm all about the "dark reboot" having devoured the first season of Riverdale over a harsh weekend in 2017, but a dark Nancy Drew? Sure I was interested, but not sure I'd be hooked. I viewed it as a nice Wednesday night paring with Riverdale. But as Riverdale's quality continued to tank I looked more and more at Nancy Drew to be my Wednesday fix to get me through the rest of the week. Though I do applaud Riverdale for the nice twist of fate in that they were doing their own Hardy Boys tribute with this season's Baxter Brothers. A coincidence? Hell no. Do I care? Not as long as it entertained me. So what changed? What made me push aside an old favorite and choose a mildly diverting show about the residents of Horseshoe Bay, Maine, and the recent high school grads working at The Bayside Claw, a perennially failing restaurant? Much like Perry Mason, this isn't your parent's Nancy Drew, but I think that's why it works. And aside from the fact that it grows on you, I loved that the mysteries they tackled each week made all the characters personally involved. Their history, their backstory, their past relationships, everything tied into the narrative to make this bay side community rife with crime and more importantly the supernatural. The fact that the supernatural is real here still makes me giddy. It's not just hinted at or intimated, ghosts are REAL! And I love me some ghosts and ghouls. What's more, Nancy is being haunted by the ghost of Dead Lucy, the local urban legend which is very much based in truth and very much important to Nancy's backstory. Yet, my favorite character, hand's down, is George's mother, Victoria Fan, played by Liza Lapira. George was Nancy's former nemesis and now boss and George's mother knows everything there is to know about the supernatural. She's usually drunk and hostile because she's trying to shut herself off from the supernatural goings-on, but when she strolls into the Claw, you know it's going to be a kick ass episode. I would watch a show just about her! Until that day I at least have Nancy Drew.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

I Am Not Okay With This

Earlier this year when I Am Not Okay With This debuted I admit I was suffering superhero fatigue. I mean, seriously, why do we need so many films and shows churning out the same story over and over again? So a story about a young girl, Sydney Novak, dealing with sudden powers did not feel like something I wanted to watch. Again. Enter my book club, and the fact that almost every single member started harassing me to watch this superhero origin story. I think they might have even threatened me, which I of course forgave as soon as I watched the show. I Am Not Okay With This reinvents the superhero origin story for those with superhero fatigue. It's a coming of age tale that just happens to have supernatural elements. I have since become a spokesperson for this show demanding everyone I know to watch it. The way I catch them is by saying it's as if John Hughes and David Lynch decided to make a show together. Because that is seriously the vibe. The teen angst, the music, the mysteries, the full out Carrie dance! What makes it even more special is that it's about not just Sydney struggling with her new powers, it's her struggling with who she is, and in particular her sexual orientation as she realizes she has feelings for her best friend Dina. This show is just unabashedly fun and inclusive and wonderful and Netflix I am still BEYOND pissed with you for cancelling this delightful series. Yes, I have the graphic novel to still read, but that isn't enough. I want more teen angst, I want to know who that stranger at the end offering to help Sydney was, and most importantly, I want more Stanley Barber. Stanley Barber has entered my pantheon of great geeky boys. He joins such luminaries as Duckie and Bill Haverchuck. Keep on being you Stanley. Keep on being you.   

Monday, October 26, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
Published by: Subterranean Press
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Thorne Manor has always been haunted...and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt's house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past."

A Gothic timeslip in a beautiful edition by Subterranean Press! 

Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 208 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life.

When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she is sure that the mysterious item must contain some kind of enchantment. So she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. And as they watch, he comes back to life - not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.

This magic is more powerful than any Catherine has ever encountered, and revealing it brings dangerous enemies. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death - for all of them."

Is it wrong I'm just as interested in Catherine working in a print shop as her being a necromancer?

The Magpie Society by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch
Published by: Penguin
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Kindle, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Seven for a secret, never to be told...

Illumen Hall is a boarding school of tradition and achievement.

But tragedy strikes when the body of a girl, a student, is discovered - on her back is an elaborate tattoo of a magpie.

For new student Audrey, it is just another strange and unsettling thing about her new surroundings. And for her roommate Ivy, well, she's just annoyed she has to share with the new girl from America.

As an unlikely friendship develops, the two are drawn deeper into the mystery of this strange and terrible murder. They will discover that something dangerous is at the heart of their school.

Welcome to The Magpie Society.

Told from two alternating view-points, this is the first book in a modern gothic thriller series that will have you gripped like no other book this year. Get ready for your new YA obsession..."

GOTHIC!!! 

The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 400 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A shocking murder in an affluent Helsinki suburb has ties to witchcraft and the occult in this thrilling U.S. debut from Finnish author Max Seeck.

A bestselling author’s wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of an empty dining table. Her most chilling feature - her face is frozen in a ghastly smile.

At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from the Witch Hunt trilogy, bestsellers written by the victim’s husband. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she’s not looking for a single killer but rather for dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft who know her every move and are always one step ahead.

As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won’t stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim."

I'm all about hints of the occult in my killings!

Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg
Published by: 47north
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A world of enchanted injustice needs a disenchanting woman in an all-new fantasy series by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

The orphaned Elsie Camden learned as a girl that there were two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like her, born with the ability to break them. But as an unlicensed magic user, her gift is a crime. Commissioned by an underground group known as the Cowls, Elsie uses her spellbreaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. She always did love the tale of Robin Hood.

Elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey is one elusive spell away from his mastership when he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment. To protect her secret, Elsie strikes a bargain. She'll help Bacchus fix unruly spells around his estate if he doesn't turn her in. Working together, Elsie's trust in - and fondness for - the handsome stranger grows. So does her trepidation about the rise in the murders of wizards and the theft of the spellbooks their bodies leave behind.

For a rogue spellbreaker like Elsie, there's so much to learn about her powers, her family, the intriguing Bacchus, and the untold dangers shadowing every step of a journey she's destined to complete. But will she uncover the mystery before it's too late to save everything she loves?"

Magic and murders? YAS!

The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
Published by: Anansi International
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 120 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Since its publication in 2017, The Lost Words has enchanted readers with its poetry and illustrations of the natural world. Now, The Lost Spells, a book kindred in spirit and tone, continues to re-wild the lives of children and adults.

The Lost Spells evokes the wonder of everyday nature, conjuring up red foxes, birch trees, jackdaws, and more in poems and illustrations that flow between the pages and into readers' minds. Robert Macfarlane's spell-poems and Jackie Morris's watercolour illustrations are musical and magical: these are summoning spells, words of recollection, charms of protection. To read The Lost Spells is to see anew the natural world within our grasp and to be reminded of what happens when we allow it to slip away."

I've had a signed copy of this book ordered for what seems like forever now!

The Key to Tarot by A.E. White
Published by: Rider
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 176 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"First published in 1910, The Key to the Tarot is the essential guide to unlocking the secrets of tarot from the legendary creator of the Rider Waite Tarot Deck and renowned scholar of occultism, A. E. Waite. This practical book explains the history and symbolism of the tarot deck as well as providing a step-by-step guide to using the cards for divination practices. From mapping out your next career move to discovering your true passion in life, this is your key to harnessing the power of the tarot."

I have the deck and a friend of mine keeps saying I'd be good at this, perhaps I should give it a go?

Outlander Knitting by Kate Atherley
Published by: Clarkson Potter
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 192 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Feel the magic of Outlander at your fingertips with this officially licensed book of knitting: twenty patterns inspired by the hit series from STARZ and Sony Pictures Television, based on Diana Gabaldon's bestselling novels.

From the Scottish Highlands to the courts of Versailles to the eastern shores of North America, the TV show Outlander brings to life in gorgeous detail the epic love story of Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser. But beyond the drama and passion, what has captured fans’ imagination the most are the rustic knits worn on the show.

Now knitters of all skill levels can recreate them with twenty projects for apparel, accessories, and home décor that take inspiration from memorable episodes. Knit the capelet cowl that Mrs. Fitz gives to Claire at Castle Leoch, warm your feet with Clan Mackenzie Boot Socks, swaddle your bairn with the Mo Chridhe Baby Blanket, and dress your Jamie in a warm waistcoat. From chunky knits to Celtic cables, each project includes a clearly written pattern, gorgeous photography, and scenes from the set.

A love letter to the fans, Outlander Knitting will have you wishing you could time travel to the Highlands."

People think I'm joking when I say I watch Outlander for the knitwear. I'm totally serious.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O'Neill
Published by: Oni Press
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 128 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng's care, Greta still can't chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth."

My addiction to this series is such that I now have Tea Dragons...

Sue and Tai-chan by Konami Kanata
Published by: Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Paperback
To Buy

The official patter:
"The adorable new odd-couple cat comedy manga from the creator of the beloved Chi's Sweet Home and Chi's Sweet Adventures, in full color and formatted for English readers, just like Chi!

Sue is an aging housecat who's looking forward to living out her life in peace...but her plans change when the mischievous black tomcat Tai-chan enters the picture! Hey! Sue never signed up to be a catsitter! Sue and Tai-chan is the latest from the reigning meow-narch of cute kitty comics, Kanata Konami."

More cats from Konami Kanata!!!

Vagrant Queen by Magdalene Visaggio and Jason Smith
Published by: Vault Comics
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 144 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Get ready - Vagrant Queen is BACK! Elida Al-feyr has finally managed to build a happy life...until a mysterious man in an ancient white ship shows up and takes it all away. And hey, where the hell is Isaac?"

If you're still pissed the show was cancelled... 

Little Bones by N.V. Peacock
Published by: Subterranean Press
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones...
My father was Mr Bones - the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago.
As a child I witnessed his crimes.
Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free.
Until that podcast. I should never have listened.
They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past.
They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again.
They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim.
You believe me, don’t you?"

A legacy of murder and an unreliable narrator, a perfect Halloween read!

Friday, October 23, 2020

You

Back in 2018 when I first heard about You I was instantly hooked by the idea that Dan Humphrey had finally reached the pinnacle of his evolution. He was nothing more than a stalker on Gossip Girl, so to actually end up killing the object of his affection, well, that was logical wasn't it? I applaud Penn Badgley for being willing to not just rewrite the history of what made him a teenage heartthrob, but to lean into the creepier aspects of Dan to become Joe. Season one of You was a powerhouse of stalking and bookish New York with Joe's bookstore and Beck's delusions of being an author, just throw in a rare L. Frank Baum book and a Salinger, and the book geek in me was as obsessed with this show as Joe was with Beck. Therefore I was a little hesitant as to how I'd like season two. Joe was being yanked out of his New York intelligentsia bubble and being transplanted in Los Angeles, the least Joe place I can think of. And yet... it worked. It REALLY worked. Joe meant to kept his head down and just survive and here he is being drawn into the world of Love Quinn and her co-dependent brother Forty. The stalking of Love is on a much more equal footing than with Beck. She herself has dark secrets and a past and somehow like calls to like and you find yourself rooting for these two crazy people to succeed. At the same time as this there's a part of Joe trying to be a social justice warrior. We saw this in season one with his care of the neighbor kid Paco and here he embraces his landlord's little sister Ellie. Because of these he gets pulled into the world of comedian and friend of Forty, Henderson, who is just as creepy on screen as off. So in barely no time at all Joe has forged new connections and a new life for himself, this time with people who are willing to back up his murderous inclinations. But we know that a happily ever after couldn't be on the cards for a killer... so the story continues and who knows who will be his next obsession. Could it be you?    

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Belgravia

Ah Belgravia, Julian Fellowes's followup to Downton Abbey. So it's a neighborhood and not a house, that didn't make me any less interested. In fact, because of being exposed to Upstairs Downstairs at a young age I think setting the series in the newly built neighborhood of Belgravia made me even more excited to watch it, for years it was my dream address after all. What really struck me about this series is it was what Fellowes is known for but on a condensed scale. Six episodes for all the ups and downs, all the betrayals and misunderstandings. Only six episodes to make you fall for characters you were indifferent to in the first episode and make you pity those you despised at the start when the end credits rolled. And he did it all! All the beats, all the ups and downs, this is Regency and Early Victorian Downton Abbey! I think what really made it work was perfect casting. Philip Glenister, Tamsin Greig, Saskia Reeves, Bronagh Gallagher, Harriet Walter, Tom Wilkinson, James Fleet, Tara Fitzgerald, and Nicholas Rowe! What a cast! But there were two standouts, Tamsin Greig as Anne Trenchard and Alice Eve as Anne's daughter-in-law Susan. Alice Eve surprised me because I really have never thought she could act until now. Tamsin Greig surprised me because I know her as a comedic actress and here she brought the drama! As a mother who lost her daughter and gave up her daughter's child to be raised by someone else, her pain is palpable. Then when she decides to bare her soul to that child's other grandparent, Harriet Walter as Caroline Bellasis, Countess of Brockenhurst, because she knows the pain of losing a child, well, so many tears. But there was also so much humor arising out of gamesmanship and one-upping in social circles. Seriously, this series has it all, heart and humor. I think it got overshadowed by Fellowes's previous fame and the chaotic state of the world, but if you need a good period drama that will make you feel all warm and cozy inside, look no further than Belgravia.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

Shirley Jackson: Four Novels of the 1940s and 1950s by Shirley Jackson
Published by: Library of America
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 850 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the author of The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, four classic novels of subtle psychological horror.

Shirley Jackson - the beloved author of The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle - is more and more being recognized as one of the finest writers of the American gothic tradition, a true heir of Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James. Now, Jackson's award-winning biographer Ruth Franklin gathers the subtle, chilling, hypnotic novels with which she began her unique career. Her haunting debut tale The Road Through the Wall (1948) explores the secret desires, petty hatreds, and ultimate terrors that lurk beneath the picture-perfect domesticities of a suburban California neighborhood. In Hangsaman (1951) - inspired by the real-life disappearance of a Bennington College sophomore - the precocious but lonely Natalie Waite grows increasingly dependent on an imaginary friend. The Bird's Nest (1954) has not one but four protagonists: the shy, demure young Elizabeth and, revealed with a series of surprising twists, her other, multiple personalities. At the beginning of The Sundial (1958), the eccentric Halloran clan, gathered at the family manse for a funeral, becomes convinced that the world is about to end and that only those who remain in the house shall be saved. In what is perhaps her most unsettling novel, Jackson follows their crazed, violent preparations for the afterlife. Here is the perfect companion to Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories, Library of America's edition of Jackson's landmark story collection, The Lottery, and her brilliant late novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle."

Since their first collection I have been desperate for Library of America to FINALLY release another volume of Shirley Jackson's work, and now it's here at last!

Dying is Easy by Joe Hill and Martin Simmonds
Published by: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 128 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Comedy is hard...but dying is easy! From New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill (Locke and Key) comes this new graphic novel mystery.

Meet Syd "Sh*t-Talk" Homes, a disgraced ex-cop turned bitter stand-up comic turned... possible felon? Carl Dixon is on the verge of comedy superstardom and he got there the dirty way: by stealing jokes. He's got a killer act, an ugly past, and more enemies than punchlines. So when someone asks Syd Homes how much it would cost to have Dixon killed, Syd isn't surprised in the slightest. But, once he's accused, he's on the run and it's going to take all of his investigative chops to suss out the real killer before he gets caught.

This crime thriller by writer Joe Hill and artist Martin Simmonds follows in the tradition of fair-play mysteries inviting readers to solve the murder before Syd does!"

It's the year and particularly the month of Joe Hill, so need some more, here you go!

Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
""Reading a perfectly plotted Agatha Christie is like crunching into a perfect apple: that pure, crisp, absolute satisfaction.”  - Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of the Dublin Murder Squad novels.

An all-new collection of winter-themed stories from the Queen of Mystery, just in time for the holidays - including the original version of “Christmas Adventure,” never before released in the United States!

There’s a chill in the air and the days are growing shorter...It’s the perfect time to curl up in front of a crackling fire with these wintry whodunits from the legendary Agatha Christie. But beware of deadly snowdrifts and dangerous gifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests. This chilling compendium of short stories - some featuring beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple - is an essential omnibus for Christie fans and the perfect holiday gift for mystery lovers."

There's nothing that says winter to me like a good murder mystery and nothing is better than tales hand picked for the occasion! 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Published by: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 8368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A dazzling new edition of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, fully illustrated in brilliant color and featuring exclusive interactive paper craft elements, including a foldout Hogwarts letter and more!

In this stunning new edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, experience the story as never before. J.K. Rowling's complete and unabridged text is accompanied by full-color illustrations on nearly every page and eight exclusive, interactive paper craft elements: Readers will open Harry's Hogwarts letter, reveal the magical entryway to Diagon Alley, make a sumptuous feast appear in the Great Hall, and more.

Designed and illustrated by award-winning design studio MinaLima - best known for establishing the visual graphic style of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films - this edition is sure to be a keepsake for Harry Potter fans, a beautiful addition to any collector's bookshelf, and an enchanting way to introduce the first book in this beloved series to a new generation of readers."

While I have issues with the Harry Potter adaptations with regard to certain narrative choices, the visual look never fails to impress me and hence this book is high on my list of things I'm looking forward to this fall. MinaLima, the design team behind the films brings us this lavishly illustrated edition of Harry's first adventure.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Published by: Crown
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges - how to get relative with the inevitable - you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.

Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It’s a love letter. To life.

It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights - and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck."

If there's anyone out there that seems to be thriving and putting out positivity during this pandemic it's Matthew McConaughey, and I am here for it!

Friday, October 16, 2020

His Dark Materials

Back in 2017 when Philip Pullman released Volume One of The Book of Dust, La Belle Sauvage, I did a deep dive into the world of His Dark Materials, re-reading all the classics and hunting down all the short stories I had missed. I even went so far as the re-watch the much maligned film. It was nowhere near as bad as I remembered, but nowhere near what these beloved books deserved, especially that sanitized ending. Therefore I was looking forward to this series with bated breath. Obviously it had to be better! On the one hand they had the time to fully explore the world, on the other hand, television series don't get the budgets of blockbusters, especially when there had been a previous and costly prior attempt. Still, the casting made my heart jump, Ruth Wilson!?! Ruth 'Alice' Wilson as Mrs. Coulter!?! That right there was enough. They could mess up everything else but I was spared the most complicated character being given to someone not up to the challenge. While this adaptation as a whole wasn't perfect, I think it was as close to perfect as we're ever going to get. The three main points of contention are the expansion of the roles of the adults, the daemon problem, and the introduction of plot points from The Subtle Knife. Well, more Ruth Wilson just made me happy and made me finally understand Mrs. Coulter, and this was done to deepen the world as well as to get around how many hours child actors can work. The daemon problem, well, yes, I understand that there is a problem, but I think it was the explanation versus the execution. Daemons needed to be better explained as our other halves versus more camera time, because I don't think we will ever get to a point where we'll have realistic CGI animals. The final issue I will fight you tooth and claw over. The Subtle Knife has plot points that take place concurrently with The Golden Compass, so one, it made sense to include them in season one because then we don't have half a season with no Lyra, and two, the big reveal of Lord Boreal and Sir Charles Latrom being the same person doesn't work in television! You'd go, hey, that's the same actor in five seconds. So it was a logical change. Plus, it made me more invested in Will from the start. What I do find entertaining though is that not one review mentioned the one major gripe I had, which was there just wasn't enough snow!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Stargirl

There's nothing nicer than a pleasant surprise and that's exactly what Stargirl turned out to be. Ever since the end of Smallville I haven't been a fan of the direction all the DC series have taken on the CW. I swear I tried to like them, but after I think only three episodes of Arrow I was done. That was it with me and DC. I declared myself a Marvel girl and moved on. That is until this most recent "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Yes, they lured me back in with bringing back Tom Welling! Damn you CW! But add to that Brandon Routh returning as Superman, Wil Wheaton as a doomsday protestor, Russell Tovey, Kevin Conroy as the bleakest Batman you could imagine, Ezra Miller, and Lucifer Morningstar himself, Tom Ellis, and I couldn't NOT watch! While the cameos were fantastic, the episodes were lackluster, reinforcing my opinion of the DC universe on the CW. Yet the Crisis Aftermath show hosted by Kevin Smith dissecting the episodes and seriously geeking out were wonderful. It was during this that I first heard of Stargirl. Geoff Johns, the creator of Stargirl, was on discussing his work on everything DC from Smallville to Doom Patrol. I was interested because he talked about how he turned a personal tragedy, the death of his sister Courtney on TWA Flight 800, into creating a new brand of superhero with Courtney Whitmore, AKA Stargirl. Now this could be something I could get into I said to myself. He might have also mentioned Luke Wilson... I'm hazy on that part. Mmm, Luke Wilson. Anyway when the show came around my DVR was ready and yet it took me a few weeks to finally bite the bullet. What if the CW let me down, again? Then oddly my rewatching of Upstairs, Downstairs forced my hand, how could I resist the chauffeur becoming the villain? I was delightfully surprised. This show reminds me of Smallville at it's best. It's earnest without being cloying. It's dark without being bleak. It's a light in the darkness that we're all facing right now. Even if I'm a little shaken that I'm now the age of the parents on this type of show, Stargirl is a show I'm very glad will be coming back to the small screen with a second season and MORE Joel McHale! Joel's the original Starman, FYI.        

Monday, October 12, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
Published by: Erewhon
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the beloved World Fantasy Award-winning author of Witchmark comes a sweeping, romantic new fantasy set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, where women’s magic is taken from them when they marry. A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family.

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss...with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries - even for love - she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?"

Could it be? Dare I hope? A new Regency Magic book!?!

Serpentine by Philip Pullman
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 80 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"This companion to His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust offers a tantalizing new glimpse of Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon.

The world-changing events of The Amber Spyglass are behind them, and Lyra and Pan find themselves utterly changed as well. In Serpentine, they journey to the far North once more, hoping to ask the Consul of Witches a most urgent question.

This brand-new story, a beguiling must-read for Pullman fans old and new, is a perfect companion to His Dark Materials and a fascinating bridge to The Book of Dust."

Just when I was thinking, how will I get through the fall without a new Philip Pullman book...

The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra by Adam Cesare
Published by: Insight Editions
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 168 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Discover the wild and wonderful creatures of Thra in this guide to the flora and fauna of the Dark Crystal universe featuring remarkable original illustrations.

In a world where rocks talk and trees dispense wisdom from across the ages, anything is possible. The Dark Crystal Bestiary is a comprehensive volume that catalogs the many lifeforms of Thra’s unique ecosystem. Drawing from all aspects of the Dark Crystal saga’s universe, this book is visually dazzling and filled with enthralling information about all of Thra’s lifeforms, making it the definitive guide to a world of wonders.

• Own the most comprehensive guide to the Dark Crystal universe: This book showcases fauna from all corners of Thra, from the vile Skeksis and their noble counterparts, the Mystics, to a whole cornucopia of amazing creatures and critters, including Landstriders, Garthim, Peeper Beetles, Fizzgigs, Pluff’m, and many more fan favorites.

• Over 200 fantasy illustrations: Featuring all-new illustrations by Iris Compiet, a protégé of the original Dark Crystal concept artist, Brian Froud, this book will show you the world of Thra as you’ve never seen it before.

• Learn about the world of Thra: The Dark Crystal Bestiary is packed with lore, drawing information from the original film, the hit Netflix show The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, comic books, and novels.

• An epic addition to your home library: Great for fantasy lovers, The Dark Crystal Bestiary will be a perfect addition to your bookshelf or coffee table."

My love for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance can not be put into words, hence this lovely book of pictures! 

Cinder and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A suspenseful tale of witches, family, and magic from internationally bestselling author Stefan Bachmann. When a twelve-year-old orphan unexpectedly becomes the mistress of a seemingly abandoned castle, she is thrust into a mysterious plot involving murderous spells, false identity, and a magical battle of wills between the living and the dead. Readers of Kate Milford's Greenglass House, Victoria Schwab's City of Ghosts, and Diana Wynne Jones will be riveted.

Twelve-year-old Zita, an orphan and a housemaid, has resigned herself to a life of drudgery when a strange letter arrives, naming her the only living heir to the Brydgeborn fortune. Now the mistress of the castle, Zita soon realizes foul play led to the death of her family. And as she is guided through lessons in the art of witchcraft by the somewhat mysterious Mrs. Cantanker, Zita begins to wonder who is friend and who is foe.

Unforgettable and utterly enchanting, this stand-alone tale about family, belonging, and friendship will bewitch readers of Tahereh Mafi’s Whichwood, Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces, and Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Cinders and Sparrows is a magical page-turner by the author of The Peculiar, the acclaimed international bestseller."

Even without that stellar blurb, you get your cover designed by the Balbusso sisters, you are going to get your book bought by me.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Published by: Redhook
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 528 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in a Hugo award-winning author's powerful novel of magic amid the suffragette movement.

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters - James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna - join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote - and perhaps not even to live - the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

For more from Alix E. Harrow, check out The Ten Thousand Doors of January."

October screams witches! And with the election ever looming, a little suffrage is a good thing!

The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins
Published by: Candlewick
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 208 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A riveting middle-grade fantasy about sibling bonds, enchanted houses, and encroaching wildness, lyrically told in eerily beautiful prose.

The grass grew taller than the house itself, surrounding it on all sides. It stuffed the keyholes and scraped against the roof. It shook the walls and made paintings shiver.

Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. “Wait for us,” the note read. “Sleep darkly.” Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine - feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company - while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game: Think of an animal, think of a place. Think of a person, think of a face. Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel. With luscious, vivid prose, poet and author Hayley Chewins transports readers to a house where beloved little dogs crawl into their owners’ minds to sleep, sick girls turn silver, and anything can be stolen - even laughter and silence."

A timely tale told lyrically.

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe
Published by: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In her debut novel A Golden Fury, Samantha Cohoe weaves a story of magic and danger, where the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone - whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold - but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of a revolution looming, Thea is sent to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse - instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die."

You said Philosopher's Stone? I'm in! 

Winter White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore
Published by: Amulet Books
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Mad Max: Fury Road meets Frozen in this striking YA fantasy about a rig driver’s journey to save her friend.

Twice-orphaned Sylvi has chipped out a niche for herself on Layce, an island cursed by eternal winter. Alone in her truck, she takes comfort in two things: the solitude of the roads and the favor of Winter, an icy spirit who has protected her since she was a child.

Sylvi likes the road, where no one asks who her parents were or what she thinks of the rebels in the north. But when her best friend, Lenore, runs off with the rebels, Sylvi must make a haul too late in the season for a smuggler she wouldn’t normally work with, the infamous Mars Dresden. Alongside his team - Hyla, a giant warrior woman and Kyn, a boy with skin like stone - Sylvi will do whatever it takes to save her friend.

But when the time comes, she’ll have to choose: safety, anonymity, and the favor of Winter - or the future of the island that she calls home."

I'd also add a little Ice Road Truckers to the mix...

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
Published by: Atria Books
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The author of the “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) The Family Upstairs returns with another taut and white-knuckled thriller following a group of people whose lives shockingly intersect when a young woman disappears.

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.

In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a computer science teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel - involuntary celibate - forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears - and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

With evocative, vivid, and unputdownable prose and plenty of disturbing twists and turns, Jewell’s latest thriller is another “haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author)."

Let's get all deep and psychologically twisted OK? 

A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
Published by: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
""He’s gone..."

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst - and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn’t the best father - the job always came first - but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast - and a small town with big secrets - he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find..."

I wish we were still getting adaptations of these books with John Hannah...

A Resolution at Midnight by Shelley Noble
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Miss Fisher meets Downton Abbey in this critically acclaimed mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble.

Roasted chestnuts from vendor’s carts, fresh cut spruce trees lining the sidewalks, extravagant gifts, opulent dinners, carols at St Patrick’s Cathedral, a warm meal and a few minutes shelter from the cold at one of the charitable food lines...

It’s Christmas in Gilded Age Manhattan.

And for the first time ever an amazing giant ball will drop along a rod on the roof of the New York Times building to ring in the New Year. Everyone plans to attend the event.

But the murder of a prominent newsman hits a little too close to home. And when a young newspaper woman, a protégé of the great Jacob Riis and old Vassar school chum of Bev’s, is the target of a similar attack, it is clear this is not just a single act of violence but a conspiracy of malicious proportions. Really, you’d think murderers would take a holiday.

Something absolutely must be done. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige in A Resolution at Midnight, the third book in this best selling series."

If you watched the latest season of The Alienist and wanted a certain newspaper man dead, well, read this to fill that longing!

The Light at Wyndcliff by Sarah E. Ladd
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Set in 1820s Cornwall, this Regency romance evokes the captivating worlds and delicious dramas of Jane Austen, Daphne DuMaurier, and Winston Graham.

Raised on the sprawling and rugged Wyndcliff Estate near the dangerous coast of South Cornwall, Evelyn Bray lives with her grandfather, a once-wealthy man reduced to the post of steward. Evelyn is still grieving her father's death and her mother's abandonment when a passing ship is dashed against the rocks. The only survivors, a little girl and her injured mother, are rescued and brought to Wyndcliff Hall.

Liam Twethewey is just twenty-two when he inherits Wyndcliff Estate from his great uncle. His optimistic plans to open a china clay pit to employ the estate's tenants meets unexpected resistance, and the rumors of smuggling and illegal activity challenge his new-found authority. Though wise beyond his years, young Liam quickly finds himself out of his depth in this land where long-held secrets and high-stakes agendas make no room for newcomers.

Brought together by troubling questions surrounding the shipwreck, Evelyn and Liam uncover even darker mysteries shrouding the estate. But as they untangle truths from deceptions, their loyalties separate them - and their budding love might not be strong enough to overcome the distance."

If you're still suffering from Poldark ending, this book is here to ease that pain. Also, suffering from Poldark is an entirely real ailment!

The Dollhouse Family by M.R. Carey and Peter Gross
Published by: DC Comics
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 160 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Alice loves to talk to her dolls, and her dolls and dollhouse love to talk back.

When Alice is six, she is given a beautiful antique dollhouse. When things in her life get scary, Alice turns to her dolls and dollhouse for comfort. One day, they invite her to come play inside with them. As Alice's life is turned upside down in the "big" world, she is always welcomed home to the little world inside the dollhouse; the house will even grant her a wish if she agrees to live with them!

Follow Alice through the door of the dollhouse and into the demon's den."

The Crown Jewel in DC's Hill House Line. 

The Slaughtered Lamb by Seana Kelly
Published by: NYLA
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Kindle
To Buy

The official patter:
"Welcome to The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar. I’m Sam Quinn, the werewolf book nerd in charge. I run my business by one simple rule: Everyone needs a good book and a stiff drink, be they vampire, wicche, demon, or fae. No wolves, though. Ever. I have my reasons.

I serve the supernatural community of San Francisco. We’ve been having some problems lately. Okay, I’m the one with the problems. The broken body of a female werewolf washed up on my doorstep. What makes sweat pool at the base of my spine, though, is realizing the scars she bears are identical to the ones I conceal. After hiding for years, I’ve been found.

A protection I’ve been relying on is gone. While my wolf traits are strengthening steadily, the loss also left my mind vulnerable to attack. Someone is ensnaring me in horrifying visions intended to kill. Clive, the sexy vampire Master of the City, has figured out how to pull me out, designating himself by personal bodyguard. He’s grumpy about it, but that kiss is telling a different story. A change is taking place. It has to. The bookish bartender must become the fledgling badass.

I’m a survivor. I’ll fight fang and claw to protect myself and the ones I love. And let’s face it, they have it coming."

Urban Fantasy set in a San Francisco bookstore!?! Is someone reading my dream book ideas list?

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton
Published by: Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Format: Paperback
To Buy

The official patter:
"Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It's a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam's life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father's rage.

Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby's wife.

It isn't long before Adam becomes the spirit's next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings...including his first love."

My bookseller friend Johnnie Cakes says read this. So do what I do and listen to him and read this. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Sanditon

OK, I admit it, I was hesitant at first to watch Sanditon. Why you ask? Well, that answer is twofold. Firstly, I hadn't read Jane Austen's partial manuscript in years and wanted to brush up on that and other of her unfinished writing. Secondly, well, the reviews from other Janeites was bad. I usually don't listen to the Janeites, I've often disagreed with these fanatics, and in fact been treated rather harshly by them, so I don't know why I was listening to them being shocked by sex in Austen, but there it is. Yet here's the thing I say to them; "Oh NO, sex in Austen! It's not like Willoughby knocked up a fifteen year old, oh wait..." So there. Game, set, and match. Andrew Davies for the win! It's not that I'm all for sexing up Austen, I'm for the reasonable depiction of the time period, and people had sex! This adaptation was like Austen mixed with Gaskell and Dickens but with the filming sensibilities of Gentleman Jack. Sanditon was fun and diverting, and so what if it was about a town instead of just one family, this just gave it more of a Cranford vibe. There was more flow of narrative, characters weaving in and out of each other's lives at this seaside town trying to make it versus set pieces. I felt like there was real struggle and strife. In fact I thought to myself, it had a bit of the real world horrors mixed with the frenzied fun of Austen's juvenalia. Sanditon is what the roundly praised by very much disliked by me adaptation of Austen's Love and Friendship was supposed to be. Also, while some characters, in particular our male lead, are supposed to evoke parallels to other Austen characters, ahem Darcy, it was the other more complex characters I really appreciated. In fact Esther Denham is now my new favorite Austen heroine. She's dirt poor, manipulated and manipulating, yet somehow you root for her and her redemptive arc gave me the HEA you'd expect for the leads, except they were expecting a second season and didn't get one. So oddly we have yet another unfinished Sanditon that somehow still manages to be satisfying.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A murder on the high seas. A remarkable detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

The extraordinary new novel from Stuart Turton, author of the bestselling The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award.

It's 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.

But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.

And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board."

After devouring The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle earlier this year Stuart Turton instantly became an author to watch and an author to recommend to anyone willing to listen to me. Hence the publication of his second book is a BIG DEAL in my world!  

The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Imprint
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 128 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Enter the world of the Grishaverse and Shadow and Bone, soon to be a Netflix original series!

Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt’ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.

These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint.

This beautiful collection includes stunning full-color illustrations of each story."

Anyone else love how many "in world" books Bardugo has written in her Grishaverse?

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the second installment of this richly imagined fantasy adventure series, a new threat from within the Library could destroy those who depend upon it the most.

The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell - and from its own librarians.

Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen."

A slightly more literary Thursday Next.

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 4416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling."

October is Practical Magic month, so what better way to celebrate than a new book about the Owens women?

A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"After brilliantly reimagining the worlds of Oz, Wonderland, Dickensian London, and the Nutcracker, the New York Times bestselling author of Wicked turns his unconventional genius to Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans," transforming this classic tale into an Italian-American girl's poignant coming-of-age story, set amid the magic of Christmas in 1960s New York.

Following her brother's death and her mother's emotional breakdown, Laura now lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in a lonely townhouse she shares with her old-world, strict, often querulous grandparents. But the arrangement may be temporary. The quiet, awkward teenager has been getting into trouble at home and has been expelled from her high school for throwing a record album at a popular girl who bullied her. When Christmas is over and the new year begins, Laura may find herself at boarding school in Montreal.

Nearly unmoored from reality through her panic and submerged grief, Laura is startled when a handsome swan boy with only one wing lands on her roof. Hiding him from her ever-bickering grandparents, Laura tries to build the swan boy a wing so he can fly home. But the task is too difficult to accomplish herself. Little does Laura know that her struggle to find help for her new friend parallels that of her grandparents, who are desperate for a distant relative’s financial aid to save the family store.

As he explores themes of class, isolation, family, and the dangerous yearning to be saved by a power greater than ourselves, Gregory Maguire conjures a haunting, beautiful tale of magical realism that illuminates one young woman’s heartbreak and hope as she begins the inevitable journey to adulthood."

We could all use some magical realism right about now as we enter what looks to be a bleak holiday season. 

Snow by John Banville
Published by: Hanover Square Press
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The incomparable Booker Prize winner's next great crime novel - the story of a family whose secrets resurface when a parish priest is found murdered in their ancestral home.

Detective Inspector St. John Strafford has been summoned to County Wexford to investigate a murder. A parish priest has been found dead in Ballyglass House, the family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family.

The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Strafford - flinty, visibly Protestant and determined to identify the murderer - faces obstruction at every turn, from the heavily accumulating snow to the culture of silence in the tight-knit community he begins to investigate.

As he delves further, he learns the Osbornes are not at all what they seem. And when his own deputy goes missing, Strafford must work to unravel the ever-expanding mystery before the community's secrets, like the snowfall itself, threaten to obliterate everything.

Beautifully crafted, darkly evocative and pulsing with suspense, Snow is "the Irish master" (New Yorker) John Banville at his page-turning best."

1: A Country House. 2: A murder. 3: A snowstorm. 4: A must read.

The Searcher by Tana French
Published by: Viking
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A spellbinding, propulsive new novel from the bestselling mystery writer who "is in a class by herself." (The New York Times)

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

"One of the greatest crime novelists writing today" (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking what we sacrifice in our search for truth and justice, and what we risk if we don't."

After "discovering" Tana French earlier this year, and yes, I knew about her books I'd just never read her, she's now a MUST READ! Can not wait for this book!

Still Life by Val McDermid
Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover
To Buy

The official patter:
"Val McDermid is the award-winning, international bestselling author of more than thirty novels and has been hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime. In Still Life, McDermid returns to her propulsive series featuring DCI Karen Pirie, who finds herself investigating the shadowy world of forgery, where things are never what they seem.

When a lobster fisherman discovers a dead body in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, Karen is called into investigate. She quickly discovers that the case will require untangling a complicated web - including a historic disappearance, art forgery, and secret identities - that seems to orbit around a painting copyist who can mimic anyone from Holbein to Hockney. Meanwhile, a traffic crash leads to the discovery of a skeleton in a suburban garage. Needless to say, Karen has her plate full. Meanwhile, the man responsible for the death of the love of her life is being released from prison, reopening old wounds just as she was getting back on her feet.

Tightly plotted and intensely gripping, Still Life is Val McDermid at her best, and new and longtime readers alike will delight in the latest addition to this superior series."

I love Val McDermid, I just think for a Queen of Crime they could have gotten a better book title than the same one Louise Penny used to start off her famous series...

On Borrowed Crume by Kate Young
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover
To Buy

The official patter:
"A shoe-in read for fans of Ellery Adams and Kate Carlisle, On Borrowed Crime is the first in Kate Young's new Georgia-set, sweet tea filled, Jane Doe Book Club mysteries.

The Jane Doe book club enjoys guessing whodunit, but when murder happens in their midst, they discover solving crimes isn't fun and games...

Lyla Moody loves her sleepy little town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia. She likes her job as receptionist for her uncle's private investigative firm, her fellow true crime obsessed Jane Doe members are the friends she's always wanted, and her parents just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. But recently, with her best friend Melanie on vacation, and her ex-boyfriend and horrible cousin becoming an item and moving in next door to her, her idyllic life is on the fritz. The cherry on top of it all is finding Carol, a member of the club, dead and shoved into a suitcase, left at Lyla's front door.

Unusual circumstances notwithstanding, with Carol's heart condition, the coroner rules Carol's death undetermined. But when they discover the suitcase belongs to Melanie, who had returned from her vacation the following morning, Sweet Mountain police begin to suspect Lyla's best friend. Determined that police are following the wrong trail, to clear her friend's name, and to not allow Carol become one of the club's studied cold cases, Lyla begins to seek out the real killer. That is, until she becomes the one sought after. Now, finding the truth could turn her into the killer's next plot twist, unless she wins the game of cat and mouse."

OK, yes, I'm all here for the true crime and the book club angle! 

The Sicilian Method by Andrea Camilleri
Published by: Penguin Books
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the new novel in the transporting New York Times bestselling Inspector Montalbano mystery series, Montalbano finds his answers to a murder in a theatrical play.

Mimi Augello is visiting his lover when the woman's husband unexpectedly returns to the apartment; he climbs out the window and into the downstairs apartment, but one danger leads to another. In the dark he sees a body lying on the bed. Shortly after, another body is found, and the victim is Carmelo Catalanotti, a director of bourgeois dramas with a harsh reputation for the acting method he developed for his actors.

Are the two deaths connected? Catalanotti scrupulously kept notes and comments on all the actors he worked with, as well as strange notebooks full of figures and dates and names. Inspector Montalbano finds all of Catalanotti's dossiers and plays, the notes on the characters, and the notes on his last drama, Dangerous Turn - the theater is where he'll find the answer."

I don't just love this series for the mysteries but also for how gorgeous it looks on my bookshelf.

Murder is in the Air by Frances Brody
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover
To Buy

The official patter:
"Frances Brody's twelfth Kate Shackleton mystery will positively intoxicate fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Nicola Upson.

A competition for the crown proves deadly when confidences are betrayed and secrets are spilled.

North Yorkshire, 1930. It's the season for warm and spirited countryside celebrations. Ever since the war, pubs have been in the doldrums, and in an attempt to promote and breathe new life back into the business, brewers select a charismatic employee as local queen - to be the face of their industry. And this year's queen, wages clerk Ruth Parnaby, has invited the ever intrepid Kate Shackleton and her niece Harriet to accompany her on public engagements at a garden party thrown in her honor. But when Ruth leads children to the stables for pony rides, the drayman is missing, later found in the last place imaginable - the fermentation room, deceased.

What looked to be a simple case of asphyxiation in the dangerous fermentation room is quickly clarified by the pathologist as murder - the drayman was already dead before he was taken into the room. Someone was looking to cover it up. The horse dealer who sold the pony to the drayman comes under suspicion, but more and more Ruth's nasty father, Slater Parnaby's strong motive to dissuade his daughter from any festivities lingers in Kate's mind, despite his having an alibi. The case is muddy, at best, and it's going to take Kate at her keenest to decipher the truth."

A sign of a good series, you've hit twelve books and they still feel as fresh as the first! 

The Secrets of Winter by Nicola Upson
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover
To Buy

The official patter:
"A snowy Christmas gathering on an island off the Cornish coast goes murderously wrong in this festive Golden Age mystery.

December 1938, and storm clouds hover once again over Europe. Josephine Tey and Archie Penrose gather with friends for a Cornish Christmas, but two strange and brutal deaths on St. Michael's Mount - and the unexpected arrival of a world famous film star, in need of sanctuary--interrupt the festivities. Cut off by the sea and a relentless blizzard, the hunt for a murderer begins.

Pivoting on a real moment in history, the ninth novel in the Josephine Tey series draws on all the much-loved conventions of the Golden Age Christmas mystery, while giving them the contemporary twist which has come to distinguish the books so far."

And speaking of Nicola Upson... is it wrong I like these more than Tey's own books?

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Published by: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Introducing Myrtle Hardcastle, your favorite new amateur detective: a wickedly smart twelve-year-old with a keen interest in criminology and a nose for murder.

Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her - not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other."

Ten year old me is wondering why this book wasn't in my life when I was ten! The first two books are available NOW!

Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
Published by: Tor.com
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 208 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Writing as A. Deborah Baker, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of talking trees and sarcastic owls, of dangerous mermaids and captivating queens in Over the Woodward Wall, an exceptional tale for readers who are young at heart.

If you trust her you’ll never make it home...

Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework - without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.

Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.

They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.

On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under - an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.

And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives."

Again, how does Seanan McGuire have the time!?! She's up to what, four names she's writing under!?!

The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Published by: Candlewick
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 96 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"With a noisy giant crashing around the kingdom, the Princess in Black uses the Sparkle Signal to call ALL her heroic friends together - for the biggest adventure yet.

The Princess in Black is ready for her snowy playdate with the Goat Avenger and the Princess in Blankets. It’s a perfect day to build snow monsters and battle them for practice. But just when they’re about to wage battle, a huge foot smashes their snow monster. “SQUASHY!”

It’s a giant, and it’s smashing everything in its path! The giant is too strong for the three friends, so the Princess in Blankets has an idea: it’s time to light the Sparkle Signal and summon help. With a rising crescendo of a plot and a delightfully surprising ending, the latest adventure in the New York Times best-selling series features all the Princess in Black’s friends as heroes for the first time."

Another delightful entry in this series by a favorite author team!

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
Published by: Avon
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own.

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. The world may know him as Aeneas, star of the biggest show on television, but fanfiction readers call him something else: Book!AeneasWouldNever. Marcus gets out his frustrations with the show through anonymous stories about the internet’s favorite couple, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone discovered his online persona, he’d be finished in Hollywood.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s long hidden her fanfic and cosplay hobbies from her “real life” - but not anymore. When she dares to post her latest costume creation on Twitter, her plus-size take goes viral. And when Marcus asks her out to spite her internet critics, truth officially becomes stranger than fanfiction.

On their date, Marcus quickly realizes he wants more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. But when he discovers she’s Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to keep from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?"

This ticks so many boxes for those hardcore fans who love fanfiction!

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata
Published by: Grove Press
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"As a child, Natsuki doesn't fit into her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut who has explained to her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. Each summer, Natsuki counts down the days until her family drives into the mountains of Nagano to visit her grandparents in their wooden house in the forest, a place that couldn't be more different from her grey commuter town. One summer, her cousin Yuu confides to Natsuki that he is an extraterrestrial and that every night he searches the sky for the spaceship that might take him back to his home planet. Natsuki wonders if she might be an alien too. Back in her city home, Natsuki is scolded or ignored and even preyed upon by a young teacher at her cram school. As she grows up in a hostile, violent world, she consoles herself with memories of her time with Yuu and discovers a surprisingly potent inner power. Natsuki seems forced to fit into a society she deems a "baby factory" but even as a married woman she wonders if there is more to this world than the mundane reality everyone else seems to accept. The answers are out there, and Natsuki has the power to find them.

Dreamlike, sometimes shocking, and always strange and wonderful, Earthlings asks what it means to be happy in a stifling world, and cements Sayaka Murata's status as a master chronicler of the outsider experience and our own uncanny universe."

All the good I could say about this book just comes down to me saying "BUY THIS THERE'S A HEDGEHOG ON THE COVER!!!"

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Published by: Tor Books
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever - and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name."

If I could change one thing, and only one thing about this book, it's the "LaRue" part. There's an asshole by that name I know and therefore the name is tainted. 

Lon Chaney Speaks by Pat Dorian
Published by: Pantheon
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 160 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A stunning graphic debut: the life of the legendary silent-film actor Lon Chaney (the original Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame), as imagined by an artist whose work recalls the style and skill of early-era New Yorker cartoonists.

From the artist: "'No one will ever love me!' I believe it was this near-universal fear that makes Lon Chaney's characters continue to resonate with us today. On their surface, most of them are distinctly unlikeable: they are monsters, outcasts, criminals. But through his unique magic, Chaney makes them empathetic. He pioneered the craft of makeup artist long before that term ever existed, and he used his expertise to hide himself from public view - what if nobody loved him?""

I'm a huge Lon Chaney fan, so obviously I need this book. Likewise if you don't know who Lon Chaney is, you obviously need this book.

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