THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.


Title : The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author : Holly Black
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 433
Genre : YA paranormal/urban fantasy
Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date : September 3, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I picked up this book for a spooky readathon prompt (shoutout to the #ScreamQueensReadathon hosts!) even though it would be a reread for me but considering it had been a few years — five, at least — it seemed timely to give it another go anyway.

That said, I did want to go back and peruse my thoughts before writing a new review and wouldn’t you know it this predates my GR reviewing. Fail. But it got me scrolling through some reviews from those on my flist and I got to say.. I laughed at how few people actually like this book. But I did! I feel like those who didn’t like this book are maybe the same readers who enjoyed The Folk of the Air series more than I did. No shade! It’s just amusing. And also interesting.

But back to this book. I probably won’t be able to properly explain why I liked it because I can definitely acknowledge there are bits that weren’t my favourite — the ending, for one; not the open endedness of it all but I felt it was a bit rushed to tie things up to the extent they did. I mean, some readers DNF’d this and others said it was too filled with bits they didn’t care for but I could’ve read another hundred pages no sweat!

Sure, there are some conveniences for our leading lady, some things she achieves in what could be the manner of a special snowflake but it all felt pretty reasonable to me, all things considered? And when pitted up against the exboyfriend who came along for the ride AND the people they ended up carpooling with who also came along for the more literal ride? She was certainly not at the top of my list of irritating or stupid characters.

If you didn’t believe in monsters, then how were you going to be able to keep safe from them?

This story leans into all the dark and gruesome of vampire legends (and in fact I loved the bloating detail after their feed, it’s gross and awesome!) and all the stangeness that comes with revering celebrities and the pedestal we put so many people on just for the circumstance of their existence. Because oh yeah, I didn’t mention, vampires live in lockdowned cities (the side eye) where the infected, those who have been bit or fed from, are also quarantined (quiet hysterical laughter), and these locations, called Coldtowns, are also filmed in Big Brother fashion and posted online. Though, much like an Instagram filter, the content is only one side of a coin and the reality isn’t all glamorous blood drinking parties.

This might not be for everyone (clearly isn’t if you look at GR!) but it worked for me!

A KILLING FROST by Seanan McGuire

When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future…. and the man who represents her family’s past.


Title : A Killing Frost
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book fourteen)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 362
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 1, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

Guess who’s back.. back again. Hollis is back. Back for punishment!

Okay but in all seriousness.. this might’ve been one of the least frustrating read for this series. That doesn’t make it good but it is an unimportant distinction to make. The caveat? It achieves this honour because despite one or two seemingly major events, nothing really happens. And those one or two big events? Hella underwhelming or anticlimatic. Both, even.

I’m unsure if this was just the calm before a whole new shitstorm but I guess book fifteen (yikes) will determine whether that bodes true or not. As for A Killing Frost? In adding yet another delay to a certain relationship, this had a fairly reasonable reason for doing so, which also helped to close the loop (ahaha honestly not sure why I keep thinking this to be a thing with this series, everything always gets resurrected even when it seems resolved) on something that has lingered throughout so many books. But this time with a twist. The character in question had become sort’ve a favourite of mine, not hard because I like so few of them, but in this one I admit I was disappointed. I felt some reactions felt overblown, or out of character, (and there was someone else who felt the same, so maybe that was just this book’s theme..) or maybe it was just his true nature finally coming through and leaving me to realize I liked him a different way. Regardless. I was sorta into this particular “happy ending” but also not. I’m curious how my buddies, both longtime fans, will take it (spoiler, they haven’t read this yet but somehow I have! what even).

As for the other major thing, well. As usual I have questions. So many questions.

I forever feel sorry for Toby because of how so many characters in this world treat her but equally she is a pain in the ass who likely deserves it. A matyr to the very end she is constantly slipping in moments of “oh is this what it’s like to watch me do x y or z? that sucks” and yet.. she persists. All because she’s a hero of the realm. The excuse wears thin, chickadee! And yet honestly I have no one to blame but myself for still being here.

And yes. I will still read on. Completionist to the bitter end.

EMERALD BLAZE by Ilona Andrews – double review!

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart. 

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.  


Title : Emerald Blaze
Author : Ilona Andrews
Series : Hidden Legancy (book five)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 399
Genre : urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : August 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I’ll be honest. Give me some Baylor family banter and hijinks and I’ll pretty much be happy no matter what angst or torture this duo puts me through. Which is pretty much what happened in EMERALD BLAZE. Though it was light on both angst and torture so even better?

He broke your heart.
I broke my own heart, Leon. He was just the hammer I hit it with.

While I found the mystery of the Big Bad plot to be fine (not quite interesting, but not boring), I found the Big Bad Monster element of said same plot to be.. weird and whacky and freaky and fantastic fun. You might disagree about the fun part if you’ve read this but I just found it fascinating where this author duo’s brain goes (yes, I made a brain joke, I am not sorry!).

Your ego would survive an apocalypse.”
Thank you.”
It wasn’t a compliment.
It was to me.

For me, the star of this show, beyond the aforementioned Baylor Banter (copyright pending), was some of the insight we got into decisions made in the previous books. I’ll admit I couldn’t quite tell what was new information and what was just expanded upon which tells me I definitely should’ve done a series reread before this book (whoops, my bad), but nonetheless it felt mostly new and very shocking. I felt like every time the Evil Grandmother was mentioned I could never remember exactly what, or who, she had twisted to her own purposes and now? Wow. Cards are all out on the table.

I wasn’t mourning Alessandro abandoning me. I was mourning the old me. For the new me to emerge, the old me had to disappear, and killing her bit by bit hurt.

So that was fantastic but so was the romance. I enjoyed the heck out of this dynamic in book four but I was so much more sold this time around. Because more cards are on the table for these two as well, yes, but I also felt they had grown as individuals, particularly Catalina. I find her such a great protagonist because she’s strong but not invulnerable, either physically or emotionally, and she perseveres because she must. And as for Alessandro.. like.. be ready for some heartbreak.

I do so love happy endings.
Happy ending for you, maybe. I didn’t get to shoot anybody.

As a bonus we also get some page time with Nevada and Rogan so truly this book is a gift that keeps on giving. Less lovely? That ending. I had seen some vague shrieking about it on the internetz before reading this book so I was expecting the worst and I mean.. it’s not good but wow my brain is clearly a dark place because I expected something else. Also, for those of you unaware, this was also released by the authors but only to be read after reading book five. Don’t you dare peek ahead of time! Not only do I feel a little more comforted about said ending now but also I totally want an Arabella-centic book. I’m sure it’s coming. Maybe? Who knows. At the end of the day I just want IA to never stop writing; and I don’t care what series it’s for. Is that too much to ask?


Micky’s 4 star review

No quotes from me on this one, guess which dumb reader sent the library book back before writing their review? Yep, me. EMERALD BLAZE had a bit of a flat-ish start for me, I wasn’t immediately pulled in but by 20% that changed. This instalment of the Hidden Legacy was the usual fast-paced story you’d expect, full of drama, magic, fighting and tension. The evil thing in this one was super creepy animated thing and gave me slight vibes of one of the Kate Daniels instalment but it was still unique enough to hold its own.

I wasn’t sure about that cover, the emerald aspect but in retrospect, it all makes sense. I love the building storyline of House Baylor that stretches over the whole series and seeing Catalina come into her own even more is story-goals. I really enjoyed some honest dialogue between Nevada and Catalina, it felt like they were finally on an equal footing and to be honest, I’ve missed Nevada. The snippets of her and Rogan were like candy treats.

The best thing about this book was the tension between Catalina and Alessandro, ‘coupled’ with Alessandro finally exposing himself honestly. I lived for how their story played out. This story gave me everything I needed and wanted with regards to Catalina and Alessandro and I’m currently a pile of contemplative mush on finishing.

Family was strong as ever for the Baylors and I love the characters, how they knit together, banter and support one another. Did Andrews finish this cruelly? I guess you’ll have to read and find out.

*side note – will there ever be a book of theirs I don’t like?*

THE UNKINDEST TIDE by Seanan McGuire

Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.

When the Luidaeg—October “Toby” Daye’s oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can’t refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren’t the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg’s price…or face the consequences.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden’s brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that’s when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.

Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim? 


Title : The Unkindest Tide
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book thirteen)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 366
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 3, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

We’re here. We did it. Thirteen books, plus a bunch of novellas, and it’s over (for now). 

I started this journey on April sixteenth. It’s currently May fifth. This is probably one of my worst binges as far as ability to read a series quickly or consistently but I’m sure, based on my feelings of said books, no one is particularly surprised. Plus it’s pandemic season so the reading it ebbs and flows.

Which is a great segue for this particular installment which is set amongst water and the merpeople of faerie. Except I’m not particularly inclined to talk about the plot (I rarely am) so it’s a poor segue but a segue nonetheless.

I don’t really have much to say about this one, to be honest. We had a lot of Sea Witch action, which is never a bad thing, and I loved that things were made to be a little happily ever after-ish in the sense that she could right a wrong without causing more harm (sadly, thanks to Toby, and not her own cleverness). Maybe for the first time since.. I forget, it’s been a long ride, but the first time since forever, we got a newly introduced character who I actually loved. I’m not counting the ones we won’t see ever again but Pete? Oh man. I loved her. Fabulous.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that Gillian has done a total wishy washy (haha the water jokes) aboutface in regards to her dealings, and feelings, about Toby but.. yeah, unsurprised. Probably going to drag that resolution out for a while, I imagine.

I have nothing more to say. Many will wonder why I read this far into a series I didn’t like, many more still might wonder why I intend to read on past this point. I have no good answers for you. I wanted to love this because my friends did. And I think buried under all the hope I thought I lost along the way (I would say that I fully lost said hope around book five ish) I still did want to find some joy. And I did! Book eleven was really good. It seems a meager win in the scope of the series, I guess. But what else did I have to do? Put it aside to read things I might actually like? Hahaha.

Ahem. I’ll try that next.

NIGHT AND SILENCE by Seanan McGuire

Things are not okay.

In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, October “Toby” Daye’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn’t need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn’t need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There’s no question of whether she’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can’t find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same. 


Title : Night and Silence
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book twelve)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 364
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 4, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I knew better than to get excited after how good the last book was.

Seeing this installment be dedicated to Pamela Dean should’ve been a clue I was getting another Tam Lin story. And it sorta was. But seeing as I thought we’d already had our homage, I thought we had been there, done that.

I was wrong.

What I found interesting about the introduction of the actual Tam Lin myth was McGuire made it more about Janet than the self-named male. And offered a view from a different perspective where maybe the humans weren’t the heroes after all. And how that particular moment had started, and ended, so much. That was delightful.

Less delightful? How we have yet another new character introduced who is inconsistent, confusing, and additionally whose actions have had huge ramifications for Toby and changed so much of the course of her life. Beyond being turned into a fish for fourteen years. Someone who should’ve cared about her, someone who had taken what was hers, was actively working against her, actively malicious, right up until this book. Sure, she tries to explain it away, maybe there’s a smidge of understanding in her reasons, but the rest? The behaviour in this book, before and after the reveals? None of it makes sense.

I don’t attribute much to McGuire in the way of complicated characters in this world, at least none of the main ones are particularly complicated (exception as always goes to the Sea Witch), but they have grown over the course of the series, and even though they frustrate me, I sorta get them, understand them. I will never understand the way McGuire introduces new people, often in the role of “save my child/friend/lover or else and ps I’ll work against you or criticize you or suspect you throughout the course of me asking you for this help” and expects us to feel any sympathy for them whatsoever. So of course no one is surprised that the character in this story.. was, well, exactly that. Someone I didn’t sympathize with, didn’t forgive, didn’t understand, and overall thought her to be kind of.. skeezy. I mean, really.

Yes yes it’s all vague, you’re welcome for all this complain-y nothingness.

I’ll shift back to some of the good, though. I also liked that we got some casual perspective to things from early on in this series. Things that explained behaviours, sequences of events.. it answered a lot of questions. However, do I like that it took eleven books to answer stuff from book one? Fuck no. But the way McGuire eased that information in was natural. So.. half points?

One of this book’s villains was supposedly vaniquished like three times already. Supposedly it’s going to stick now. Who knows. This book was mostly a frustrating chore, with just enough good to make me exceptionally frustrated by how wasted it was, but the big point of it all was to reintroduce someone who had been lost to Toby, out of reach, and bring them back into play. I’m interested in that dynamic. Less interested in yet another warped and backwards mindset we’ll likely have to suffer through. Hoping that gets sorted pronto stat so we can move on and move forward. Lets not take bets on the likeliness of that happening, though. Leave me my delusions. It’s how I’ve made it so far into this series, after all.

SAPPHIRE FLAMES by Ilona Andrews

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.


Title : Sapphire Flames
Author : Ilona Andrews
Series : Hidden Legacy #4
Format : ebook
Page Count : 400
Genre : Urban Fantasy/PNR
Publisher : Avon Books
Release Date : August 27, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I’ve got this old song going through my head…
🎵Don’t leave me this way🎵…because quite frankly, I cannot believe Ilona Andrews left it like that. I’ve read a stack of their books and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this incomplete at the end of a book, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s a delicious incompleteness.

SAPPHIRE FLAMES is the first novel where there’s truly been a full flavour of Catalina and she’s as interesting as Nevada but in a totally different way. I liked the age jump from the previous novella and having Catalina more settled in her position of responsibility. As ever with this series, this book was fast-paced, full of action, magic and monsters.

Now to the coupling, Alessandro, the smooth Italian stallion, was pretty to fun to read about and on a mission, the like of which I still don’t know. The banter between Alessandro and Catalina was exceptionally funny, entrancing and it totally gave me Jake and Amy vibes from Brooklyn 99 (sorry if you’re not a fan).

bustle.com

I am left worrying about where their joint story will go, what Catalina has got herself up to the neck in and most of all, what do I have to do to get my hands on EMERALD BLAZE? If you’ve not started The Hidden Legacy series yet, then what are you even doing with your life. Let’s call this my rec to you and get on it.

THE BRIGHTEST FELL by Seanan McGuire

Things are slow, and October “Toby” Daye couldn’t be happier about that. The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn’t have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.

Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.

When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do…until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes. Now Toby doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks. Not with Jazz and Tybalt’s lives hanging in the balance. But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she’s never met, one who’s been missing for over a hundred years?

Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally. Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine’s oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.

This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.


Title : The Brightest Fell
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book eleven)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 368
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 5, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I can’t believe it. I truly can’t. But we finally hit a book I.. liked? Enjoyed? Was moved by? Wow. Eleven books and finally an almost-winner.

I won’t say every aspect of this worked for me (this isn’t a five star, or even a four), but we got so close. And the bits that annoyed me? I mean, they were standard and expected at this point. But they were also very much in the minority. 

This book continued the thread of unravelling and explaining much of the why of went on in the first book and what shaped so much of.. well, a lot of the rest of the series. We had a redemption of sorts, we had a rescue of another sort, and then we lost some of the ground that was won. It was a very bittersweet, very emotional, circumstance that nearly had me crying. I full on welled up. 

I didn’t think I would ever say those words. After all this time, I didn’t think I’d ever write a mostly positive review for this series. Was it worth the journey to get here? Hahahah no, it’s too soon, this was too small a victory, but. But it reminds me of what I’ve talked about with my buddies; this is an author, though under a different penname, that I’ve enjoyed and outright loved. But those books I enjoyed were written much more recently than these. And I wonder if now that I’m catching up to her current day style, and her ability to make me love her worlds, that some of that magic is seeping through into this world, too. Maybe. 

Do I expect to love book twelve? No. I’ve run out of hope at this point (I am fueled only by stubbornness after all these lackluster reads, not to mention some weird ass novellas along the way, though a few good ones, too) b u t that doesn’t take away the fact that this experience was enjoyable. This installment did a lot for me. Today was a good day.

ONCE BROKEN FAITH by Seanan McGuire

Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches. 

Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves. 

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe. 

As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save. 

Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.


Title : Once Broken Faith
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book ten)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 418
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 6, 2016

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Sometimes it’s gratifying to see a thing you’ve complained about, or had issues with, in a story or world, actually get resolved.

I had a really hard time keeping my eyes open while reading this, whether from existential exhaustion or just being tired of this universe and the politics, but what didn’t exhaust me was that we finally saw a dialogue open up about elfshot, a poison often used via arrowhead (elf is shot, haha, get it) to send a faerie to sleep for a hundred years. It was a way of removing, or defeating, an opponent without breaking the only real law in this world : you don’t kill purebloods. But you can remove them from the chessboard for a time. However it wouldn’t be as kind to changelings, being lesser, as they would die.

This is more plot-recounting I’ve done in a while but it’s not spoilery, this is all talked about in book one, I’m pretty sure. It’s part of the world.

But anyway, in my review for book nine I talked about the stakes, the frustrations of this universe that had so many “rules”, though only one real one, and all the loopholes people used to get around it. And this book confronts that. I thought it did a great job of showing the pros and cons, even from perspectives that should’ve wanted the cure, and why it might also cause a new set of problems. So, points for that! I liked feeling validated about the wrongness.

What bored me were the politics, the posturing, and etiquette, blah blah. The actual particulars of the villain of this book, causing the murder and mayhem ironically amongst a gathering hoping to prevent further murder, was actually pretty interesting. There was a sense of unknown and mystery about it and the reveal was good, if sad.

But overall? I was definitely checked out of this story on the whole but I appreciate the strides it took towards the society and world of the fae. 

This series is far from over but I’m getting closer and closer to catching up to the most recent release and that makes me happy. It’s the only thing keeping me going right now.

A RED-ROSE CHAIN by Seanan McGuire

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.


Title : A Red-Rose Chain
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book nine)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 367
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : January 1, 2012

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I was clearly as burnt out from reading these books as you probably are from reading my reviews because I started this and didn’t finish it until four days later. I mostly blame a rewatch of Doctor Who but still. I was able to be distracted because too soon into this ninth installment, after the big broohaha from the book before, we were reunited with a villain I knew we’d see again.. just didn’t expect to see so soon after temporarily vanquishing her. And we got a new nasty piece of work as per counterpart in this one, too.

I don’t know, man. I find it really difficult to deal with some of the extremes of this world where there are so many rules, or maybe just a few really important ones, and how so many of the fae just let all these loopholes happen; these nasty loopholes that do so much damage and no one bothers with it. It’s pretty tiresome. This one went in pretty extreme places, too, and I just found it hard to take. Particularly when held up against the same old same old when it comes to Toby & co. Not that they don’t take things seriously when required but it’s just.. again, the stakes. 

Case in point : this elfshot poison that is the pureblood way around murder and instead sends them to sleep for a hundred years. Unless said poisoner has tinkered with the alchemy and it does horrible things while you dream, or slowly kills you over time. Or, if you’re a changeling, kills you dead. But who cares, they don’t count in the eyes of the do-not-kill law. It’s this loophole that I hate (because we’re supposed to, I get it) and just find frustrating to deal with.

I definitely know the problem is me because if I liked, or cared about, the characters, I would find it funny they joke about Toby not being covered in blood during one whole investigation or Tybalt being afraid to leave her side because inevitably something terrible will happen, etc etc. So, yeah. I wish I had quit reviewing this series six books ago because now I feel obligated to see out the last few (thank god only a few more left..) for consistency’s sake. Sorry about that. 

THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire

For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family’s throne; no one’s going to war with anyone else; it’s almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October “Toby” Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail.

And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to. 


Title : The Winter Long
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book eight)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 368
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 2, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

I’ll give McGuire credit with this one. The long game she played to set this up? That deserves a round of applause. And I’m not just saying that because we had some questions answered. The villain of the week? Unexpected. The way so much was foretold and yet, like Toby, the reader was made oblivious? Well done. As for some of the reveals? I’m not surprised things are more complex than they appeared. But I’m surprised by almost everything we learned.

Are all the cards on the table? Hahaha of course not.

I really hope we see some consequences play out in the next book in the sense that some relationships were badly damaged in this one. We have been watching them fray for some time now, and in general I thought one of the two people in question were hella incompetent and I’ve been wanting Toby to break away from that sense of duty she’s been clinging to. As for the other, well. Like so many characters in this world, she’s only been concerned for herself, and I’ve never understand the dynamic, and I think it’s not surprising that if relationships are going to change, they will happen at the same time as they are part and parcel of the same issue. I know, this is so vague, I guarantee if I ever have to refer to this review again even I won’t know what I’m talking about.. but I’m wary of spoilers.

As usual, though, the sea witch as just a serious badass and I love her.

I’m still not rounding up on this book, though, because even though I just can’t stop reading this series, and I enjoy an aspect or two of the experience, overall I just don’t love cast and there is so much repetition (made worse by the binge, I’m sure). For all the good of some of the overall plotting, everything is really hard earned, few things are followed up on by the characters even when they are strung along with breadcrumbs, and that is forever frustrating; particularly when this is a common occurence, number one, but made even worse by a character who was once a private investigator and, like, investigates shit. Again, I mentioned before in one review or another, it’s hard to root for a character who is made to be woefully unintelligent in a lot of ways. Sure, she usually figures things out in the nick of time when she’s in the mess, but on the whole? Nope. 

Additionally, this series would be greatly improved by some sexytimes. I’m just putting it out there.

My last note? For those keeping track, we had an August added to the months-as-names list. No one is surprised, though, are they?