Tag Archives: InCryptid

The Lay of the Land by Seanan McGuire

Overview
The Lay of the Land (Incryptid, #0.21) by Seanan McGuire

Title: The Lay of the Land
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.21
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 4th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: “But you don’t think Mr. Price is a part of that.”

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Synopsis

Thomas Price has seen the world, has studied and fought unbelievable creatures on every continent, and knows more about cryptids than almost anyone else alive. But he’s never seen anyplace like Buckley Township, Michigan, and he’s certainly never met anyone like Alice Healy, who is far too young for him, far too much a Healy for him, and far too wild to disregard. This is going to be an interesting assignment.

Unable to understand why her ever-tolerant father wants her to write off a newcomer as dangerous solely because of his origins, Alice Healy has set herself on a collision course with Thomas Price–a man who needs companionship, answers, and someone to guide him through the tangled ecosystems of the local wood, where the unwary go in, but don’t come out.

It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and a new chapter in the story of the Healy family. Assuming that Alice can get Thomas through the woods alive, and Mary can convince Alice not to get Thomas murdered by her father.

Thoughts

Alice is growing into absolutely everything I expected… and more. I almost don’t want to leave the world of the InCryptid short stories. She’s got so much gumption. And is incredibly accident prone. Two things which I absolutely adore in a strong female character. It doesn’t fail to brig a smile to my face, opening my Kobo and reading one of the stories which feature her and her amazingness.

I love that in this story, she’s showing Thomas around. The independent, matter of fact way in which she does so helps to draw you ever further into the InCryptid world and Alice’s great personality. She’s most definitely Fran’s daughter. And although I still miss Fran, I love that there is someone there to fill that void with their humorous take on life.

This story was a great way to see all of the things in the InCryptid world that go bump in the night. Even the more innocent of the creatures that go “bump” were included. I wish there was an illustrated encyclopaedia of all of these amazing creatures… I could almost die a happy woman then.

<- The Way HomeTarget Practice ->

Image source: Goodreads

Target Practice by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Target Practice (InCryptid, #0.22) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Target Practice
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.22
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 5th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: It was a rare moment of absolute calm – at least until the blonde blur broke through the blueberry bushes, running hell-bent for the border.

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Synopsis

Buckley Township is starting to grow on Thomas Price, rather like a particularly aggressive strain of moss. He still has a lot to learn about his new environs, and about the people they bring him into contact with. People like Alice Healy, whose talent for getting herself into trouble is only exceeded by her inexplicable ability to get out of it again. Luck is not a dependable survival mechanism. And hers is running out.

When Alice stumbles over something that even the ecologically unusual Buckley woods shouldn’t be able to sustain, it’s anyone’s guess whether she’ll be able to handle it on her own–and if she can’t, whether she’ll be able to find the help she needs to stop an invasive species from damaging the town and people she cares about. Thomas, meanwhile, just wants to avoid being shot by her father.

Tensions are high and stakes are higher as Alice and Thomas both begin taking aim on what they want, and where they want to be when they get it.

Thoughts

The first dot point that I wrote in my notes on this short story sums it up perfectly:

  • Naw. Alice finally broke Jonathan!

That’s pretty much it. There was something that became steadily more irritating about Jonathan as these short stories unfolded. Don’t get me wrong, it’s understandable. But it was still dang annoying. So when Alice finally manages to “break” him… it left me feeling happy. Nothing like a rebellious teen having a point to make me love a story.

As with the other short stories so far in this collection, now all I want is to get the next books in this series and stick my nose into them! But I’m trying so hard not to buy anymore until I finish some from my teetering TBR… I may actually get buried under an avalanche soon.

But I digress… this was a fun story and showed how well Alice’s grandmother knows her, and how the scars of the past and worries for the future can have the exact opposite effect to what you desire. Luckily, things will steadily get more interesting (I’m sure) as the rest of the series about Alice’s children unfolds…

<- The Lay of the LandTailed ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Way Home by Seanan McGuire

Overview
The Way Home (InCryptid, #0.20) by Seanan McGuire

Title: The Way Home
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.20
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 30th September 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: And about that time, pigs would fly.

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Synopsis

Alice Healy is sixteen years old and chafing at the yoke of her father’s regard. His overprotective streak has blossomed in the absence of his wife, leaving his teenage daughter sneaking out at every opportunity, trying to find herself and her place in the world without any parental support. But she knows the woods, and she knows what she wants to do with her life; it’s just a question of whether she can keep herself alive long enough to actually accomplish her planned future.

Thomas Price is a man still paying for his past. He’s smart enough to understand that his assignment is essentially an exile, and has enough of a sense of self-preservation not to argue. Those who vex the Covenant of St. George rarely live long enough to explain themselves. At least in Buckley Township, he’ll be far away from danger…unless you’re counting Alice Healy.

Worlds will collide and a new story will begin as Thomas Price arrives in his new home, and Alice Healy does her best to stay alive long enough to say hello for the first time.

Thoughts

Oh, HELL YES!!! A story of Alice as a teenager, man I’ve been hanging for this ever since Snakes and Ladders. And it was everything that I expected – Alice is sassy, accident prone and wonderfully independent, just like her mother. The fact that she also seems to like knives a little… wow.

This story is not only Alice’s first appearance as a teenager, but it also has Thomas and Alice’s first meeting. Which, again, I fell completely in love with. I can now completely understand how they had Verity as a daughter, and I can’t wait to meet the rest of their children and get to know the family even more (when I have the money to buy the books anyway…).

I was intrigued to see how Thomas truly left the Convent. You get to understand the rationale for the Healys throughout the rest of the short stories, but I wanted something at least slightly different for the next deserter. And I got it. It was great, fun and I can’t wait to keep sticking my nose into this fantastic series!

<- The Star of New MexicoThe Lay of the Land ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Star of New Mexico by Seanan McGuire

Overview
The Star of New Mexico (InCryptid #0.14) by Seanan McGuire

Title: The Star of New Mexico
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.14
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 25th September 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan Mcguire
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: “We’re not set up for long term storage,” the funeral home director had said.

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Synopsis

Almost twenty years ago, Jonathan Healy rode a train across the country to investigate reports that something was killing people in the wake of a small family circus. Almost twenty years ago, he brought home the woman who would be his wife, the mother of his children, and his partner in the endless quest to protect the cryptids of the world. The time has come for Fabulous Fran, the Flower of Arizona, the Star of New Mexico, to take the stage for the final time, and take her final bow.

Fran touched a lot of lives in her time in Buckley, and the people who loved her are coming to say goodbye. It’s not going to be easy. The things that are most important so very rarely are.

They say she never missed a shot; she was the darling of the west. But now she’s gone, and the ones she’s left behind must figure out what this means for them.

Thoughts

After reading Broken Paper Hearts, I thought McGuire was done with breaking my heart. Boy was I wrong. Oh, so damn wrong. Evil woman managed to do it again. I finished this short story with that same horrid feeling of sadness and confusion that the previous short story left. But, it was somehow even worse because this was actually saying goodbye and dashing all hopes that Fran would be coming back…

This short story most definitely asks the question – how do you say goodbye to the ones that you love? And, more importantly… what would you do if you had to say goodbye? Would you come back from the dead? Or would you stay gone and let your family move on? How do you move on? So many questions and thoughts running through my head right now!

One of the things I love about this is that Alice is obviously a little butt-kicker and I can’t wait to see how she’s going to kick butt into the future. I think the next few InCryptid short stories are all about her… so I look forward to finding out just how tough a woman she is going to become!

<- Broken Paper HeartsThe Way Home ->

Image source: Goodreads

Broken Paper Hearts by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Broken Paper Hearts (InCryptid, #0.13) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Broken Paper Hearts
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.13
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 10th September 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: We have to take her home now.

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Synopsis

Valentine’s Day has come to Buckley Township. For Alice, that means cupcakes and paper hearts. For Jonathan, it means sleepless nights and fear, because Fran hasn’t come home.

Everything ends eventually. No matter how much you hope that it won’t.

Everything ends.

Thoughts

This is. My heart. My heart. My heart.

That’s pretty much the entirety of this review – this tiny little, short as, almost non existent short story just completely tore my heart out and then stomped on it. Just for a bit of good measure.

I’ve actually never had a short story make me cry. That was a very new experience… I think this was about seven pages – and they made me weep. Again. My heart.

I get that everything ends, and this had to too. But, without giving anything away. Seriously McGuire! WHY? Did THIS have to end now?

My heart.

<- Snakes and LaddersThe Star of New Mexico ->

Image source: Goodreads

Snakes and Ladders by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Snakes and Ladders (InCryptid, #0.12) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Snakes and Ladders
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.12
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 7th September 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: “Damn mice.”

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Synopsis

There’s nothing that little girls love more on Halloween than going trick or treating with their mother, a sackful of talking pantheistic mice, and their dead babysitter. All right, maybe there are a lot of things that little girls love more, but for Alice Healy, a nice out with her beloved mama and her favorite ghost is just about perfect.

Right up until someone snatches her off of a porch, that is.

For Alice, this is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened. For Fran, this is the end of the world, and something she may not survive; if she doesn’t get her little girl back, she may be joining Mary in the grave. And for the snake cult that grabbed Alice, this may be the chance that they’ve been waiting for…

It’s tricks and treats on a Buckley Halloween, and this time, there are more than just the usual masked monsters roaming the streets.

Thoughts

Alice is just the cutest character I’ve read in a long time. Alright, she’s going to grow up into a pretty kick ass woman by the time the full-length novels roll around. But in this short story? Yeah. She’s damn cute. And adorable. And just so funny. I love how she pretty much takes everything in her stride and just rolls with all of the insanity which is happening in her life.

Being an Aussie, I’ve never been too involved in the whole Trick or Treating thing… but this short story definitely gave me a whole new dimension of understanding. Alright, I get that this isn’t what is normally meant by trick or treating. But I still loved that the Halloween spirit was bought into this story in the typical, slightly insane InCryptid manner.

In Discount Armageddon, snake cults are mentioned a few times. This was a much better introduction to the cults – so it might have been useful to read this before actually reading the novel. I love how McGuire has been able to construct a world in which each of the short stories are introducing a new cryptid and drawing you further and further into her fantastic world building.

<- Bury Me in SatinBroken Paper Hearts ->

Image source: Goodreads

Bury Me in Satin by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Bury Me In Satin (InCryptid, #0.11) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Bury Me In Satin
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.11
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 30th August 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Alice would have pursued her amphibious quarry, but was stopped by her mother’s arm being suddenly warpped around her waist, lifting her off the ground.

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Synopsis

Things are starting to hit an easy sort of groove at the Healy house. Alice is growing up, a little spitfire of a girl who adores her father and idolizes her mother. Johnny and Fran have mostly put their ghosts behind them, and are focusing on the future, which has never seemed brighter, or more guaranteed.

Sadly, for some people, the future has already ended.

Mary Dunlavy has been Alice’s babysitter almost since the girl was born. When her father stops showing up for work, it falls to Fran to go and see what’s going on. What she finds changes everything.

There is no right and there is no wrong in some situations: there’s only the way things should have been, and the way things are.

Not everyone gets out alive.

Thoughts

It was pretty obvious that this story was going to feature Mary a little more… after all, her unique condition is hinted at in Oh Pretty Bird. But I didn’t quite expect her condition to be what it was. It was great. And I’m hoping that we get more of her as the story unfolds.

I love how even though a few curveballs are thrown Fran’s way, she just continues to take it all in stride. There is something seriously loveable and adorable about how she just goes yup… Mary’s not quite human. Cool. We’ll help her. She can continue taking care of my infant. I want ot be this unflappable in my life…

Alice is just steadily getting so, so, much bigger throughout this whole series. I can’t wait to start reading stories in which she’s an adult (or a teenager) and beginning to take the world by storm. Plus, the Healy household is just plain nuts. So I love how they can’t even find a “normal” babysitter.

<- Oh Pretty BirdSnakes and Ladders ->

Image source: Goodreads

Oh Pretty Bird by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Oh Pretty Bird (InCryptid, #0.10) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Oh Pretty Bird
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.10
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 25th August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Well, all right.

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Synopsis

It’s been years since the death of their first child, Daniel, but Jonathan and Frances Healy have never been able to catch the person responsible…until now. When word comes that the Apraxis hives are moving strangely, and that a familiar woman with black hair and no history has appeared, it seems like things may finally come to fruition.

And it’s not like they won’t have backup: Enid and Alexander Healy have not forgiven the woman who cost them their first grandchild, and they’re not about to let Johnny and Fran ride out alone. They don’t know much about the situation that they’re walking into. They know enough to be afraid, to be on their guards, and to stay together at all times.

Can they avenge their own without paying more than they can afford? Old questions are finally answered, and old debts are paid as the Healys walk into the most dangerous situation they have faced thus far. It’s for Daniel. There’s no question of whether they’ll go. There’s only a question of whether they’ll come back.

Thoughts

This short story features the first interaction between the Healys and Cuckoos and it is kind of brilliant. I wonder if the child in this is the child that we get to know throughout Discount Armageddon.  But it’ll be interesting to find out. I loved the way that this story not only built on the previous short stories, but gave even more background into a new discovery which will feature in the future stories.

This story is violent, blood thirsty and just a little bit angry. Although there are plenty of moments throughout that acknowledge this, and somehow help to diminish the power of the blood thirst and revenge that drives this storyline. I really loved that balance between the two forms.

The biggest thing that intrigues me about this short story is what in the heck happens to the baby after both the parent Cuckoos are removed. I’m not sure whether I feel hopeful or scared…

<- We Both Go Down TogetherBury Me in Satin ->

Image source: Goodreads

We Both Go Down Together by Seanan McGuire

Overview
We Both Go Down Together (Incryptid, #0.09) by Seanan McGuire

Title: We Both Go Down Together
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.09
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 22nd August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Minutes passed.

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Synopsis

With their second child due to arrive any day, it would be reasonable for Jonathan and Frances Healy to stay safe at home. Unfortunately, the world has other ideas. A postcard from the mysterious coastal town of Gentling, Maine has Jonathan packing his bags and preparing for an adventure—and when did Fran ever pass up an adventure?

But the people of Gentling aren’t just ordinary fishermen and sailors: they’re the descendants of finfolk who fell in love with the humans who pulled them from the sea, and they have long since settled into a gentle rhythm of a life lived between the wet and the dry. Only now, someone or something is stealing their babies from the shore, endangering the next generation.

Old obligations and new obligations will collide, and the newest member of the Healy family will join the fight…or will she? Because it’s not just the babies of the finfolk who are in danger, and unless they’re careful, Johnny and Fran might find themselves losing another child…

Thoughts

I was kind of worried about how this story was going to go. After the events of The First Fall, I was expecting something equally tragic to happen to the next child born to Fran and Jonathan. It was a little bit tense and not so great. But I really didn’t have to worry as much as I thought I did.

As with many of the prequel short story stories that I’ve read in the InCryptid series thus far, We Both Go Down Together introduces a whole new group of cryptids. In the case of the Finfolk, I actually found their plight to be incredibly heart wrenching and sad. It was seriously tragic and made my heart hurt a little. It reminded me a lot of tales of the Selkies too…

Although the Finfolk have a bit of a tragic back story, there was something about this story that was really lovely. It provided a little hope for the future and left me wanting to know how Alice was likely to grow up after her auspicious welcome into the world.

<- Loch and KeyOh Pretty Bird ->

Image source: Goodreads

Loch and Key by Seanan McGuire

Overview
Loch and Key (Incryptid, #0.08) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Loch and Key
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #0.08
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 19th August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Seanan McGuire
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: At least is hadn’t attacked, or slithered back down into the lake; it must have liked what it was seeing.

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Synopsis

Daniel Healy has been dead for two years, and his parents are still in the process of healing both themselves and their relationship. When Alexander Healy suggests that it’s finally time for his daughter-in-law to accompany them on their periodic fishing trip to White Otter Lake, it seems like the perfect opportunity for the four surviving members of the family to become reacquainted with one another. Fran is dubious at first, not really understanding what a fishing trip could do for them as a family.

That was before she knew about the monsters in White Otter Lake, of course. The monsters change everything.

Before long, the entire Healy clan is embroiled in a fight for the lives of the creatures that live in White Otter Lake, which may be the last of their kind in the world. If they want to save these majestic plesiosaurs, the family will need to find a way to come together in order to solve the mystery of what the guardian of White Otter Lake has disappeared to.

It’s bullets versus brains as the Healys finally step up to do their jobs, and preserve the crytozoological world. No matter what it takes.

Thoughts

First Fall was a kind of tragic and heart rending short story. It was great for the overall storyline of the series – but it was still something that made my heart very, very sore. Luckily, Loch and Key starts with a lot more hope. For starters, it begins a few years after the advents of First Fall, and there is a sense of moving on and healing that left me feeling really quite hopeful.

Every time I pick up an InCryptid short story (I’m getting my fix at the moment from these amazing short stories while I save some money for the books), I find something fun and intriguing and just a little bit funny. In the case of this short story. It is the fact that the “bad guys” in this tale are dinosaur poachers. It shouldn’t be that funny… but something about the idea of dinosaur poachers seriously hit my humour bone and had me smiling.

I needed the lightness from this story to counteract the last few InCryptid short stories. Now I’m ready to find out more horrible things that I’m sure are going to happen. But for now, this was a nice way to begin to move on from the shadow of Daniel’s death. It may still linger. But at least they are beginning to move forwards.

<- The First FallWe Both Go Down Together ->

Image source: Goodreads