The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland - For a Little While by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For a Little While by Catherynne M. Valente

This is a beautiful short-story that gives us an insight into who Mallow was before we met her in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

I love the concept of history that Valente explores with this novel – that it goes on and certain things repeat themselves.

Fairyland has always needed saving. This is a story about another girl, and another time, and another terrible…

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Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Picking up immediately after the end of Monument 14, Sky on Fire is told in alternating points of view and finally shows us what’s going on outside the Greenway store while keeping us in contact with those inside it.

Firstly, I love that there’s a neat summary of what happened in the last book right at the beginning of this one. It’s written as a letter – one of those ‘in case you find this and…

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Jake and the Other Girl by Emmy Laybourne

Jake and the Other Girl by Emmy Laybourne

Oh Jake.

Such a selfish boy! I thought being inside his head would give me a reason to like him, but this novella just showed me how right I was in disliking him.

Jake ONLY thinks about sex and drugs. While this would be an exaggeration in most cases, for Jake it’s just a reality. And he’s proud of himself:

“Look, everyone knew that Jake lived for sex. It was his thing. He was handsome and…

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Dress Your Marines in White by Emmy Laybourne

Dress Your Marines in White by Emmy Laybourne

A short but poignant story that throws light on the chemicals that have destroyed entire cities in the Monument 14 series.

Dress Your Marines in White shows Brayden’s father struggling to write a report about the human trial of a chemical weapon that went horribly wrong. It answers a lot of the questions that have been plaguing me about the chemicals that are in the air, and how they came about.

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Blog Tour: The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente – Excerpt

Hello!! We’re celebrating the release of the third book in the Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente today with an exciting excerpt :) But first, a little about the book:

Blog Tour: The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente  InterviewThe Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente 
Published: March 1st 2014 by Much In Little 
Format: Paperback, 352 pages 
Series: Fairyland #3 
Genres: Fantasy 
Goodreads • Booktopia • Bookworld
Source: Publisher

September returns to fantastical Fairyland for her most dreamy and delicious journey yet. Missing Fairyland, she longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

The first lie September told was very simple indeed. It was such a tiny lie, in fact, that if you were not looking carefully, as we are, you would surely miss it. She told it on a rainy, blustery, squalling day, which is just the right sort of day to start down a strange and secret path. Long, cindery, smoky- colored clouds rolled and rumbled over the Nebraska prairie. The storm fell in silver streamers, stirring the thirsty earth into a thick soup. September sat in her mother and father’s house, looking out the window at the sloshy drops plunking into mud puddles the size of fishing ponds. Everything glittered with the eerie, swirling light of the heavy sky. Her familiar fields looked quite like another world.

September had a book open on her lap but could not concentrate on it. Her cup of tea had gone altogether cold. The pink and yellow flowers on the handle had worn almost to white. A certain small and amiable dog rolled over next to her, hoping to have his belly scratched. September did not notice, which deeply offended the dog. Her mother read the newspaper by the fire. Her father napped quietly with a checkered blanket thrown over his poor wounded leg, into the city they took to visit his doctors. A bubble of thunder burst and spat. September’s mother looked up, leaving off an interesting article about a modern new road that might run very near to their house, and asked her daughter:

“Whatever are you thinking about, dear? You seem quite lost in your head.”

And September, very simply, answered, “Oh, nothing really.”

This was wholly, thoroughly, enormously untrue. September was thinking about Fairyland.

Now, you might say that September had been lying all along, for certainly she never told her parents about the magical country she had visited twice now. That is what grown-up sorts who are very interested in technical terms call a lie of omission. But we will be generous and forgive September for leaving her adventures out of suppertime conversation. How could she ever explain it all?Mama and Papa, you might be interested to know that I flew away to a land of Witches and Wyverns and Spriggans, fought the wicked Marquess who was in charge of it all, and won—please pass the roast beets? It would never do. Papa and Mama, not only did I do all that, but I went back! My shadow had been making trouble, you see, and I had to go to the underworld to fix it all up again. Shall I do the washing up?

No, it seemed best to leave the matter where it lay. And where it lay was deep inside September where no one could take it from her and ruin it by staring at it too closely. When she felt afraid or alone, when her father was in such awful pain he could not bear to have anyone near him on account of the terrible racket of their breathing and thinking and swallowing, she could take her memories out and slip them on like a shawl of fabulous gems.

Poor September. Everyone has their invisible cloak of all things past. Some shimmer and some float. Some cut all the way down to the bone and farther still.

If you could only hear the little trumpet of that lie, calling all its brothers and sisters to muster!

And muster they did.


Isn’t that awesome? Don’t you want to go out and grab a copy of the Fairyland books right now!
The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two is published in Australia by Much-in-Little, and distributed by Murdoch Books. It is available now from all good bookstores and online.

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ransom and i got married several months ago in an intimate ceremony, but recently had a larger reception for more family and friends, and it was a blast! as we’re both writers, it seemed fitting to have the event at one of our favorite bookstores: the last bookstore in downtown LA. we’ve had a lot of requests for photos, so i thought i’d drop a few here. hope you enjoy them as much as we do! 

:::for the especially curious:::

my bouquet: was made from the pages of ransom’s novel (miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children).

our photographers: brandon + katrina of brandon wong photography.

venue: the last bookstore in downtown los angeles.

catering: the extremely fabulous heirloomla.

flowers: from floral art!

rentals: furniture from found rentals, dishes from dishwish!

the band: one of our favorite local indie bands, the gallery.

hugs and books!



Best, most awesome YA wedding in real life ever? Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs just nailed it!

Quick! Split that movie into two parts!

Quick! Split that movie into two parts!


Guys, we need to talk about books being adapted into movies. Specifically, we need to talk about splitting the last movie of a franchise into two parts. Is it necessary? Are the movie guys seeing a market that will pay whatever they can to see their favourite character on the big screen, and getting a little greedy? Are audiences not wanting to let go and forcing people to split up a story into…

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Intersex in YA Literature




When Pantomime came out in February 2013, I didn’t know of any other YA intersex protagonists. Now, just a little after the sequel Shadowplay released, I know of three more:

Alex as Well by Alex Brugman (forthcoming in the UK in 2014)
The Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin (released May 2013)
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (out in 2015)

So wonderful to see :-)

All the other three are contemporary, and all the other blurbs make it clear the protagonist is intersex. Pantomime is SFF, but the blurb is not clear that Micah is intersex (and bisexual). I wonder if it were coming out for the first time in, say 2015 or 2016, if the blurb would have been more open, or is there a divide between contemporary and SFF?

What I found really strange about other people’s reactions to Pantomime (as in, random GR reviews), is that because the intersex part isn’t mentioned in the blurb, a lot of people assumed that it was supposed to be a twist. (It wasn’t a twist, it was pretty obvious from the start that the past and present PoV characters were the same person.) And then they complained about how when it was “revealed” (ie when the past story caught up to the present) that it was really obvious and they totally saw it coming. And I’m just sitting there skimming through these reviews thinking “Buh? Of course you saw it coming, it was the point of the book from the start!” It wasn’t supposed to be a “reveal” beyond revealing how the main character ended up in the circus.

So that particular baffling reaction would definitely be reduced if the blurb mentioned that the character was intersex. On the other hand, I don’t think just saying “intersex” conveys all the in-world (because it’s SFF) cultural baggage and history that goes with the identity. But then saying “raised as a girl, runs away to join the circus as a boy” avoids that issue. (And that is basically how I’ve described this book to everyone, anyway.)

Also, Pantomime is really good, you should all read it. My review here.

So your comment made me dig up my review of Pantomime, and my review begins with:

As usual, I’m mystified at Strange Chemistry choice with its blurb, so I’ll be straight with you – the Very Big Secret hinted at didn’t seem like a huge secret to me. In fact, it was obvious to me from the very first view-point switch between Micah and Gene. I have thought long and hard about this, and I think it’s because the author has written in first person, and the voices of Gene and Micah are indistinguishable. So when I came to write this review and read the blurb, I thought to myself, oh wasn’t I meant to figure out three chapters in? Maybe not.

I’m not sure if I’m one of the people you’re thinking of, but I recall that I didn’t read the blurb when I began the book (for the same reasons as you), and then when I came to review it, I did read the blurb, and the first thing that struck me is that the blurb tries to make out that it is talking about two different people.

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilization long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada

But when you pick up the book it’s very obvious they are the same person, so I made a comment about it. My intention with saying that was to point out that I didn’t agree (as usual) with the way the book’s blurb was written, because I think SC really did let down its authors and their books with how it used to write its blurbs.

In summary: I hadn’t read the book as though I was meant to *figure out* that they were the same person, and it was only afterwards when I read the blurb that I thought that maybe I should have. So it’s kind of backwards in my case, but I did still comment on how easy it was to pick out that they were the same person. 

Twilight has problems with misogyny and with abusive relationships. I don’t want to sugar-coat that. But if you, dear reader, are going around saying that Twilight is proof that girls are all stupid-heads who want a brooding vampire to stalk and abuse them, then you are being misogynistic.

In all my years of life, I have never heard anyone seriously speculate that the popularity of femme fatales in fiction means that all men secretly yearn for an abusive relationship; yet in the time since Twilight was released, I have heard the meme that all girls wish to be abused more times than I can count. This is a failure of understanding the difference between fantasy and reality, and it is a “failure” that conveniently props up existing misogynistic narratives about how women who stay with abusers stay because they secretly want to be abused rather than because they are groomed (by both their abuser and the larger society) to stay with their abuser, and because society does not empower them to leave. This is a comforting lie we tell ourselves because it’s easier to blame abuse victims than acknowledge that we are failing them.

Giveaway: The Last Trilogy by Michael Adams

Giveaway: The Last Trilogy by Michael Adams



Today I’m giving away signed copies of The Last Girl and its sequel The Last Shot to one lucky Australian reader!

Author Michael Adams has generously offered up the books for this giveaway, and he has also supplied a question for you to answer for a chance to win!

To enter, you must answer the following question in 50 words or less:

[alert]Excluding REM, what song is the best soundtrack…

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It’s been a year since we left September, a year after our magical adventure with her, and the time has been spent, on September’s side, eagerly counting the days until she might return. She’s determined to have a proper adventure this time, with magic and whimsical delights, and is looking forward to not having a quest to complete.

She hardly thinks about her shadow, which she left behind in Fairyland.

September’s rather abrupt and unconventional re-entry into Fairyland shocks her. She quickly learns that a few years have passed for the denizens of Fairyland, and that her shadow – calling herself Halloween – now rules Fairyland-Below. Halloween steals shadows from the creature of Fairyland-Above, and thus deprives them of their magic. September knows she has to embark on another quest, this time to reclaim her shadow and undo the wrong she did the last time she visited Fairyland.

This book is about growing up. September has learnt a few hard lessons, and how she’s growing a heart, which is complicating things for her. She understands that her actions have consequences, and she’s strong enough to realise she’s got to set things right again. This time around, September is more empathetic and understanding that she was previously, and we see a lot of maturity from her.

The Fairyland we got to know in the previous book with enchantment and wonder has changed. It is now darker and more dangerous, and slightly creepy. There is a tangible difference in the world-building of this book, compared to the last, but it is no less captivating. September’s companions in this book are not her wyverary and her Marid, but their shadows. Their shadows are less inhibited, wilder, and less familiar to September than their ‘real’ counterparts, and September struggles with the idea that they are the same and yet different. She doesn’t know whether to trust them or not and struggles with the internal conflict for a while.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes (and there are many) is when A-Through-L tries to recreate some scenes from the last book so he can have memories for himself.

There’s also a new addition to their gang: Aubergine the Night Dodo, who practises a branch of magic called Quiet Magic. She is adopted by September and is initially very shy and quiet, but she grows into herself as the book progresses.

This lyrical children’s book explores some very grown up issues in a veiled manner. There’s the issue of consent, both with Saturday stealing her First Kiss from her and A-Through-L the Wyverary turning her into a wyverary through magic. There’s the concept of consequences, which became a big theme as the story unwound. Also explored are forgiveness, the nature of memories, and war, both internal or external. I think a large part of my enjoyment of these books comes from seeing how skilfully the author brings up these subjects and weaves them into the narrative.

Again, the illustrations by Ana Juan gloriously bring the story to life. They are gorgeous and incredibly detailed. I could stare at them all day. Here are two examples so you can see for yourself:

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is a wonderful sequel, one I have thoroughly enjoyed. It lacks none of the magic and wonder of the first book, instead building upon it to create something even more wonderful. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, titled The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente It’s been a year since we left September, a year after our magical adventure with her, and the time has been spent, on September’s side, eagerly counting the days until she might return.