The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

>“Dear You,
The body you are wearing used to be mine.”
So begins the wonderfully imaginative debut novel The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. Myfanwy (pronounced like “Tiffany”) Thomas opens her eyes to find herself standing in a park in the rain surrounded by bodies wearing latex gloves. She finds two letters addressed to herself in her coat pockets containing instructions for how to either slide herself into the life of the old Myfanwy Thomas, the previous owner of the body, or how to run and begin a new life for herself with a new name. Myfanwy obviously chooses to stay and take up the responsibilities and life of Thomas (as she calls the old owner of the body), which turn out to be complicated and very surprising. Thomas was a “Rook,” one of eight heads of the organization known as the Checquy that protects the United Kingdom from supernatural threats. Someone was obviously trying to remove Thomas from the picture and Myfanwy is saddled not only with the challenge of quickly learning how to run a secret organization and control the supernatural powers she inherited along with her body but also with the task of sussing out the conspiracy behind her memory loss and how the increasing number of supernatural attacks since she woke up in the park is related to her existance.

This is a totally enthralling, complex, and darkly humorous debut that should appeal to readers who enjoy Jim Butcher or Neil Gaiman.

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

>This story was taken from the legends of old, when it was believed that children were stolen and replaced with a changeling. The poem, “The Stolen Child” by William Butler Yeats, was Keith Donahue’s inspiration for this book. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue is told in alternating voices by the child who was stolen (Aniday) and the changeling (Henry Day) who took his place. Aniday, now a changeling, will always live in a 7 year old body. Henry Day, now a human, will have to remember to change his body as he “grows”. They both strive to live the best life they can, but both of them live with the memories that haunt them. Aniday misses his mother, father, and twin sisters. He wonders about the life he would have had in the human world. Henry Day is concerned about being convincing enough in his new life to fool his new family & friends into believing that he is indeed the real Henry Day. He has dreams in this new world about a past life somewhere far away. It is a hauntingly moving story that just may have you looking over your shoulder and keeping a closer eye on your children, especially as you near the woods.

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

>Chloe Hobbs doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. She lives in and owns a knitting shop in the small town of Sugar Maple, Vermont, a town populated by fairies, vampires, werewolves and the like, she is the daughter of a sorceress, but she is the only human resident of Sugar Maple. Chloe comes from a long line of sorceresses who have protected the town from prying eyes and kept the peace in town for hundreds of years. The fact that Chloe is completely human is a big problem because the protection spells on the town are starting to fade and the town’s first homicide brings scrutiny and a police officer, Luke MacKenzie, sent to investigate the crime.

Sparks start to fly between Chloe and Luke (literally) as Chloe’s powers start to appear. The arrival of her powers isn’t necessarily the welcome event she thought it would be, though. A power-hungry town resident wants the book the women of Chloe’s family pass down from mother to daughter, and she is willing to do just about anything to get it. Casting Spells will pull you in with an exciting mystery, quirky romance and unique mixture of knitting story with urban fantasy.

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

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Ciara Griffin, a con artist trying to go straight, gets a job as a publicist for a radio station. The DJs are all somewhat strange, appearing to be stuck in a particular era and tending to only appear at night. She tries to increase listeners by changing the call letters to WVMP and playing up a vampire theme, but that backfires when some listeners make it clear that they know she isn’t joking. Soon she is becoming more informed about the vampire world than anyone would wish to be, and her protector, grunge-era DJ Shane, may not be able to save her. Wicked Game contains some of the gore and suspense that one expects from an urban fantasy novel, but with a light and humorous twist.