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?

CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.


Title : Chimes at Midnight
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book seven)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 369
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 3, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Plot-wise, this has maybe been the best of the bunch in this series.. so far. In the sense that I am satisfied with the turn things took and the resulting direction we’re now headed in. Does that mean I had a good time, had fun, am excited about this series again? No, nope, and maybe. 

The usual suspects (aka the things that annoy me about this series) were very much still present. But with the magnitude and schemery (it’s a word) going on, we had less time to dwell on them or even encourage them. This, in addition to the plot, make for big pluses.

A few new characters have opened up additional pathways into the ‘mystery of October’s heritage’ journey and I’m maybe into it? She’s achieved Super Special Snowflake status a dozen times over and I’m definitely more interested in her mother’s history, and how that ties in with the sea witch (shoutout to my girl!), but you can’t have one without the other, so. I’ll allow it. <– she says, as if she has any choice

I don’t have much more to say, I think this is the shortest of all my reviews, and the least ranty, but maybe that’s a sign. Maybe the tide is turning where we might see some higher ratings soon. Ever hopeful. Ever stubborn. Ever reading this series..

ASHES OF HONOR by Seanan McGuire

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea. 


Title : Ashes of Honor
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book six)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 363
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 4, 2012

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I highly doubt anyone will be reading these reviews anymore because I’m becoming somewhat predictable. I’m saying nothing new and living through the same disappointments and clinging to the same small, itty bitty, hopes. It’s like a weird Groundhog Day.

Though there are some differences in details, I might as well just say “see previous reviews” but I mean.. there are differences. Like, the ship I was shipping? It has sailed. And I want to be happy but lolz, I’m not? I won’t say I wasn’t moved a bit by some of the confessions and big reveal moments but I’m going to reserve judgment until we get a whole book of them being coupley. There was too much of the maiming, running around, “we’ll talk later”s, etc, to revel in the moment. Also for all that I had settled into a slowburn for this.. things kinda went two time speed on busting out a certain phrase. At least on Toby’s part.

I’ve stood by and watched you throw yourself against the walls of the world, because I hoped the impact might shake the sense back into you.” <– this was a nice moment but the quote makes me laugh out of context because the second part of this. what a mood.

As for the mystery of the week? Snooze. Toby takes a case, Toby goes up against a strident terrible person being terrible even as Toby tries to help, Toby drinks a lot of coffee (always and forever), Toby talks about wanting coffee, Toby hates her own blood, Toby drinks her own blood, Toby loses lots of blood, Toby lets go of a breath she didn’t know she was holding (second time in six books.. not bad overall but my brain, it bleeds).. over and over. It’s the worst procedural ever. There is no sense of stake in anything because Toby nearly dies multiple times in each book and the only thing that seems to change is who is being unreasonably rude to her, what new information is revealed that Toby will just go on to ignore, who she’s into, and.. well, that’s it.

That said, I would die for Raj and the Sea Witch. Protect them at all costs. 

I don’t know how McGuire can occasionally write amazing characters like the Sea Witch (so far Raj is just adorable, not complex) and then have so many others that are either one dimensional or inconsistent or both. Some of the shine has even come off the King of Cats for me as I found him way more interesting before his motivations were revealed. It made him more interesting, gave him an edge. I want that back. Additionally, the flip between all the formal talk and then the modern slangs for almost every character who bothers with the formal stuff (I’m not counting the regular modern speakers who dip into formality when the occasion calls for it) drives me nuts. It was particularly bad in this one. Also there were some missed moments on continuity in editing in this one that made me cringe in sympathy because yikes that’s never fun.

So, yes, for those playing the home game : yet another October Daye read. Yet another two star rating. Yet another “maybe next time..” I’ll like/love/enjoy, etc.