Urban Fantasy Summer

While at Bookshop Santa Cruz I ran the Science Fiction/ Fantasy section where I expounded on the merits of titles like The Unkindness of Ghosts, A Darker Shade of Magic, and The Fifth Season. However, the area where I really cut my teeth on the genre, was urban fantasy. We don’t see it as much anymore. I don’t know if it’s because UF had a habit of upping its hero’s skills to unbelievable levels or just because publishing is cylindrical and it’s time was done, but while there are some series that live on, on the whole UF is a thing of the past. One of the series that lives on, is Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series (as well as her Incryptid series). I decided since for the time being I don’t have to live by Pub Dates and Indie Next submission deadlines, I’d revisit Toby and the gang. Then I thought about it. Why not spend this summer going back to the books that made me fall in love with SFF?

October Daye is a changeling in San Francisco who is a Knight errant and all around badass. Snark and violence at its finest. And at 13 books in, we have quite the world building to traverse through. The first few books run a little slow, but by book 4 she hits her stride and it’s a fun journey. The series starts with Rosemary and Rue (did I mention all the titles are Shakespeare references?). Toby has some great growth as a character and it’s amazing.

Also on the list is going to be Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Kelley is still writing, but her books are closer to the mystery genre these days. The Women of the Otherworld swaps narrators is very few books which I completely enjoyed. We start off in Bitten with Elena, who is the only female werewolf, then there’s Paige, a witch learning about being a parent to an orphaned witch while navigating the world of magic, as well as a cast of other powerful ladies. PSA: Warlock Lucas is totes my book boyfriend.

At the same time that TWotO was a hit, there was also The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. Starting with Dead Witch Walking we are following a witch bounty hunter slash detective named Rachel through magical Cincinnati with her pals, a bisexual living vampire named Ivy and a foul mouthed pixie named Jinks. Rachel is a hot mess of a character which I wholly appreciated because it’s boring when the main character knows all the answers.

Remember that snark and violence I mentioned? One of the best examples is Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. In Hounded Atticus is the last known Druid who is in hiding from a very angry Celtic god in Arizona. Oh did I mention that Atticus, while appearing 21, is actually 21 centuries. So you know. Like you do. You will love his pal, a talking Irish Wolfhound named Oberon.

Last but not least, is Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires. The first book is Some Girls Bite where we meet Merit who is changed to a vampire without her consent. I love Merit. I love her best friend Mallory. Spanning 13 books (which seems to be the magic number in ending UF series) we see her kick ass, take names and eat all the junk food. And good news, there’s a spin-off called Heirs of Chicagoland so the fun continues.

There are tons of Urban Fantasy series out there and everyone has their favorites. These were just a few that I really enjoyed and plan on revisiting. Do you have a favorite UF series? Tell me about it in the comments or on social media!

Bookseller Hiatus

According to my history it’s been over 2 years since I’ve updated. Apparently it’s hard to keep a blog going when your job is to sell books. If I wasn’t at work, handselling or running a register, I was writing reviews for Indie Next or the store’s newsletter. So why am I back, you’re asking? Because at the current moment of my life, I’m not a bookseller. Husband got a job in Pittsburgh and just like that, we are onto the next chapter of our lives. I’m currently in a hotel room in San Jose whole he finishes his last two days of work at the previous job. Spawn are in Southern California, visiting their grandparents while we make the transition. I’m hanging out with the newest additions to the family, Poppet and Widget of the French bulldog persuasion (yep they’re named for the twins in The Night Circus as they are litter mates).

It seems it’s hard to get me out of the book world though. I had serious plans to just read, no work, but I can’t stop myself. And if that wasn’t enough, I did a poll on Instagram and everyone said I should. I think that’s legally binding.

I can’t promise the blog will be regular at the moment. I can’t even guarantee the formatting will make sense. For at least the foreseeable future I’ll be in the car, as we are road tripping from NorCal to Pittsburgh in the next week so updates will probably come from my phone. I don’t even know what kind of blogging I’ll be doing or if I’ll be using any of the same things I did on the blog previously. What I can say is that I will write about books, the pups, and anything that I find mildly amusing.

I can’t seem to break my frontlist habit, but atm I’m currently rereading the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire so I’m on Book 4 Late Eclipses. If you haven’t read this series I highly recommend. It’s heavy world building in the first 3, but I think Book 4 is where she hits her stride. It’s fun as a reread because I can see what she was setting up at the beginning that she didn’t reveal until way later in the series.

The road trip is guaranteed to have some bookish moments so stay tuned.

Bout of books progress 

Hey! As previously posted, I’m attempting Bout of Books this week. However, if you want to follow my progress and chat about it, I will be doing that on my Twitter account! You can find me @karenafagan.

For now I can say due to work, I’ve gotten a late start so all I’ve read so far is half of Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie. Hopefully day off that changes!

Cheers!

 

Here and There

Hey bookworms. So I got a new job! And it’s at my favorite local indie so double yay! That being said, I just finished a 40 hour week of training and my kids start school this week so posting is going to be probably a little more limited. I’m going to try though! Let me get a feel for the new schedule and then we will be good to go! Also I’ll be doing Bout of Books this week when I can so go follow me on Twitter!

#24in48 2016 Summer Edition

Usually when I’m participating in a readathon, I do a few posts on prepping and talk about my proposed TBR. I’ve decided for tomorrow’s #24in48, I’m just going to play it by ear. I made a tentative collection on my Kindle app of books I’ve been meaning to get to, but my print pile is going to just be me working on the Great Read my Hardbacks before they Go to Paperback Challenge. I have a lot of great books published this year I want to get to. I probably will skip nonfiction this weekend, the only exception is Grunt by Mary Roach because she’s Mary Roach and I don’t need any reasons.

I also probably won’t even hit the full 24 hours. I know on Saturday I plan on going  with friends to see our local Shakespeare company Santa Cruz Shakespeare perform A Midsummer  Night’s Dream which is my favorite of the Bard’s plays. So I know there will be a few hours lost there. Maybe if I bring my copy of it and read along it will count?

So that being said, even not hitting all 24 hours, I plan to do as much as I can. 24 in 48 is one of my favorite readathons and I love checking in on Twitter and Instagram to see how everyone is doing, what they are reading, and give snack advice (always something you only need one hand to eat!).

I am not going to be posting updates here, so if you’re not already, find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy as @KarenaFagan.

If you’re participating, please add your social media contacts so we can geek out together. Anyone want to share their book stack?

Bay Area Book Fest

IMG_1536This past weekend was the 2nd annual Bay Area Book Fest in Berkeley, California. I went last year with my family and had a blast. This time I grabbed one of the Book Girl Gang, Karly, and we drove to the closest BART station (Fremont!) and jumped on a train. We both brought a tote bag. I grabbed one of my smaller ones so that I wouldn’t be tempted to pick up too many. Especially since we were going to have to bring all the things back on the train as well as carry it around the festival. When we got there though, Half Price Books was giving out free totes if you signed up for their mailing list. We did this (with me super scared, I have no willpower!).

IMG_2151As usual, the booths set up were amazing. There were small presses, bookstores,
writing groups, among others. We didn’t get to see any panels, but there were a l
ot of great ones I would have liked to see. They separated their booths with cute bookish names like Maker’s Lane, Writer’s Row, Eco Alley, Radical Row, and Literary Lane, just to name a few.

 

IMG_8724If you look above at the header, they had what they call the Lacuna, which included 500,000 donated books for people to just take! We got there after stopping for lunch and drinks and it was already really depleted! I don’t know if more were put out for Sunday, but I was really glad we got there on Saturday. I lost Karly a bit and she came back with a full tote…her second tote. The one Half Price gave her.

IMG_8329We also got to meet up with Rae, who I’ve met via Twitter and is a fellow Book Girl Gang member and Book Riot fan. We had a lovely time going through the books and booths. It’s always a great thing to meet up with book people.

 

All in all, this is what we ended up with. I stuck with my single tote! I bought two books for my kids, six for me (two wereonly two dollars so they almost were free, right?), and two from the Lacuna. We had a blast. I love being around bookish people and this was no different.

IMG_1555
on the BART home with our haul
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Karly’s stacks
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literary loot!

If you went, what was your favorite part?

Birthday Trip: Portland Edition

Wow, it’s been a bit since I’ve been on here. I’m sorry guys!

My birthday was this last Saturday and to celebrate, my husband surprised me with a road trip to Portland which you know means…Powell’s. We ended up going twice (of course we did). Who doesn’t love a bookstore so big they have to give you a map?

Like woah.
Of course I needed at least one signed book.
My husband standing guard over my books.
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Representing the Riot…which was not intentional.
Trip one!
Trip two! Not counting the books I picked up for my kids.

There is something down right magical about Powell’s. I love the combination of used books and new. I felt a little bad having my husband trail after me with the basket, but he was game and kept telling me to take my time (he’s all mine ladies, back off). A tip for such a large bookstore? Personally, I made a list off my TBR of the books I wanted to buy the most. It’s easy to get overwhelmed after three floors of awesomeness. I scouted new books first and walked away with a few books not on my list. I didn’t notice they had search computers until the end of the second trip when we actually had to hurry up because we had a movie to catch so I missed out on a few books I’d been looking for.

I walked out with some great titles and can’t wait to start them. Although that N.K. Jemisin is looking quite intimidating.

Have you been to Powell’s? What’s your game plan when you go?

 

Bookish tattoo

I posted a pic on Twitter yesterday, but thought I’d post here too. Yesterday I went in for what I thought was going to be an extensive tattoo, but do to some misunderstandings and problems with my original design, I just walked out with the lettering done. Which worked out because it was on the inside of my arm and would have been pretty painful along with the other part. And now it can heal a bit before I go in for the flowery part.  

From the book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

 

Anyone rocking a tattoo from a children’s book?