Category: Paranormal

5 Fantasy Books Featuring Mystical Faeries

Faeries have always had a special place in fantasy literature, and I think we can all see why. Sometimes, these beings take on the form of a trickster that messes with mortals for sheer enjoyment. Other times, the faerie in question may be a guide or maternal figure who leads the protagonist down the right path, offering sage advice and comfort when necessary. There is also the recurring theme of making these beings into immortal love interests who fall head-over-heels for their human paramours.

Long story short: faeries take on various roles in literature. Their magic and their personalities make them an inexhaustible source of inspiration and entertainment.

So, to feed your interest in faeries, here are five books featuring faerie characters.

 

1. “The cruel prince

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air Book 1) by [Black, Holly]

image via amazon

Holly Black is well known for her stories that draw inspiration from the Realm of Faerie. She was one of the two writers for The Spiderwick Chronicles, and she also authored The Modern Faerie Tale series. Honestly, whenever I go looking for books with faeries, Holly Black is one of the first writers to appear–and it’s really no surprise as to why this is the case. The Cruel Prince is the first book in The Folk of Air Series. This book introduces Jude, who was seven years old when her parents were killed by the fey, and she and her sisters were captured and forced to live in the Court of Faerie. In order to gain an official role in the court, Jude embroils herself in the cutthroat politics that pit her against Prince Cardan, a faerie who despises humans. In order to save her sisters and the realm though, Jude must join a risky political alliance that might help her succeed in her goals, or it might just double back and destroy her.

2. “bones of faerie

image via amazon

Janni Lee Simner lays out a story that takes place in the aftermath of a war between humans and faeries. After this conflict ended, the faeries disappeared and humanity has heard nothing from them since. Bones of Faerie follows fifteen-year-old Liza, a young girl who has never seen magic, but she has lived in a world that was wounded because of it. She soon learns that she has the gift to see into both the past and the present, and through this gift, she realizes that she must flee her hometown and go into the land of faerie. And maybe, just maybe, she can figure out how to mend the land on her journey.

3. “A court of thorns and roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by [Maas, Sarah J.]

image via amazon

I just… I just really like Sarah J. Maas’s work. Author of The Throne of Glass series and the recently published Crescent City, Maas is a writer who continues to pull me back with every new book that she releases. A Court of Thorns and Roses is no exception to this rule. This story follows Feyre, a human and the sole provider for her family. One day while hunting, Feyre kills a wolf that turns out to be a Fae in disguise. She invokes the rage of Tamlin, the Fae lord of the Spring court who demands her life in return for the one that she took. He takes her back with him to the Spring court, where she lives amongst the Fae and comes to learn about the curse that looms over the court. And when this curse finally takes effect, Feyre must be the one to venture under the mountain to save Tamlin and his subjects.

 

4. “The Faerie Ring

image via amazon

Kiki Hamilton’s first installation to her Faerie Ring series promises a fascinating set of books to follow. The Faerie Ring follows Tiki, a young pickpocket who lives in London with her fellow orphans. When she steals a ring from a particular individual though, her actions threaten to cause war to break out between the faeries and humanity once again. However, plenty of individuals also want the ring for their own end goals… and some of those people do, indeed, want to see war engulf Britain.

5. “Magic under glass

image via amazon

Jaclyn Dolarmore’s Magic Under Glass promises a charming and romantic tale for readers. Nimira is a music-hall performer who barely manages to scrape together a living. She is enlisted by the sorcerer Hollin Perry for a special act–Nimira will sing in accompaniment to an automaton playing piano. However, she discovers that the spirit of a faerie inhabits her automaton partner, and the two fall in love. While Nimira tries to break her beloved’s curse, they must also work to save the faerie realm from impending doom.

featured image via Abstract Wallpapers – Desktop Nexus

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5 Fantasy Books Inspired By Chinese Mythology

Mythology remains one of the greatest sources of inspiration for fantasy literature, and literature in general, today. For me, stories that draw from mythologies that I am not overly familiar with encourage me to then seek out the tales and legends that inspired those books. That’s how I began to read Chinese mythology. There is a genuine beauty to the myths, and I truly can’t even begin to express how amazing some of these stories are.

Here are five books inspired by Chinese mythology.

1. “The Poppy War

image via amazon

R.F. Kuang’s first installation in her Poppy War series introduces Rin, a young orphan who managed to pass the Keju, a test that allows her to enter one of several academies for prodigal children. From there, she manages to enter Sinegard, a military school. However, because of her skin color, her gender, and her impoverished background, Rin is the target of her peers’ cruelty. The Poppy War follows Rin as she learns that she can harness the powers of shamanism, and with the help of one of her teachers, she learns that the deities that had fallen into legend do still exist. She is chosen by the Phoenix, a vengeful deity that may sap her of her humanity. With the third Poppy War on the horizon, the cost of winning that conflict may, indeed, be her humanity.

 

2. “The Dragon Warrior

image via goodreads

The Dragon Warriorwritten by Katie Zhao, follows Faryn Liu, a twelve-year old girl who wishes to honor her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. However, since their father disappeared, Faryn and her brother have been brushed off by the Jade Society, which has made Faryn’s dream a near impossible feat. Yet when she is caught in the middle of a conflict, it is revealed that Faryn is the Heaven Breaker, a being who can command an army of powerful dragons. She has until the Lunar New Year to prove her worth, but she will soon learn that the position she has found herself in requires a great deal more sacrifice than she had originally expected. This book is middle-grade fantasy, so it is meant to appeal to a younger audience; however, that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out if you’re interested!

3. “The Crystal Ribbon

image via amazon

Celeste Lim’s novel takes place in medieval China. The Crystal Ribbon follows Li Jing, the twelve-year old daughter of a poor tea farmer based in Huanan. Her family decides that, in order to survive, Li Jing must be married off. The money that her husband’s family gives her parents will help them live. The Koh family, one that Li Jing marries into, treats her poorly. She is expected to be the wife and nanny to her husband, Ju’nan, who is only three years old. When she is sold off once again, Li Jing runs away. With the aid of a spider and a nightingale, she makes her way back to Huanan. Be warned that this story does deal with themes of parental abuse and sexual violence.

 

4. “tiger’s apprentice

image via amazon

Laurence Yep‘s middle-grade fantasy The Tiger’s Apprentice follows young Tom Lee–a young boy who learns that he is the most recent addition to an ancestral line of guardians. His grandmother, a woman who has always been perceived as eccentric, has been the guardian of a phoenix egg for several years now. When she is killed protecting Tom, Tom must step in to become the egg’s protector. Tom gains a father figure in Mr. Hu, a talking tiger who can turn himself into a man. Other mythical beings from the Chinese zodiac, such as the monkey and the dragon, are also present in this story. This is a fast-paced and quick read, and it is definitely worth checking out!

5. “silver phoenix

image via amazon

Cindy Pon‘s Silver Phoenix is the first book in her ‘Kingdom of Xia’ series. This book follows Ai Ling, a woman who has not been viewed as marriageable, and she was content with this, because that meant she could not be hidden away in the quarters of a potential husband’s household. She slowly becomes more and more aware of her own inner powers–she has the ability to read people’s spirits. Chosen by immortal beings, she must enter the emperor’s palace to save her father and defeat the old evil that lies within. There are mystical creatures and goddesses packed into this tale, and it is definitely worth checking out! This books does contain themes of sexual harassment and an attempted assault scene, so please be aware of this if you give this book a read.

Featured image via Wallpaper Flare

 

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7 Underrated YA Books You’ll Wish You Read Sooner

There are a lot of mainstream YA books everyone has heard of: The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Fault in Our Stars, to name a few. But being a mainstream read doesn’t necessarily make a book “good” or any better than others of the genre, and these underrated YA books prove just that. These books might slip under the radar, but after reading them you’ll ask yourself: where have these books been all my life?

1. ‘The Gypsy King’ by Maureen Fergus

via goodreads

The Gypsy King is one of my all-time favorite YA fantasy reads, yet.  Maureen Fergus is a Canadian author and it can be hard to come by this book in the US but if you decide to go out on a limb and order it online, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

The book follows Persephone, a sixteen-year-old slave who is sold to a chicken thief named Azriel. But Persephone quickly realizes that Azriel is not what he seems, and Persephone herself is a part of a prophecy much bigger than herself. Equal parts sassy and brave, Persephone will have you rooting for her through her many adventures and her encounters with courtly life. 

If you love deception, courtly politics, romance, and adventure—you’ll fall in love with The Gypsy King and its subsequent books. Don’t let its meager number of reviews discourage you; the book might not be well-known, but it’s certainly something you’ll wish you discovered sooner.

2. ‘White Space’ by Ilsa J. Bick

via goodreads

White Space is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Half the time you’ll be disoriented, confused, and maybe even a tad scared–but don’t worry, it’s all part of the experience!

The book follows Emma Lindsay, who has the ability to disappear into other people’s lives in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, she finds herself in “White Space”—the very story she thought she’d written. Here she finds other people from different lives, states, and even time periods. As the characters (and readers alike) struggle to separate reality from fiction, they must ultimately come together to figure out why they’re there, and how they might escape. 

Compared to the likes of Inception, this book plays with your mind, pulling you in deeper into not only the world, but the minds of its characters. If you love ambiguous thrillers, add White Space to your TBR today!

3. ‘Pivot Point’ by Kasie West

Image via Goodreads

You’ve probably heard of Kasie West’s contemporary works, but what about her paranormal romance? Pivot Point follows Addison Coleman, a girl who can look into the future, and see how a decision will impact her life. When faced with the chance to live with her father outside of her paranormal world, Addie peaks into the future to see how her choices will play out. The book alternates between the two scenarios–one in which she stays with her mother, the other where she moves in with her father—showing both the good and the bad of each decision. At the end of the book, Addie must decide which path to follow.

Not only does Pivot Point explore a unique concept, but it’s heart-wrenching in the fact that Addie can only ultimately choose one path to follow, meaning she’ll never get to experience everything in the other. Short, fast-paced, and fairly easy to read, you’ll speed through this book in no time. 

4. ‘These Shallow Graves’ by Jennifer Donnelly

via goodreads

While Jennifer Donnelly is a fairly well-known author, I haven’t heard much buzz about her YA historical mystery. These Shallow Graves, a standalone, follows Jo Montfort who, instead of getting married like she’s supposed to, wants to become a writer for a newspaper. When Jo’s father is shot dead in what is supposedly a suicide, Jo teams up with a reporter from her father’s paper to go in search of the truth.

Action-packed, well-written, and romantic, These Shallow Graves is perfect for the mystery lover in you. 

5. ‘Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

via goodreads

Yes, this book is as cheesy as it sounds. But it’s cheesy in the best possible way, and is sure to hit you in your feels. 

Julia is the complete opposite of her arch-nemesis Jason; she’s book-smart, and not very popular, where Jason is the class clown. But when Julia begins receiving romantic texts from an unknown number on a school trip, Jason promises to help Julia track down her secret-admirer. Meant to Be is not only funny, cute, and romantic, but it explores what “meant to be” (more commonly referred to in the book by it’s slang counterpart: “MTB”) really means, and if it’s as realistic as it seems.

6. ‘Chase the Dark’ by Annette Marie

via goodreads

I’ve recommended this book before, but will never turn up the chance to talk about it, simply because it’s so unknown. Available in both Kindle and paperback, Chase the Dark explores the paranormal world of Piper Griffiths. As the daughter of two haemons, children born to humans and haemons, Piper shouldn’t be alive. Yet, miraculously, she is. When her father’s Consulate—a place meant to shelter daemons in their travels, and keep the peace between them and humans–is destroyed, Piper finds herself on the run with two untrustworthy (but very handsome) daemons.

Set in an urban fantasy setting, this YA book is one you won’t be able to put down. Annette Marie explores her deeply-built world over the course of five books—giving you all the more time to fall in love with the series’ characters. 

7. ‘The Demon King’ by Cinda Williams Chima

via goodreads

If you love fantasy, strong world-building, and courtly politics, you’re sure to love this four-book series. The Demon King introduces us to Raisa, the princess of the Fells, who yearns to one day lead her people like the famed warrior queen Hanalea. Meanwhile, Han Alister is a reformed thief who, in an encounter with the High Wizard’s son, steals the wizard’s amulet—only to realize it once belonged to the infamous Demon King.

Interweaving between plotlines, character perspectives, and remnants of the world’s past, The Demon King explores class relations and what it means to be a hero/heroine in a rich fantasy setting anyone with a love for the mythical will enjoy.

Featured Image via Mental Floss

 

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US President Conspires With Aliens (In This Story)

Today, we’re going to be doing something a bit different.  We’re going to be taking a look at a short story that was recently published on Future Tense Fiction – a series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives – which publishes a story each month.  The theme for January through March 2020 is politics.

 

image via center for science and the imagination

 

The short story, “It Came From Cruden Farm,” was published on Slate on February 29 and was written by Max Barry. The story starts off with what seems to be the newly inaugurated president in 2021. This can be inferred by the fact that the characters in the story mention Bush, Obama, and then Trump, all having their duties and chances in office, but using the past tense when talking about them. This is just a guess though, as neither the president’s name nor the year is given anywhere in the story. The president is simply referred to as ‘Mr. President.’

 

The story is about an alien that had come to Earth via a spacecraft, residing at Area 51 in the United States. According to the Air Force chief of staff, the alien has been there for the past twelve years, and it is revealed that Bush, Obama, and even Trump have met and talked with it.

The short story already raises our curiosity, and I’m sure, like me, you’re wondering, “Will the president see and speak to this alien like his three predecessors did?.”  Unfortunately, you don’t get an immediate and direct answer, just simply the information that the president wants to see it, despite the Air Force chief of staff’s hesitation.  The author is building up the story very well, forcing the reader to ask questions that can only be answered by reading on.

 

image via ufos disclosure

Eventually, the president does meet and speak with the alien. To remove the risk of spoilers, I’ll just stay that it’s not an optimal experience. At all. The First Lady then decides to tell her husband that sometimes its necessary to let things go, forget them, and look toward the future. Something about that statement doesn’t sit well with me.

 

This is where the story ends, the president and the First Lady leave Area 51, assuming that the alien will be forgotten about and kept a secret for an undefined amount of time. Something to be said about burying the truth? Or maybe just withholding it? It would certainly speak to our current political landscape.

In any case, if you’re interested in reading the short story in it’s entirety, you can read the full transcript over on Slate. Enjoy!

featured image via lisa larson-walker (illustration), danique dohmen (photo)

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Celebrating Forty-Three Years of ‘The Shining’

The midlife crisis is real. If you see The Shining buying a motorcycle, dyeing its hair or visiting a hotel in Colorado and turning on its family, go easy, it turns 43 today. Stephen King’s infamous novel, that spawned a modern cinematic classic, was published 43 years ago on January 28th 1977. King’s psychological horror had sold over a million copies as of 2012 with doubtless many more sold since. 

 

Image via ifc center

The Shining is one of King’s best-known (and loved) novels, penned after King and his wife spent some time in Boulder in a supposedly haunted hotel room. They stayed in room 217, which avid readers may recognize from the novel. The story follows Jack, Wendy and their son, Danny. Jack and his family take up residence in The Outlook Hotel during its off-season, so that he can focus on writing a novel. Danny has a sort of sixth sense that allows the hotel and its ghosts to communicate with and through him. They soon find that The Outlook Hotel has no intention of letting them leave.

 

 

Like many of King’s novels, some of the scariest moments are inherently human. The ghosts of The Outlook Hotel are not as much of a threat as the skeletons in our own closets and King explores this idea throughout. King has said that he used Jack and Danny’s relationship as a way to explore his own feelings of anger towards his children. In The Companion to Stephen King, he admits:

Sometimes you confess. You always hide what you’re confessing to. That’s one of the reasons why you make up the story. When I wrote The Shining, for instance, the protagonist of The Shining is a man who has broken his son’s arm, who has a history of child beating, who is beaten himself. And as a young father with two children, I was horrified by my occasional feelings of real antagonism toward my children. Won’t you ever stop? Won’t you ever go to bed? And time has given me the idea that probably there are a lot of young fathers and young mothers both who feel very angry, who have angry feelings toward their children.

 

image via amazon

The book was adapted to the now classic 1980 film of the same name. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, it has been immortalized as one of the best horror films ever made. Despite this success, Stephen King has not always been a fan of the adaptation and was against a prequel story. That said, he then wrote Doctor Sleep, the film version of which was released just last year.

It may not just be our nightmares that The Shining is haunting as it could be taking to the stage very soon. With Simon Stephens at the helm, Jack is getting a new lease of (after)life. A stage adaption would be very fitting since all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

 

 

To celebrate the forty-third year of The Shining, consider staying at The Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for the Outlook. The film version changed the haunted room to 237 at the hotel’s request as they worried that featuring room 217 would dissuade guests from staying there. No matter which one you stay in, you’re sure to get all of the spooky vibes that King immortalized in the 447 pages of his novel.

featured image via metro


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