Posts Tagged fantasy

book review: The Faerie Handbook

faerie handbook

The Faerie Handbook by Carolyn Turgeon and the editors of Faerie Magazine. Harper Design| November 2017| 240 pages | $35.00| ISBN: 9780062668110

RATING: ****/5*

“The Faerie Handbook is for all those fairy lovers who want a delicious escape, who see that old-world oak with its moss-grown trunk, who love to read poetry and sip herbal tea on a fainting couch on a rainy afternoon in front of a fire, or walk in long dresses over dewy lawns, feeling the wet grass on their feet and watching the light break over the landscape.”

This striking and elaborate book might be the perfect gift for that fairy enthusiast you know. Popular fairy characters include Tinker Bell (Peter Pan), Galadriel (The Hobbit), Glinda the Good Witch (The Wizard of Oz) and Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood). The Faerie Handbook is divided into four parts: Flora & Fauna; Fashion & Beauty; Art & Culture; and Home, Food & Entertaining.  In Flora & Fauna, there’s a list of fairy world inhabitants with descriptions of dwarves [“Dwarves were a powerful people who would be appalled to know they’ve been named for their allergies, shyness, unpleasant demeanor, or lack of intelligence.”], gnomes, pixies, leprechauns and others. There’s a section on herbs and flowers. On clover: “Fairies are attracted to clover, so if you come across a field of it, be on the watch for a fluttering of wings.” On wild thyme: “A patch of thyme was traditionally set aside in herb gardens for the fairies to live in, somewhat like birdhouses are placed in the garden today.” In Fashion & Beauty, there’s details about shoes, clothes, fragrances, bathing and more. In Art & Culture section there’s a part about Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream— “While Shakespeare drew from multiple sources for the play, mainly folk beliefs and medieval romance, most of the main plot was wholly imagined, which was unusual for him. And his romantic, diminutive fairies almost immediately became a convention of literature.” There are also sections on Victorian fairy painting, changelings and the Cottingley fairy hoax. In Home, Food, & Entertaining, you’ll find recipes for flower lollipops, lavender shortbread cookies, honey ricotta tart, frosted cranberries and fairy teacakes. There are sections on edible flowers, fairy drinks, hosting fairy-themed parties. There’s a section on artist and author Tasha Tudor— “Although the main subject of the books she wrote were her dolls and her beloved pet corgi dogs (regarded in Welsh folklore as a gift of woodland fairies, with markings on their flanks from fairy saddles), the curious blending of the natural and supernatural worlds in her life seeped into her writing and illustrations.” DIY throughout the handbook with instructions on crafting fairy furniture, flower pressing, making a fairy terrarium, making a fairy flower crown, making fairy dust and creating an arbor.

The Faerie Handbook includes four-color photographs and illustrations, silver foil patterning on full book cover, silver foil book edges and a satin bookmark.

Faerie Magazine is a quarterly magazine with a readership of 28, 000 and nearly 2 million followers on Facebook.

Carolyn Turgeon is editor-in-chief of Faerie Magazine. She’s the author of five books: Rain Village; Godmother; Mermaid; The Next Full Moon; and The Fairest of Them All.

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Harper Collins.

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book review: Veracity

Title: Veracity
Author: Laura Bynum
ISBN: 978-1439123348
Pages: 384
Publisher: Pocket (January 5, 2010)
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Review source: Simon and Schuster/ Pocket Books
Rating: 2/5

Every few years, it’s another go. Another test to see if we’re ready. If we’ve been able to put aside our emotions, like computers, and read a scene properly, without the filter of compassion. With our eyes as well as our ears, in real time, and without the crutch of playback.

When I first read Veracity‘s description, I thought it would be a creepy, fascinating imagination of 2045. The concept of this government with ludicrous rules on language and decorum starts out strong in the first 100 or so pages and then it grows tiresome. I really enjoyed learning about the new government and its rules and control but Veracity needed editing. In 2012, a pandemic spread throughout the world and eliminated most of its inhabitants—basically ridding the world of the weak. Now in 2045, there are banned words, no books, little education, no emotions and Big Brother is literally in the head of each inhabitant. Everyone is implanted with a chip that keeps track of things they say and do [there are Red-Lists of illegal words] and if something is done that the government dislikes, those people are swiftly erased. Sex and drugs [doled out and controlled by the government]placate the people. It’s a miserable existence but no one has a choice or knows any different. Harper Adams, whose daughter Veracity was taken from her early on by the government, and she was chosen to be a Monitor for the government. She has control over deciding whether someone is guilty or innocent and she deals out punishment. Harper also has special powers: she can read people’s thoughts and feelings through an aura of color that surrounds them. She’s integral to the government. One day the government Red-Lists the name of Harper’s daughter Veracity and she soon turns to an underground resistance group where the people who run it have names like Lazarus, Ezra and Noah and follow a banned book called The Book of Noah. This part just drew on too much religious philosophy for me. They had books and dictionaries but I couldn’t get behind the choices of names as the leaders for this resistance movement as if 2012 is the end of the world and this is a new beginning to some degree. I quickly lost interest. Some blurbs compared it to 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not sure what book these reviewers read but I ended up being disappointed by Veracity. The promising premise behind Veracity quickly became too drawn out and slow. I didn’t care if the resistance regained control over the government or whether Harper reunited with her daughter or not.

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