Books, Books, Books!
Synopsis (lifted from here):

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen knows how to expertly dissect a brilliantly suspenseful story, all the while keeping fascinated readers riveted to her side. By turns darkly enthralling and relentlessly surprising, Keeping the Dead showcases an author at the peak of her storytelling powers. For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed ‘Madam X,’ the mummy‘“to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact‘“seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse‘“horrifying proof that this ‘centuries-old’ relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large‘“and is now taunting them.
Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering‘“or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.The twisted killer’s familiarity with post-mortem rituals suggests to Maura and Jane that he may have scientific expertise in common with Josephine. Only Josephine knows that her stalker shares a knowledge even more personally terrifying: details of a dark secret she had thought forever buried.Now Maura must summon her own dusty knowledge of ancient death traditions to unravel his twisted endgame. And when Josephine vanishes, Maura and Jane have precious little time to derail the Archaeology Killer before he adds another chilling piece to his monstrous collection.

Good - yes.
Gripping - yes.
Plausible - yes.
Page turner - yes,
Keeper - no
I do like Gerritsen. I just cannot be bothered to re-read her books. And if I don’t want to read a book again, why keep it?

Synopsis (lifted from here):

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen knows how to expertly dissect a brilliantly suspenseful story, all the while keeping fascinated readers riveted to her side. By turns darkly enthralling and relentlessly surprising, Keeping the Dead showcases an author at the peak of her storytelling powers.

For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed ‘Madam X,’ the mummy‘“to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact‘“seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse‘“horrifying proof that this ‘centuries-old’ relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.

To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large‘“and is now taunting them.

Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering‘“or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.

The twisted killer’s familiarity with post-mortem rituals suggests to Maura and Jane that he may have scientific expertise in common with Josephine. Only Josephine knows that her stalker shares a knowledge even more personally terrifying: details of a dark secret she had thought forever buried.

Now Maura must summon her own dusty knowledge of ancient death traditions to unravel his twisted endgame. And when Josephine vanishes, Maura and Jane have precious little time to derail the Archaeology Killer before he adds another chilling piece to his monstrous collection.

  • Good - yes.
  • Gripping - yes.
  • Plausible - yes.
  • Page turner - yes,
  • Keeper - no

I do like Gerritsen. I just cannot be bothered to re-read her books. And if I don’t want to read a book again, why keep it?

From the Cover:

Something peculiar is happening. Stockholm is unduring a heatwave, electrical appliances cannot be switched off and everyone has a blinding headache. Then the terrible news breaks - in the city morgue, the dead are waking…
David always knew his wife was far too good for him. But he never knew how lost be’d be without her until tonight when her car hit an elk. Now she’s one and he’s alone. But when he goes to identify her body, she begins to move. It’s terrifying, but it gives David a strange kind of hope.
Across the city, grieving families find themselves able to see their loved ones one last time. But are these creatures really them? How long can this last? And what does it all mean?
Handling the Undead is a thrilling, shocking and moving story about a love that can defy death from the acclaimed author of Let the Right One In.

I like the way Lindqvist writes. But he does not finish his stories in a way I like. Both Right One and Undead have endings that feel, to me, rushed. Tacked on because, damn it, books have to end somewhere.
Up to that point, an excellent read. After that point, a disappointment. I would recommend them anyway - you might like the endings, not feel dissatisfied the way I did. And the writing itself is superb.

From the Cover:

Something peculiar is happening. Stockholm is unduring a heatwave, electrical appliances cannot be switched off and everyone has a blinding headache. Then the terrible news breaks - in the city morgue, the dead are waking…

David always knew his wife was far too good for him. But he never knew how lost be’d be without her until tonight when her car hit an elk. Now she’s one and he’s alone. But when he goes to identify her body, she begins to move. It’s terrifying, but it gives David a strange kind of hope.

Across the city, grieving families find themselves able to see their loved ones one last time. But are these creatures really them? How long can this last? And what does it all mean?

Handling the Undead is a thrilling, shocking and moving story about a love that can defy death from the acclaimed author of Let the Right One In.

I like the way Lindqvist writes. But he does not finish his stories in a way I like. Both Right One and Undead have endings that feel, to me, rushed. Tacked on because, damn it, books have to end somewhere.

Up to that point, an excellent read. After that point, a disappointment. I would recommend them anyway - you might like the endings, not feel dissatisfied the way I did. And the writing itself is superb.

From the Cover:

All Kindan ever wanted was to become a Harper, singing and teaching the ballads of Pern, and he is thrilled when he becomes an Apprentice at the Harper Hall. But then he is offered the chance to attend a Hatching and succeeds in Impressing the magnificent bronze fire-lizard, Valla.
There he meets Koriana, daughter of Lord Holder Bemin of Fort Hold. She also Impresses, in her case a gold fire-lizard, and there is an instant attraction between her and Kindan. Unfortunately an Apprentice Harper is not considered a suitable consort for a Fort Holder’s daughter and they are quickly separated. Things go from bad to worse for Kindan when he is accused of starting a fire which destroys ancient and extremely precious Records. He is banished to Fort Hold in shame and dishonour, but his own worries soon pale into insignificance when a terrible plague starts to spread across Pern, killing nearly everyone infected. As it reaches Fort Hold, Kindan and the rest of Pern’s inhabitants know there very survival is in doubt.
a proper Pern novel… bodes well for future volumes - SFX on Dragonsblood

Marge Piercy wrote a poem, which I cannot remember nor track down, about how a writer only has so much creativity, so should bury poems in the garden, against the lean years.
And Anne McCaffrey was, for me, the embodiement of this poem. The Pern books, which I loved from the very first time I read Weyr Search as a short story that won the Hugo in the year of release, gradually got less and less involving and more and more formulaic.
This collaborative effort with her son, Todd (not the first nor the last!) is a true Pern book whilst also suffering from the fact that I have read so, so many Pern books. This has nothing new to offer, no real developmentof character nor a gripping story. Yet I will be getting more, and reading them. Just without the satisfaction that a really well written book gives.
Another beach / journey / quick pickup read.

From the Cover:

All Kindan ever wanted was to become a Harper, singing and teaching the ballads of Pern, and he is thrilled when he becomes an Apprentice at the Harper Hall. But then he is offered the chance to attend a Hatching and succeeds in Impressing the magnificent bronze fire-lizard, Valla.

There he meets Koriana, daughter of Lord Holder Bemin of Fort Hold. She also Impresses, in her case a gold fire-lizard, and there is an instant attraction between her and Kindan. Unfortunately an Apprentice Harper is not considered a suitable consort for a Fort Holder’s daughter and they are quickly separated. Things go from bad to worse for Kindan when he is accused of starting a fire which destroys ancient and extremely precious Records. He is banished to Fort Hold in shame and dishonour, but his own worries soon pale into insignificance when a terrible plague starts to spread across Pern, killing nearly everyone infected. As it reaches Fort Hold, Kindan and the rest of Pern’s inhabitants know there very survival is in doubt.

a proper Pern novel… bodes well for future volumes - SFX on Dragonsblood

Marge Piercy wrote a poem, which I cannot remember nor track down, about how a writer only has so much creativity, so should bury poems in the garden, against the lean years.

And Anne McCaffrey was, for me, the embodiement of this poem. The Pern books, which I loved from the very first time I read Weyr Search as a short story that won the Hugo in the year of release, gradually got less and less involving and more and more formulaic.

This collaborative effort with her son, Todd (not the first nor the last!) is a true Pern book whilst also suffering from the fact that I have read so, so many Pern books. This has nothing new to offer, no real developmentof character nor a gripping story. Yet I will be getting more, and reading them. Just without the satisfaction that a really well written book gives.

Another beach / journey / quick pickup read.

From the Cover

What’s more frightening than your next-door neighbours being murdered?
Finding out the killers went to the wrong house…
For the Cutter family the idea that they may have been the intended target seems crazy - but each of them has a secret they’d rather keep buried. What was on that old computer teenage Derek and his friend Adam Langley had salvaged? And where is it now? What hold does a local professor and bestselling author have on Eileen Cutter? And what does Jim Cutter know about Mrs Langley that even her husband didn’t?
To find out who killed the Langleys and why, everybody’s secrets are going to have to come out. But the final secret - the secret that could save them or destroy them - is in the one place nobody would ever think of looking…

Linwood has done it again. Another page turner, another surprise ending. Though I did not find this as interesting, nor as well written as No Time for Goodbye, it is still a good book that will keep you entertained on your journey, or at the beach, or during your lunch hour.
Recommended.

From the Cover

What’s more frightening than your next-door neighbours being murdered?

Finding out the killers went to the wrong house…

For the Cutter family the idea that they may have been the intended target seems crazy - but each of them has a secret they’d rather keep buried. What was on that old computer teenage Derek and his friend Adam Langley had salvaged? And where is it now? What hold does a local professor and bestselling author have on Eileen Cutter? And what does Jim Cutter know about Mrs Langley that even her husband didn’t?

To find out who killed the Langleys and why, everybody’s secrets are going to have to come out. But the final secret - the secret that could save them or destroy them - is in the one place nobody would ever think of looking…

Linwood has done it again. Another page turner, another surprise ending. Though I did not find this as interesting, nor as well written as No Time for Goodbye, it is still a good book that will keep you entertained on your journey, or at the beach, or during your lunch hour.

Recommended.

All the following resources available: GRoL include The Wind in the Willows, King Solomon’s Mines and Pride & Prejudice - I love finding on-line reading for those days when there is no work to be done at work. Reading a book looks bad when your boss walks in; reading on-line is not so obvious.

TRoL = Teacher Resources on Line = TRoL

SCoL = Specialist Calculators on Line = SCoL
80 of them to cover most needs.

GRoL = Good Reading on Line = GRoL

DUoL = Dictionary of Units = DUoL

A Mathematics Dictionary

A Mathematics Formulary
and
A Study Guide for the Formulary

Calendar Models
Make your own. Useful and attractive.

Pages of Puzzles

The Data Bank

More Reasons to read Stuffed & Starved

One of my favorite passages in Stuffed and Starved comes in the conclusion, when Patel takes a moment to skewer the fantasy of good consumerism:

The honey trap of ethical consumerism is to think that the only means of communication we have with producers is through the market, and that the only way we can take collective action is to persuade everyone else to shop like us. It alters our relationship to the possibility of social change. It makes us think we are consumers in the great halls of democracy, which we can pluck off the shelves in the shops. But we are not consumers of democracy. We are its proprietors. And democracy happens not merely when we shop, but throughout our lives.


But wait! there’s more!

The connection between those who eat and those who grow food cannot be measured in terms of brand loyalty points or dollars spent. To short-cut the food system, and to know the people who grow our food, is more than to broker a relationship between buyer and seller. It is to build a human contact that goes beyond a simple transaction and that recognizes certain kinds of commonality, certain kinds of subjugation, and struggles, fights, for an end to the systemic inequalities in power which shape the way rich and poor live today.
The food system, as we’ve seen, creates poverty at the same time as it produces an abundance of food. It fosters hunger and disease through its mechanisms of production and distribution. And it was forged in large measure because of the fear that urban workers and rural peasants would jump out of their social positions. That they would demand equality. The system was designed to siphon wealth from rural areas, with just enough redistributed to keep people quiet. But people acting, en masse, for equality, has been the only force that has changed the world. This is what makes food sovereignty far richer, and more enriching, than an ethical form of hedonism for those able to afford it.


Hells yeah. Patel has more on food sovereignty on his website along with suggestions for action (which DOES include shopping locally and sustainably, but doesn’t stop there).

Raj Patel’s Site

Half the world is malnourished, the other half obese - both symptoms of the corporate food monopoly. To show how a few powerful distributors control the health of the entire world, Raj Patel conducts a global investigation, traveling from the “green deserts”of Brazil and protester-packed streets of South Korea to bankrupt Ugandan coffee farms and barren fields of India. What he uncovers is shocking - the real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa, an epidemic of farmer suicides, and the false choices and conveniences in supermarkets. Yet he also finds hope — in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food system.

From seed to store to plate, Stuffed and Starved explains the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.

Washington Post Review:
If you think the biggest food problems you are ever likely to face are safety issues like outbreaks of salmonella (spinach in 2006, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers this summer) and the high cost of organic produce, you’re woefully naive.

Because, as Paul Roberts and Raj Patel will tell you, the food we eat is part of a global system, one made possible by international trade and transportation… Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

From the cover:


In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing — her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.
Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth — that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?
Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.



From Booklist
Finding your place in the world is no picnic at the best of times, but pixie changeling Kaye finds it tougher than most. And no wonder: her boyfriend has been crowned king of the Unseelie Court and her best friend suffers from a faery’s curse.
In this follow-up to Black’s previous two books about the urban fey, Kaye and her gay friend Corny (from Tithe, 2003) meet brothers Luis and Dave (from Valiant, 2005), and the teens are caught in the middle of a clash between the rival faery courts.
As characters struggle to shape their identities, quintessential coming-of-age themes are as skillfully interwoven as in the earlier adventures, as are seductive contradictions: faeries who cannot lie nonetheless find ways to connive and betray, loyalty and love are wielded as weapons, and ethereal beauty often masks cruelty of the ugliest sort.
The chilling game of wits culminates in a satisfying conclusion to this dark, edgy fantasy, a must-purchase for Black’s many devoted fans. Rutan, Lynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved - This text refers to the      Hardcover edition.
From Me:I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)
I actually read this before I read Ironside, but that wasn’t too much of a problem.
Found the teenage love angst a bit much to bear (maybe because I am 55 now, so those days are long gone!); otherwise an excellent read.
Highly recommend all three books.
Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…
Holly Black’s site
Publisher’s site, with a link to read Chapter One and Chapter 2

From the cover:

In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing — her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth — that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.

From Booklist

Finding your place in the world is no picnic at the best of times, but pixie changeling Kaye finds it tougher than most. And no wonder: her boyfriend has been crowned king of the Unseelie Court and her best friend suffers from a faery’s curse.
In this follow-up to Black’s previous two books about the urban fey, Kaye and her gay friend Corny (from Tithe, 2003) meet brothers Luis and Dave (from Valiant, 2005), and the teens are caught in the middle of a clash between the rival faery courts.
As characters struggle to shape their identities, quintessential coming-of-age themes are as skillfully interwoven as in the earlier adventures, as are seductive contradictions: faeries who cannot lie nonetheless find ways to connive and betray, loyalty and love are wielded as weapons, and ethereal beauty often masks cruelty of the ugliest sort.
The chilling game of wits culminates in a satisfying conclusion to this dark, edgy fantasy, a must-purchase for Black’s many devoted fans. Rutan, Lynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved - This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Me:
I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)

I actually read this before I read Ironside, but that wasn’t too much of a problem.

Found the teenage love angst a bit much to bear (maybe because I am 55 now, so those days are long gone!); otherwise an excellent read.

Highly recommend all three books.

Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…

Holly Black’s site

Publisher’s site, with a link to read Chapter One and Chapter 2

From the Cover:

When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she’s trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city’s labyrinthine subway system.


But there’s something eerily beguiling about Val’s new friends. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

From Booklist
An exile from the Seelie court, the hunky, sensitive troll Ravus resides in a secret laboratory inside the Manhattan Bridge, ministers to other city-dwelling faeries with healing potions, and has exotic golden eyes and jutting fangs.
Runaway Val meets the troll through a trio of homeless teens, runners in Ravus’ potion-distribution network. They introduce Val to subway squatting, Dumpster diving, and “Never” - the drug faeries use to protect themselves from iron, but which affects humans like heroin.
A twisted Agatha Christie-style plot unfolds as faery partakers of Never begin to expire, and Ravus is accused of murder; Val’s feelings for the troll prompt her to clean up her act and investigate the true poisoner. As in Black’s companion novel Tithe (2004), the plot matters far less than the exotic, sexy undercurrents (including a scene where Val overhears teens having sex), the deliciously overripe writing, and the intoxicating, urban-gothic setting, where “everything was strange and beautiful and swollen with possibilities.” Jennifer Mattson, Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved. This text refers to the      Hardcover edition.

From Me:I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)
Valiant is more grown up than Tithe, with a darker sub plot and a (not very tender) love story unfolding. The sections dealing with the runaways, and how they lived, were realistic and scary; even more so than the faerie themselves!
Highly recommend all three books.
Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…
Holly Black’s site
Publisher’s site, with a link to read The Prologue and Chapter One

From the Cover:

When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she’s trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city’s labyrinthine subway system.

But there’s something eerily beguiling about Val’s new friends. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

From Booklist

An exile from the Seelie court, the hunky, sensitive troll Ravus resides in a secret laboratory inside the Manhattan Bridge, ministers to other city-dwelling faeries with healing potions, and has exotic golden eyes and jutting fangs.
Runaway Val meets the troll through a trio of homeless teens, runners in Ravus’ potion-distribution network. They introduce Val to subway squatting, Dumpster diving, and “Never” - the drug faeries use to protect themselves from iron, but which affects humans like heroin.
A twisted Agatha Christie-style plot unfolds as faery partakers of Never begin to expire, and Ravus is accused of murder; Val’s feelings for the troll prompt her to clean up her act and investigate the true poisoner. As in Black’s companion novel Tithe (2004), the plot matters far less than the exotic, sexy undercurrents (including a scene where Val overhears teens having sex), the deliciously overripe writing, and the intoxicating, urban-gothic setting, where “everything was strange and beautiful and swollen with possibilities.” Jennifer Mattson, Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved. This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Me:
I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)

Valiant is more grown up than Tithe, with a darker sub plot and a (not very tender) love story unfolding. The sections dealing with the runaways, and how they lived, were realistic and scary; even more so than the faerie themselves!

Highly recommend all three books.

Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…

Holly Black’s site

Publisher’s site, with a link to read The Prologue and Chapter One

From the Cover:

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home.


There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms - a struggle that could very well mean her death.

From Publishers Weekly:
Tripping the dark fantastic with newcomer Black means pixie dust may very well include blood spatter, sharp thorns and bits of broken glass.
At the center of this edgy novel is Kaye Fierch, a 16-year-old “Asian blonde” who spends most of her time taking care of her would-be rock star mom. When her mom’s latest boyfriend turns homicidal, they return to Gram’s house at the New Jersey shore, where Kaye hooks up with childhood friend Janet and her gay brother, Corny Stone.
Stark images ripple through the third-person narrative, offering clues to Kaye’s internal state (e.g., “She loved the serene brutality of the ocean”). A covert sexual overture from Janet’s boyfriend precedes Kaye’s nighttime encounter at the edge of the woods, where she meets and rescues Roiben, a mysterious Black Knight with silver hair.
Throughout, the author subtly connects Kaye’s awakening sexual feelings in the real world and Roiben’s sudden appearances. Kaye soon discovers that she is a changeling-and that her one-time “imaginary” faerie playmates want her to pretend to be a human, so they can use her as the Tithe (“the sacrifice of a beautiful and talented mortal”) to earn their freedom for seven years. The author’s Bosch-like descriptions of the Unseelie Court, with its Rackham-on-acid denizens, and the exquisite faeries haunt as well as charm. When fate intervenes, sudden tragedy teaches Kaye about the high cost of straddling the faerie and human worlds (and sets the stage for a possible sequel). A gripping read. Ages 12-up.
From Me:I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)
Highly recommend all three books.
Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…
Holly Black’s site
Publisher’s site, with a link to read Chapter One and Chapter 2

From the Cover:

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home.

There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms - a struggle that could very well mean her death.

From Publishers Weekly:

Tripping the dark fantastic with newcomer Black means pixie dust may very well include blood spatter, sharp thorns and bits of broken glass.
At the center of this edgy novel is Kaye Fierch, a 16-year-old “Asian blonde” who spends most of her time taking care of her would-be rock star mom. When her mom’s latest boyfriend turns homicidal, they return to Gram’s house at the New Jersey shore, where Kaye hooks up with childhood friend Janet and her gay brother, Corny Stone.
Stark images ripple through the third-person narrative, offering clues to Kaye’s internal state (e.g., “She loved the serene brutality of the ocean”). A covert sexual overture from Janet’s boyfriend precedes Kaye’s nighttime encounter at the edge of the woods, where she meets and rescues Roiben, a mysterious Black Knight with silver hair.
Throughout, the author subtly connects Kaye’s awakening sexual feelings in the real world and Roiben’s sudden appearances. Kaye soon discovers that she is a changeling-and that her one-time “imaginary” faerie playmates want her to pretend to be a human, so they can use her as the Tithe (“the sacrifice of a beautiful and talented mortal”) to earn their freedom for seven years. The author’s Bosch-like descriptions of the Unseelie Court, with its Rackham-on-acid denizens, and the exquisite faeries haunt as well as charm. When fate intervenes, sudden tragedy teaches Kaye about the high cost of straddling the faerie and human worlds (and sets the stage for a possible sequel). A gripping read. Ages 12-up.

From Me:
I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)

Highly recommend all three books.

Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…

Holly Black’s site

Publisher’s site, with a link to read Chapter One and Chapter 2