Book Review – Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: May 31st, 2005

Pages: 331

Rating:

fourstarclear

Seventeen year old Kaye has had a particularly challenging life. From not fitting in (and even her best friend thinking her head is always in the clouds), to moving around often and having a fairly dysfunctional family life, Kaye has to balance undue adult responsibilities with being a teenager who no one quite understands. Kaye’s mom is a struggling musician with a creep for a boyfriend. A fight with the boyfriend causes Kaye and her family to uproot from the city and go back home to grandma’s house in New Jersey.

tithe cover

Kaye tries to fit in with her old best friend Janet again, though it’s been years since they’ve seen each other. As Kaye mingles with Janet’s new crowd of friends, she discovers that there’s still something about her that is a bit off kilter from the rest of the group. Janet remember’s Kaye’s fascination with the fairy (fae) friends (Gristle, Lutie-Loo, and Spike) that occupied much of Kaye’s free time. Because Kaye wasn’t even a teenager when she first left Jersey, she doesn’t doubt it when her friends and family suggest her fae friends were simply a part of her active imagination. Still, upon returning to Jersey, Kaye couldn’t help but think about her old fairy companions.

Now years older, Kaye learns that her ability to talk to and see the fairies is no mistake, she has a true connection to their world. Kaye is a changeling, an immortal who was swapped at birth with a human baby. Kaye’s role in the fairy world is significant, she is to be a sacrifice, the “tithe” that will allow the Unseelie court to bind solitary fae folk to the Unseelie court’s queen.

Through Black’s Fae world, we explore the ideas of the Seelie and Unseelie courts. While these historically accurate titles are adapted to Black’s world, the sense of light vs dark is noticeable. While the Seelie Court is not perfect, the Unseelie Court is downright scary. Black’s descriptions of the Unseelie are brutal and eerily mysterious. Many scenes read like something out of a Tim Burton film.

Tithe explores friendship, personal growth, and fantasy in a fast paced package. Kaye is in no way perfect, she has troubling family issues, yet she always seems to keep her head above water. From her unique appearance to her complicated friendships and the weight of knowing her role in the fae world will affect everyone.

Fans of Amanda Hocking and Marissa Meyer (read my review of Meyer’s Cinder here) who haven’t read Black’s work should enjoy this novel. While Tithe was published years before Hocking and Meyer’s popular works, the same light hearted, fun fantasy and paranormal elements are here. Like so many other fantastic female leads in YA novels, Kaye is the type of character we NEED in YA novels. She doesn’t always know how she’s going to accomplish her goals, but she marches forward, determined to succeed.

I’m curious to see what Tithe’s follow-up novel Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales #2) has to offer. (John Green’s reference to this second novel played a large part in peeking my interest in reading Tithe in the first place.)

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January 2016 Book Haul

The first book haul of the year! I don’t plan to do a haul each month, but I’m not going to say that it isn’t possible that new books may sneak their way onto my shelves each month. This month I have a good mix of both print and ebooks (yay Kindle!) to share with you. While I noticed that many of them have a similar theme (suspense, family, mothers), I am happy to say that each of these books were purchased because I was simply browsing and couldn’t leave without them. Two books on this list I’d planned to buy, but I still lingered over them for a while before clicking that ever so tempting “1-click” button. Lets dive into what’s on the list for this haul.

Tithe

tithe cover

As I mentioned in my TBR list for this month, I grabbed this book because of two things: it’s been highly recommended and the cover is awesome. Bonus – Fae. Who doesn’t love a good YA fantasy novel? I am really hoping this will be one of those books that just sucks me in and lets me get lost inside the story for a couple of days. It usually doesn’t take me long to read books of this nature when they’re as well written as everyone says this is.

Before I Go to Sleep

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This was another book that I mentioned in my TBR list as being something I have been looking forward to reading for quite some time. While the initial idea of the story has always intrigued me (a woman who has amnesia and while journalling in an attempt to regain her memory, discovers she told her future self  to not trust her husband), I always just let this one sit on the back burner when I’d go into a store or look around on Amazon. This too I expect to be a quick read.

What Was Mine

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The cover and the title were what drew me to the print copy of this book when I was out shopping. While I’ve noticed that psychological thrillers from female authors are even more in demand than ever (thanks Flynn, Hawkins and others!), this one demanded attention. The story involves a woman named Lucy who takes a stranger’s baby while at a grocery store and raises the baby on her own without anyone knowing it wasn’t really her baby for twenty years. This story sounds like a great mix of suspense and literary fiction, something that’s almost too hard to imagine, yet keeps you reading despite your reservations. I am really curious to see what my feelings are about Lucy from beginning to end.

Reconstructing Amelia

ReconstructingAmelia

This book has been on my radar since I discovered McCreight’s second novel Where They Found Her. While this will be my first read from McCreight, I expect it to be intense. Reconstructing Amelia follows the story of a mother named Kate who is a lawyer with a daughter who attends a prestigious boarding school. When Kate finds out that her daughter is having behavior problems at school, she intervenes only to find out that her daughter is dead. As a Law and Order junkie, I can’t help but think Kate is going to be leaning hard on her legal system knowledge while simultaneously being engulfed in the grief hat only a parent who has lost a child can know.

The Night Sister

TheNightSisterCover

In Jennifer McMahorn’s The Night Sister, we are introduced to the eerie, mystery laden Tower Motel, located in London Vermont (hurray New England!). The abandoned tower caused a deep drift between three friends. When Amy, Margot and Piper were at the abandoned motel and found something that would change all of their lives, and their relationships with one another. While the story itself confirmed my decision to buy this book, it was the eerily haunting cover that lured me in. Something about it has that perfectly haunted, intimidating yet alluring quality that’s so hard to resist (and rarely disappointing). I don’t get around to reading horror novels as often as I’d like, so this should be a real throwback to my younger reading days when the genre dominated my bookshelves.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Two awesome things about this purchase: it was on sale for really cheap, and it gets me back into the Harry Potter world. I somehow didn’t realize I didn’t already own this book until I picked up this copy and was browsing through it. I didn’t start reading the Harry Potter series until I was in college (thanks to my amazing first roommate who had a non-HP intervention on me). Incase you aren’t aware, this book catalogues all the Fantastic Beasts and gives all the info you could want. With so much of an awesome focus on personal development in the HP series, I just couldn’t pass this one up.
That’s all for this book haul. Did you pick up any books this month? Did you get any awesome bookish gifts over the holiday season? If you have any opinions about these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

January 2016 TBR

It’s a new year, time for new reading goals and habits! While I haven’t done a TBR in quite a while, I want to get back in the habit of reading consistently. I never stopped reading, it just wasn’t getting as much attention as I’d have liked in 2015.

 

My goals for this month are modest as I want to make sure my goal is something realistic. Here we go:

Jan 16 TBR 1

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale/Modern Faerie Tales #1

 

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: YA

Pages: 336

I first heard about this book on YouTube thanks to John Book Giving Guide video on the Vlogbrothers channel (though he references the second novel, Valiant). Since then, it appears that everyone else has read this (supposedly fantastic) novel so I had to buy it. Plus, I’m a sucker for amazing covers like this one.

Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel

 

Author: S.J. Watson

Publisher:  Harper Paperbacks

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Published: 2012

Pages: 368

I first heard about this from a vlogger in the BookTube realm a couple of years ago. From what I recall, she wasn’t an enormous fan of the genre, but was gifted the book and fell in love with the story. I know there’s a film adaptation from 2014 with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, so I may just watch the movie after reading the book and do a comparison post. I’m expecting to love this. Nothing gets me like a good suspense/mystery novel.

Beyond the Painting

Author: Masood Vahdani

Publisher: Partridge Press (Penguin Random House)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 125

This is a YA novel that Vahdani kindly sent me to review over  on WOTN that I haven’t got to yet. Shame on me. Beyond the Painting is a dark YA fantasy story surrounding vampires and relationships. From the promising reviews and description Vahdani gave me, this story deals with vampires though thankfully, they aren’t the overly exhausted whimsical kind. While I enjoyed Twilight when it was happening (remember, Faulkner said to read everything), I get where everyone is “over” the vampire thing. Still, I’m intrigued by the idea of this story. YA fantasy done right is always a win for me. I’m curious to see if this lives up to my expectations.

While not technically part of my January TBR as I just finished it (and started in December), here’s a bonus read:

And Again

Author: Jessica Chiarella

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 320

This isn’t technically part of my January TBR because I finished it at the beginning of the month, but it’s worth your attention. I was lucky enough to be sent this as an advanced reading copy (ARC) late last year to review the piece for Word of the Nerd (if you aren’t aware, I write and edit there).  It comes out today and and was published by Simon and Shuster. You can read my review here if you want to hear my two cents. Quick opinion: this book will haunt you in all the best ways.

What are your reading goals for this month? Do you find TBR piles helpful?

Tell me what January releases have you running to the bookstore.