Hello, sweet strangeling!

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangeling Bookclub you got an email from me earlier this week telling you what next month’s book is but in case you haven’t joined yet or you’re an honorary member get ready because next month’s book is probably my favorite one of the year and that’s really saying something.

It’s A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and it’s SO good. Here’s a little taste: 

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate or die. The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

If you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on joining the book club this is the right time. It’s just dark enough for a Halloween book, but not really scary and it is so wonderfully written I couldn’t put it down. In fact, after I finished it I immediately bought several of Naomi’s other books because she just became one of my new favorite authors. I realize a lot of you are rolling your eyes at me because you already love her and I am late to this party. Better late than never.  

And I always suggest a bonus book in case one isn’t enough for the month (I feel you – books are keeping me sane right now) so may I recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, which comes out in a few weeks? (France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.) It’s really lovely and I highly recommend it. A sort of tragic, romantic fairy tale that sprawls over hundreds of years.

Have you started this month’s book, Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard DaughterDid you love it? I’m opening the discussion here and on Facebook if you’ve finished it but as always, no rush! The discussion post will stay up on my blog and the fantastic strangelings facebook page so you can always lurk or drop in whenever you want in the future. 

You have no idea how much your support helps an authors and publishers and indie stores, especially during these times when bookshops aren’t able to fully open.

I super crazy love you guys. I can’t say thank you enough for supporting Nowhere Bookshop. But I can try.

Thank you.

33 thoughts on “Hello, sweet strangeling!

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I just got The Boneshard Daughter today (Canada) so yes. That’s what I’m doing this weekend. 😂😂😂

  2. Alas, I’m #84 in line with the Chicago Public Library’s copies so it’ll be a while. But that’s OK because I’m only #5 on The Bone Shard Daughter’s list!

  3. So here are my thoughts on The Bone Shard’s Daughter…


    I loved this book. I thought the prose was so well-done and I loved all the pearls of wisdom tucked into the pages. I’m not always a giant fan of fantasy but this one really grabbed me. It was like a Game of Thrones but less rapey and with few enough characters that I didn’t have to keep asking Victor who everyone was.

    Personally I wanted a whole spin-off book of just Jovis and Mephi and when I was about about halfway through the book I told Victor that if Mephi dies I would burn the whole house down. He had no idea what I was talking about but he’s used to that sort of thing when I’m sucked into a good book.

    The first time I read the book I thought it was about revolutions…political, personal and those that we wage inside ourselves…and it felt very timely. But the second time I read it I thought it was more about identity and personal responsibility. I noticed that a single line was repeated in the book at least a dozen times: “Who are you?” It reminded me that we are all constructs in a way…of our past, and of the people and places who made us, but no matter where we come from we have the free will to make our own paths and decisions…ones that affect so many others. So many of the characters thought they were one thing because they told themselves the story of who they were or were told the story by others but in the end each of them realized they were not just one thing…a smuggler, a daughter, a commoner, a kitten, a leader. It was an interesting book on the power of decisions and how they affect us all.

    I loved that it ended open so that it can pick up with the next book (fingers crossed) but that it’s still enough of an ending that I was fine if that’s the last book. It reminded me of the end of Princess Bride. Finished and unfinished.

    The only thing I wish that there had been more of an ending to is Emahla’s story. I’m assuming from the end that she was used to create Lin since Jovis said she had her eyes but it’s possible that she’s one of the people at the end of the endless sea that was used as a construct and finally got her memory back.

    Overall, I really liked this book. It was, as Mephi would say, “Very good”.

  4. Jenny, I love you & I’ll read your books backwards and forwards, multiple times a year. I wish the book club books weren’t quite so — I dunno, gothic? weird? futuristic? sci fi? Will there be other tomes? I’m just not in to that kind of book, although I know many of your readers are!!!

    (I think they’ll all have some level of weird but a different kind of weird. 🙂 Here’s a secret: November’s book is nonfiction. ~ Jenny)

  5. I’m looking forward to getting the new book (and yes, I have The Boneshard Daughter ready…), but I just double-checked, and I never got an email this week. 🙁

  6. I’ve been reading Naomi Novik since Spinning Silver which is still my all time favorite. You go down rabbit holes with her and stay there happily forever.

  7. Oh I LOVE the Temeraire books! My husband does as well… he turned me onto Naomi Novik. Those books are the Napoleonic Wars but with dragons. He also commissioned a stained glass Temeraire for me for Christmas, which I adore.

  8. Unfortunately, my eyes prevent me from reading paper books. (Mourn now). I do all my reading on Kindle, so actually pay less than the Club. I would like to find someone who can’t afford the membership price and gift them.. I don’t know anyone, do you?
    Haven’t read the book yet, I was finishing two others first.

  9. This looks great, but I am already 2 books behind plus the new Allie Brosh book that I preordered elsewhere (sorry, but you didn’t have it 😞) & forgot was coming. Guess I should get off my phone and get reading!!!😁

  10. Darnit, Jenny. I have so many books I need to read they are literally piled on the floor all over my room, and now I’ve ordered two more – Deadly Education, *and* I pre-ordered Broken! At least Broken doesn’t arrive until April. I appreciate you making such great suggestions, but people are calling me a hoarder. I try to tell them it’s not hoarding if it’s books, but they don’t believe me! Soon, I’m going to need to open my own bookstore to control this mess of dead trees and ink!

  11. Ahhhh the Temeraire books are GREAT! Also LOVED Spinning Silver. Can’t wait to read this one! My budget it library-based so I won’t get to read this new one with the book club but I’m really looking forward to when it is my turn on the hold list.

  12. I would love to be in the club, but my budget says no at this time. I’m going to see if our school library has it and I’ll try to join the discussion when l can. Jenny, you make me smile when I’m having dark days and l know you bring so much happiness to so many. Thank you for just being you.

  13. I’m now excited. I have problems reading these days, I used to read voraciously. This past year or so I’ve been listening to books instead, which works because I can wear headphones and shut out distractions. So, I haven’t joined the book club, but I check out the books each time to see if they interest me – this one does, and I hit the jackpot because it comes out as an audiobook here on Tuesday. So thanks for the book recommendation and a new author who sounds right up my street.

  14. I just finished The Bone Shard Daughter last night and I loved it! Which btw means that I super trust you with book recommendations and I’m now a member of the book club! I fell in love with Mephi – he makes such a great guide in the story. He kind of reminds me of Yoda. The underlying theme of identity and the story we tell ourselves and how we ultimately have control over that story was so well threaded through the book. I’m curious about the people on Maila Isle – there’s so much more to tell there. They started out as people stolen from other islands (right?) so they’re not completely constructs (or are they?). What experiments were done on them by the Emporor? Sand is convinced that she’s Nisong, but she can’t be. It has to be the memory machine gone wrong. Is the island a holding place for parts? Or is it for constructs that didn’t work? They arrive in such great numbers I’m thinking it’s more of a holding place. Would Lin have ended up there? Are there more that think they are Nisong? I thought for sure that Sand was Emahla. Maybe she still is, with the memories of Nisong. Although her eyes being in Lin kaboshes that theory. And what of the storyline of Jovis providing intel to the Shardless Few for the overtaking of the emperor? With Lin in charge, surely that won’t be necessary because she has the same goals as the governors, to bring equality and peace to the empire. Will she return everyone’s unused shards to them? The awakening of the Alanga artifacts reminds me of the Blink episode in Dr Who. I love that! It’s so creepy and scary and exciting! I’m looking forward to the next books in the series. I clearly have so many unanswered questions.

  15. Well, I have resisted the club so far, but that sounds so good, I’m joining! And I ordered the Schwab book at the same time, since it also sounds great. My birthday is in October, why not celebrate with books? (And yarn, but I’ll get that elsewhere.)

  16. I haven’t been participating in the book club much but I might have to at least join in discussion on here for the next one. The Schwab book a preordered ages ago. Can’t wait to read it!

  17. Any chance that you will open the book club to overseas members? Would be happy to pay the extra postage! PS I LOVE YOU

  18. Is there a place on the Nowhere Bookshop page with a list of all the FS book picks? I tried searching but didn’t find. It would be super nice for those of us who are reading out of order thanks to local libraries to quickly find what we’ve missed.

  19. Am I the ONLY person that heard Scholomance and went “In the Western Plaguelands? Home of the undead?” I am? …does no one else play World of Warcraft anymore???

  20. I hope you enjoy Uprooted as much as I did. That was the book that got me interested in Naomi’s work

  21. I am a bit of a delicate flower, so I can’t read anything horror, or anything that isn’t relatively gentle, but the V.E. Schwab book looks perfect.

  22. Jenny, please please please get a copy of Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen. Best book ever and i bet you would love it and make it a book selection and then lots of people would get to read it! Please.

  23. Leah, I used to play WoW and Scholomance was one of my favorite spots to die in, over and over and over…

    Jenny, you are an amazing woman, and i love your bookstore, even though I will probably never get to see it–or those owls–

    Have you ever included Peter Straub “Ghost Story” in your collection? I can honestly say it’s the only book that has ever truly scared me.

  24. Well, I have resisted the club so far, but that sounds so good, I’m joining! And I ordered the Schwab book at the same time, since it also sounds great. My birthday is in October, why not celebrate with books? (And yarn, but I’ll get that elsewhere.)

  25. I’ve now read nine of the first 12 book club selections, and this is the first and only one I couldn’t read past the first chapter. I joined the book club to force myself out of my comfort zone, but apparently my dislike of high fantasy transcended my good intentions. However, I am a high school librarian, and teenagers seem to love fantasy novels, so I’m taking my copy to work and donating it to my library, as I know I’ll have students who will enjoy it. Just two more to go until I’m caught up with Year 1! 🙂

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