Fairy rings occupy a prominent place in European folklore as the location of gateways into elfin kingdoms, or places where elves gather and dance. According to the folklore, a fairy ring appears when a fairy, pixie, or elf appears. It will disappear without trace in less than five days, but if an observer waits for the elf to return to the ring, he or she may be able to capture it. They are soooooo beautiful!

fairy rings are usually caused by decaying organic matter, generally a tree stump. many types of fungi have symbiotic relationships with tree roots and mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of such fungus. So if a huge old tree was cut down, you’ll often find fairy rings. they can last for years and years as the earth  reabsorbs all the nutrients left behind by the beautiful tree.

sorry, didn’t mean to crush dreams – but i have a degree in horticulture and i was really excited when i first learned this.

maybe fairies and fungi are joining together to mourn the loss of the tree



From a writer’s perspective, it’s even more interesting to find out why they exist on a horticultural level, because it opens up a whole realm of fictional possibilities. Science doesn’t have to invalidate mythology or fiction, no more than mythology or fiction invalidates science.

For example, doesn’t that just essentially make this a tree grave? And if folklore has taught us anything, it’s that “fairies” and other spirits usually occupy trees, or have them as their life force. And that’s to say nothing of the folklore of trees being spirits in and of themselves, or kitsunes that live in tree hollows, or dryads, etc., etc.. So, if it’s disrespectful or feels like a slight to step on human graves, wouldn’t that logic transfer to stepping inside the Fairy Circle, AKA, the tree’s grave? It’s essentially giving more fuel to the story, not detracting from it, in my humble opinion!

Science doesn’t have to invalidate mythology or fiction, no more than mythology or fiction invalidates science.

Pretty sure I’m getting that bold phrase tattooed on my body because I love it so much. Seriously? Yeah probably.
I think I may have found my favorite post..

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

This week I’m looking forward to All Spell Breaks Loose by Lisa Shearin.

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

My name is Raine Benares—and it sucks to be me. The Saghred, a soul-

All Spells Break Loose by Lisa Shearin

stealing stone that has given me unlimited power, has been stolen by a goblin prince, and with it went my magic. The Saghred is in the goblin capital of Regor, in the hands of Sarad Nukpana, who’s on the verge of becoming the most powerful mage ever…just as soon as I’m dead.

Because Sarad can’t use the stone while I’m alive. Incentive enough to plan a little trip to Regor with a small band of good friends, not-so-good friends, and outright enemies. All we need to do is destroy the Saghred, kill Sarad, and put a renegade prince on the throne. Did I mention I’ll be doing this without magic?

Shearin’s Raine Benares series is a fantasy series that knows how to have fun. I’ll be sad to see these characters go.

This title is released on May 29, 2012.

Review: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Having read my first Marillier novel, Daughter of the Forest, earlier this week, I was anticipating great things going into her young adult work Shadowfell. Unfortunately, her latest title failed to live up to my expectations, and I was left wondering whether its failings resulted from the crossover from adult to young adult fiction and, in fact, whether this was actually penned by the same author.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Stories based on fey lore have never captured my interest as much as those incorporating other myths, for some reason. A select few authors, however, have drawn me into their adaptations thoroughly despite my general aversion to faerie settings, such as Seanan McGuire, Patricia Brigs, and Karen Marie Moning. Upon reading Daughter of the Forest, I would have added Juliet Marillier to that list as well, yet Shadowfell made me doubt that initial inclination. Whereas Daughter managed to incorporate the fey in a beautifully subtle way, perhaps not altogether innovative, but nonetheless eerie and perfectly matched to the tone of the story, Shadowfell falls into the trap that perpetuates my distaste for fey-centered stories. The fey characters Neryn meets during her journey seem to step out of the forest straight from the pages of Katherine Briggs’s An Encyclopedia of Fairies, only without any modification to make them Marillier’s own. They’re short-fused, cheeky, double-tongued imps that could have walked right off the set of Labyrinth, and unfortunately they are also twice as annoying. What’s worse, they seemed to add very little to the story other than making Neryn’s journey twice as long and tedious. Had their insistence that she was on the path to danger originated in an innate tendency to be contrary, I might have forgiven their presence, yet they seem genuinely invested in helping Neryn, which merely made their interventions all the more frustrating.

Neryn is a lamentably boring heroine with very little backbone and, at times, even less common sense, though Marillier clearly believes her characters has these traits in abundance. In reality, she is but another cardboard cutout in a story full of incompletely developed ideas, as is her love interest Flint. Tali and Garret show some promise for future development, but I doubt I’ll be around to see whether that promise is fulfilled.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Shadowfell is the fact that, despite being over four-hundred pages in length, it is very obviously only the first third of a story. I have little patience for authors who confuse the concept of a trilogy with that of a single book broken into three segments. While there might be an overarching plot that ties together all three books, I should nevertheless turn the last page of each book feeling as if I have accomplished something, yet Shadowfell‘s ending is abrupt and inadequate. Had this been my first experience with Marillier’s writing, it’s doubtful whether I would have picked up another title from her catalogue. Since I do happen to know how skilled she is, I’ll chalk this one up to a bad day and go back to her Sevenwaters series.

Shipping Saturdays

I’ve decided that since Saturdays are so lonely and memeless, I would create one of my own. It seems like many bloggers (including myself) can’t help but swoon and sway over the character  relationships that comprise many of our favorite books and series, yet we often overlook those who aren’t front and center. Shipping Saturdays is a weekly meme dedicated to highlighting all of our favorite pairings that are non-canon, unpopular, unnoticed, and unrequited. It’s not limited to books, so feel free to share those film and television couples whose ship you would readily go down with, yet don’t get the attention they deserve.

It’s no secret that I love a good slowburn romance, and Seanan McGuire has produced

Toby and Tybalt- Shadows by Irrel

one of the best in her Toby Daye series. From the first shadowy verbal crossfire in the opening chapter of Rosemary and Rue, I knew that Toby and Tybalt would become one of my favorite UF couples. McGuire has strung readers along for five novels now, and while Toby is seemingly warming up to the idea of letting Tybalt into her life (subconsciously at least), nothing is certain yet. It’s the best kind of torture, for the ever-decreasing distance between Toby and Tybalt doesn’t feel artificially prolonged. These two have history, the kind that won’t be swept away by a fleeting moment of lust. This just underscores one of the many reasons why Toby is one of my favorite female protagonists; she thinks before she acts, and usually does so wisely. Unfortunately, it appears that all this thinking will keep fans waiting for a while longer, but as long as the tension remains so delicious, I won’t complain.

See more of Irrel’s artwork at the deviantart gallery here.

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

After months of waiting, we finally get to see the wonderful new Chris McGrath cover art for Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire.

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

There’s no summary available yet, but it’s a Toby Daye book, so it will inevitably be one of the best urban fantasies of the year.

This title will be released on September 4, 2012.