Books & Blog: August 3, 2018

Books & Blog: August 3, 2018


  • All is Fair, Emma Newman, and All Good Things, Emma Newman
  • Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
  • Chalice, Robin McKinley
  • Marked, Benedict Jacka
  • Providence, Caroline Kepnes



All is Fair and All Good Things are books 3 and 4 in Newman’s Split World series. Don’t try to read them until you’ve read the previous books, because it wouldn’t be fair to you or Newman. The Split World is not one that’s immediately comfortable. There’s the Fae world, which is strange and dangerous, and the world in which the people who serve the fae live, which is also inaccessible to regular humans, and then there’s the real world, where we live. Of course the rules are very different in all three, and poor Cathy is caught between the three. No one seems to be telling the truth, and her husband is concealing so many things . . . but then, so is Cathy.


After the wonderful Temeraire books, (did you know dragons fought in the Napoleonic Wars?) Naomi Novik is writing truly marvelous books based on fairy tales. Uprooted, the first one, was truly marvelous, and Spinning Silver, based on the Rapunzel story, is just as good, if not better. Three women make their way through a world that’s hard to deal with, but they persevere and use their sense – and their sense of self – to save their own lives and the lives of those they love. Please read this book.


Chalice is just as notable (I got lucky this month). Acting as Chalice to the new Master of Willowlands, Mirasol has to overcome her fear of this new man, a fire priest recalled when his older brother dies. Mirasol, a beekeeper, brings new magic to her position, and she struggles against the other officials in Willowlands, who are at best dubious about the new ruler. Plots against him rise up, and Mirasol has to decide what is best for Willowlands. This is magical writing at its best.


I’m a great fan of Benedict Jacka, and if you’ve been following his Alex Verus books like I have, you have to pick up Marked. Alex, as always, is in a terrible position, between the alleged good magicians and the definitely bad magicians, in love with Anne but afraid to tell her so, trying to hang on to the right, but often having to resort to the wrong. Alex is a fascinating character, and his world is just as interesting as he is.


I was very excited by Caroline Kepnes’ previous novels and interested to see what Providence would be like. It’s brilliant. Abducted as a child, Jon is given up for lost by almost everyone except his parents and his only friend, Chloe. Suddenly Jon returns, but he’s changed in inexplicable ways. He doesn’t understand at first, but he comes to understand that he is lethal. This isn’t a classic crime novel, this isn’t about magic, this isn’t about Lovecraft . . . but it’s all three.




I haven’t traveled much this year, which has been a busy one for me, nonetheless.  I’m not on the road as much because I’m older, my joints ache, and I often feel that if people don’t know who I am by now, thirty-seven years after my first book appeared, they never will.


I do miss talking to people who enjoy my books and seeing stores I haven’t been in before. Signing trips both exhaust me and energize my brain.


This weekend, I’ll be in Virginia at the Suffolk Mystery Festival, and then I’ll be home until October when I go to New York City Comic Con for the debut of AN EASY DEATH, the first book in my new series.  The cover is up on Amazon, if you haven’t seen it yet, and I need to ask Dawn to put it up on my website. (I am so excited about this book, you can’t believe it.) I maybe also be doing some appearances with the cast of “Midnight” there. Then I come home and soon after, I head out to London to kick off my Orient Express trip. I give a lecture to some budding writers, and then we all get on the train to go to Venice. I think my husband and I will stay in Italy for a while. It’ll be our trip for the year.


Before I leave, I’ll finish the second book in the Gunnie Rose series, tentatively titled A LONGER FALL. When I come back, I’ll start the third one, maybe working in a short story somewhere in that time.


That’s what I’m up to, professionally. Personally, I’m seeing my grandchildren more often, trying to get some things done in our house, and of course, a lot of reading. I hope you all are enjoying your summer . . . and I hope it hasn’t been as hot where you are as it has been here.