Children's, Fairytales, Fantasy, Folktales, Magical, Women, Young Adult

Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman


The start of a swoony, high-energy duology that Emily Lloyd-Jones, author of The Bone Houses, calls “reminiscent of classic fairytales yet brimming with a charm all its own.”

“A world of glimmering fae that sparkles with mystery, adventure, and enchantment.” —Andrew Joseph White, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Followed with Us

Iselia “Seelie” Graygrove looks just like her twin, Isolde…but as an autistic changeling left in the human world by the fae as an infant, she has always known she is different. Seelie’s unpredictable magic makes it hard for her to fit in—and draws her and Isolde into the hunt for a fabled treasure. In a heist gone wrong, the sisters make some unexpected allies and find themselves unraveling a mystery that has its roots in the history of humans and fae alike.

Both sisters soon discover that the secrets of the faeries may be more valuable than any pile of gold and jewels. But can Seelie harness her magic in time to protect her sister and herself?

“Housman’s stunning debut is the sort of love letter only an autistic author could write. Fae canon has been waiting for this one.” —H.E. Edgmon, author of The Witch King

My Thoughts

The author provides an informative and thought-provoking introduction to Unseelie where she discusses what it’s like to be a changeling. Ivelisse Housman, you see, is autistic. She presents an interesting case for the changelings – those unusual beings well-known in folklore as fairy children who have replaced human children – having been children with autism whose differences made them part of folklore.

In Unseelie, Housman has created a character who is different. Whose differences are acknowledged by her family, if not fully accepted, and who is loved unconditionally. Iselia or Seelie as she is called throughout the book, doubts herself and feels responsible for bad things that happened to her family. In Housman’s hands, though, Seelie becomes powerful as she accepts who she is and what she can do.

The story follows many of the familiar themes in folklore – there’s a quest, a treasure, and a band of misfits who battle powerful forces. There is also a strong theme of family and friendship which provides the backbone upon which the story is built. And this is a cracking good story – imaginative, clever, and full of vivid description.

This is a beautiful and powerful story that will surely appeal to fans of fantasy and folklore of all ages. Appropriate for upper middle grade and older.

Publication Date: January 3, 2023
Published By: Inkyard Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Graphic Novel, Teens, Young Adult

Codex Black: A Fire Among the Clouds by Camila Mancada Lozano & Angel De Santiago

Guest post by Cathy Kyle

This was a great introduction to Aztec history and mythology which is rarely written about in comic books, especially those that are geared for teens. Teens have lots to read about Greek mythology, but as far as I know, Aztec mythology is underrepresented, which is a shame because this was fascinating. Many different Aztec words are used and the author made sure to include the definitions. I think this adds to its interest factor and the authenticity.

The story follows two teens: a girl named Donaji of Quie Yelaag and a boy named Itzcacalott, a Mexica warrior. They meet in the middle of the woods, while Donaji is attempting to find her father and Itzcacalott is trying to find himself in amongst all his fellow warriors. At first, their relationship was built mainly upon trying to get out of the woods, but then they become strong friends, which becomes important as they begin fighting beasts, thieves and malevolent gods.

What makes these two teens special? Donaji has a god living in her poncho (which used to be her dad’s). This godlike poncho makes Donaji stronger and more resistant to all sorts of illnessess, damages and poisons, but it doesn’t leave her free from harm. Excessive fighting depletes her energy quickly and she can die just like anyone else. Itzcacalott, who is obsessed with crows and creates a warrior costume out of shed wings, suddenly gets wings of his own, which helps in all of their battles.

The art is both light and dark. The illustrations of Donaji and Itzcacalott are both big eyed and smiling, while the evil characters are very dark and sometimes disturbing. Anyone interested in a headless creature with an open chest so you can view their heart? You’ll find it here.

This is a great read that I may not have otherwise picked up, so I was grateful for the opportunity. Recommended for graphic novel collections.

Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Published By: Penguin Random House
Thanks to the Publisher for the review copy


Lore by Alexandra Bracken

From the Publisher:

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.


Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

This new vision of the Greek gods and heroes is an imaginative, pulse-pounding tale for the 21st century. Drawing on a deep knowledge of the old gods and new knowledge of pretty much every action-adventure-quest video game out there, Alexandra Bracken has created a dangerous world where the players breathe loyalty and betrayal. The fact that the protagonist is a young woman who kicks ass makes this even more appealing.

The ass-kicking isn’t all that’s special about Lore, though. She’s got very human feelings and morals, believing that doing good for others is far more important than power. Like any good hero, she struggles with the concept of power throughout the story, and nearly perishes while trying to defend the city at the end.

This will appeal to readers who enjoy fast-paced action-adventure blended with mythology. Well done.

Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Published By: Hyperion
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy