Who doesn’t love a good series?
Here you can see my ever changing list of book series I want to read. I will add when I find new ones to enjoy and let you know when I have finished others.
The Raven Cycle Series
A Court of Throne and Roses
Myth Adventures Series
The Magnus Chase Series
Queen of Tearling Series
The Arc of Scythe
Flavia de Luce Mysteries
Darker Shade of Magic
Peculiar Crimes Unit
Looking Glass Wars
For today, my Frighteningly Good Read recommendation is The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Beginning with A Discovery of Witches, adventuring through Shadow of Night and culminating in Book of Life, the adventures of Diana the Witch and her Vampire soul mate Matthew were thrilling and fascinating. And, since it is soon to be a BBC television series (*squeal!*) it is right at the front of my mind this Halloween season.
Much like Diana Galbadon’s sweeping historical fiction series Outlander, Deborah Harkness utilizes fascinating historical details to bring the story depth. This is not a surprise, really, since Ms. Harkness is a historian herself. I quite enjoy that she describes herself as, “A history profession who tumbled down the rabbit-hole and wrote the Internationally best selling All Souls Trilogy.”
If you follow my blog then you know that, for me, it is often the supporting characters that take a book from enjoyable to obsess-able. And All Souls Trilogy has a cast of supporting characters that I adored. A tremendous time is spend on Diana and Matthew and their budding (forbidden!) romance. But, I loved the Demons in the books, the third category of non-humans who were incredibly and diversely talented. They reminded me of all the wonderfully productive adults I knew who were told to “slow down” as children.
I appreciated that there were several LGBTQA+ characters in the book including Diana’s adoring aunts. I also revealed in the rich addition of history and scenic details. To be in a library like the ones Diana visits is a dream of mine. Visiting them through this book is as close as I am going to get this year.
Several reviewers have called this Twilight for grownups. There may be some truth to this but I would add that it is a smarter, stronger and more grownup story. And I liked Twilight! I will say that there is a scene that involves all three magical species together practicing Yoga. I enjoyed the scene but it appears to be the Jar-Jar Binks of this book. If you can accept that Witches, Demons and Vampires might get together in a human-free environment and downward facing dog then the rest of the series will be magical.
So, the FGR for today is really this delightful trilogy. I don’t know when the BBC plans to give us the television version but it is going to be difficult to top these books! Well, Matthew Goode as Vampire Matthew might help.
Tell me, please!
How much would you love doing yoga with a bunch of supernatural beings?
Kate Klise and Sarah Klise are sisters who have written and illustrated more than 30 books. Most of their books are written for children ages 7-10. But like most good fiction of this level, their stories are an absolute delight to read as an adult. My favorite of all their books is the 43 Old Cemetery Road series.
This series is filled with humor for all ages. I found myself laughing out loud as I explained to a second grader some of the puns and funny names! The drawings are intricate and whimsical. I really enjoy the cast of characters we meet and get to know through letters and articles written back and forth. And the story line and mystery is always adorable!
The first book is Dying to Meet You. It introduces the reader to a whole cast of main characters. Seymour Hope, 11 year old son of the absent Les and Diane Hope, can see ghosts and has been left behind at 43 Old Cemetery Road while his parents travel through Europe. Ignatius B. Grumply (I.B. Grumply) is a writer of some fame who is struggling through writer’s block and has rented 43 Old Cemetery Road to try and publish a new book. The rental agreement tricks Ignatius into caring for Seymour. Little does he know that the house also has a resident ghost, Olive C. Spence, included in the price!
As the series moves along the main characters meet new people and conquer new problems by working together. This would be an easy book to read all at once or a chapter at a time, depending on the age of the reader. Also, I like how much visual information there is to enjoy – not just drawings but different handwriting and newspaper clippings – that make the book special. Personally, I sat down and swiftly consumed all seven one right after the other. I have Serious Series Love for 43 Old Cemetery Road!
Tell me, please!
Have you ever read a series intended for children that you just couldn’t put down?
This is my go-to recommendation to any and all ages, especially in the summertime. Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series is based on the ingenious premise that mythical creatures are gathered into a hidden refuge. The sanctuary is guarded by magic and age old covenants. It is overseen by caretakers. The preserve is called Fablehaven and the caretakers are Kendra and Seth Sorensen’s grandparents.
When Kendra and Seth (ages 11 and 13) have to visit their Grandparents at their (ahem) farm over summer, they are prepared for utter boredom. Instead they are witness to the awe that is trolls, fairies, witches and so much more. But, Fablehaven only remains relatively safe when rules are followed. When a rule is broken, evil is unleashed.
As the series develops, the problems and perils become more interesting and dire. From the introduction of the world of book one, Fablehaven, through the conclusion of the series in book 5, Keys to the Demon Prison, the action becomes more intense. Written in an engaging and intelligent style this is a book that I feel confident in recommending.
These are the covers of the books that I own. When I was looking through Brandon Mull’s website I noticed that there are updated covers and the wonderful Caretakers Guide to Fablehaven. The guide is an nice addition if you adore the series. I love paging through it and looking at the illustrations of the items and creatures found in the world of Fablehaven. Kendra and Seth have even gone through and added their own notes. However, it is definitely a book I would leave for after you have read the series since it inherently includes spoilers.
At the end book five Brandon Mull wrote that Fablehaven was officially concluded and there would be no additional books for the series. However, he did say he would be happy to revisit the world and the characters. He has done so in the recently published (and fantastic) Dragonwatch. I will be reviewing it very soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t already enjoyed the series, I invite you to visit Fablehaven this summer.
I read the first of this series by accident. I picked it up years and years ago intending to read the wonderful Half Magic by Edward Eager but I got flustered at the library and couldn’t remember the name of the book. This was 2005 or 2006 and long before I had a smartphone so I couldn’t just Google it. So, I grabbed Magyk by Angie Sage because I didn’t want to walk away empty handed. When I got home and read it I became totally absorbed in the story and immediately purchased my own copy and then I had to wait while she wrote more books!
And write she did. This seven book series features the family Heap. The father of this brood is Silas and he is the seventh son. As Magyk begins his wife Sarah is busy delivering their seventh child after six boys. If anyone has read any magical books then you know that the seventh son of a seventh son is foretold to be deeply magical.
I don’t really feel that I can tell you much more about the plot without spoiling some delightful moments. I can say that the series features both strong male and female characters. Some characters are brave, some are intelligent and many are just pure of heart.
Cover of green locked book titled Flyte with Gold of Embelishments
The cover of a brown book with symbols titled Physik.
A red book with hand stitched binding titled Queste. There are stones and a blue ribbon closure.
An ocean blue book with a potion bottle on the front titled Syren
A dull brown book with a metal box on the cover titled Darke.
A bright red book with a dragon boat on the front and a golden pyramid titled Fyre
I recommended these books to a friend and she was completely thrown off by one detail. Throughout the books there are words in bold (like magyk or flyte). I assume the author intended this to have a dual purpose. First, these are magical words. Second, (and I am assuming here) it is to be clear to a younger reader that these magical words are purposely spelled incorrectly. My friend did not care for this at all but it did not bother me one bit.
There are two other books by Angie Sage that are related to the series but not quite included in the timeline of the “Septimus Heap” stories. The first is The Darke Toad which tells a seperate story of the eldest Heap child. The The Magykal Papers is an additional fun book that includes maps, journals, and a variety of tidbits about the Castle.
A dark purple book cover with a frog shaped door knocker on the cover. Title is Darke Toad.
A golden book cover with a city set in an oval on the front cover. Title Magical Papers.
If, after you have read all nine of these books you still want more, you can find a glorious treasure trove of information on Septimus Heap’s website. There you can use the magykal name generator, play magykal anagrams or look up some spells and tips. You can also see the book trailer for new books by Angie Sage which are all set in Septimus’s world, The Todhunter Moon trilogy.
Angie Sage has created such a complete world for Septimus that when I re-read the books, which I often do, I feel like I am visiting old friends. I hope you take a chance and check out this series (on purpose). If you forget the name of the series, just remember, I think they are Magykal.