SFF Rays of Sunshine

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, I had to do an update to the bio on the blog, and I won’t say that it wrecked me, but it was a near thing. Everything has changed in the past eighteen months. I can no longer say that I live in Florida with my “husband and daughter” because my amazing daughter moved to New York last summer to live with my sister and pursue job opportunities there. There were so many tears and visceral reactions as she packed up, that none of us were certain she would actually go. Minds were changed and rechanged. It was touch and go up until the car got on the road. Even then, there was that “I want to come home” stage. And the “you have to stick it out” point. And now we’re here, where she has an amazing union job with benefits and tuition assistance up to 100%. They appreciate her; she feels appreciated. She has someone in her life. She’s happy. It’s all we’ve ever wanted for her. We talk with her several times a day and see her several times a year, so in some ways, it’s like she never left. Except that we can’t get hugs any time we want.

I also had to change the part about living with the “two cutest dogs in the world” because we lost our oldest, Mickey, the day after Thanksgiving this year. Mickey was an apricot cockapoo, a small dog with a big personality. He would tell us in no uncertain terms who was to walk him or whether he expected both of us to drop everything and do the honors, and he would not take “no” for an answer. He sneezed to say “yes”. He knew about a thousand words and twice that many non-verbal cues. For example, what going-out clothes looked like. He loved people, kids especially. He would put up with the little girl down the street piling twigs and leaves on top of him and turning him into a “tree” but would not suffer himself to be sniffed by other dogs. We loved him with all our hearts. However, his sister, Ginger is still here and doing as well as she can be without him, so we’re focusing on the positive.

My last blog, I gave some fun book recs. I want to give a few more today in the SFF field. Books that are like a ray of sunshine, in some cases a warm hug. Please enjoy!

THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES by Sangu Mandanna

A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life.

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
 
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
 
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by TJ Klune

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER!
A 2021 Alex Award winner!
The 2021 RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner!
An Indie Next Pick!
One of Publishers Weekly‘s “Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2020”
One of Book Riot’s “20 Must-Read Feel-Good Fantasies”

Lambda Literary Award-winning author TJ Klune’s bestselling, breakout contemporary fantasy that’s “1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in.” (Gail Carriger)

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

ALL THOSE EXPLOSIONS WERE SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT by James Alan Gardner

Monsters are real.
But so are heroes.


Sparks are champions of weird science. Boasting capes and costumes and amazing super-powers that only make sense if you don’t think about them too hard, they fight an eternal battle for truth and justice . . . mostly.

Darklings are creatures of myth and magic: ghosts, vampires, were-beasts, and the like. Their very presence warps reality. Doors creak at their approach. Cobwebs gather where they linger.

Kim Lam is an ordinary college student until a freak scientific accident (what else?) transforms Kim and three housemates into Sparks—and drafts them into the never-ending war between the Light and Dark. They struggle to master their new abilities—and (of course) to design cool costumes and come up with great hero-names.

Turns out that “accident” was just the first salvo in a Mad Genius’s latest diabolical scheme. Now it’s up to four newbie heroes to save the day, before they even have a chance to figure out what their team’s name should be!

WILDWOOD WHISPERS by Willa Reece

Step into a world of hope, fate, and folk magic in this bewitching debut when a young woman travels to a sleepy southern town in the Appalachian Mountains to honor her best friend. 

Mel Smith’s life is shattered after the sudden death of her best friend, Sarah Ross. In an effort to fulfill a final promise to Sarah and find herself again, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. But Morgan’s Gap is more than she ever expected.

There are secrets that call to Mel, from a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions to the connection she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it. 

With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah’s untimely death and has now set its sights on Mel. 

The wildwood is whispering. It has secrets to reveal—if you’re willing to listen . . .

Praise for Wildwood Whispers:

“A feast for the senses. Willa Reece has written a magical, romantic tale about our essential connections to nature and to each other.” —Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author

“A beautifully woven tale of fantasy, feminism, and mystery set in rural Appalachia.”―Constance Sayers, author of A Witch in Time

Next book: WILDWOOD MAGIC

Published by luciennediver

Author of books on myth, murder and mayhem, fangs and fashion.

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