What to read during the revelry

When it comes to books, Fantasy has many sub-genres. Novels set in an alternative universe may include magic, time travel or creatures that are not of this world. As we gear up for the 40th Anniversary of Fantasy Fest in Key West, check out these bestsellers and escape from reality!

Valley of the Moon
By Melanie Gideon (Romantic Fantasy)

- A cake shaped like a bear - Melanie GideonAfter Lux fled her childhood home and stifling parents on the east coast, she resettles in San Francisco. Now, as a young single mom, Lux toils away her days waitressing and dreams of a better future. When her young son visits grandma for the first time, Lux goes on a small well-deserved camping trip in Sonoma Valley. She stumbles through the fog and discovers a mysterious farming community. Experiencing an immediate connection to Joseph the community leader and his family, a harmonious pleasure surrounds her at every turn. Greengage is too good to be true. And it just may be, as time there has stood still since the devastating earthquake of 1906. Lux spends decades traveling between these two worlds; a reality where her son is everything and this enchanting land where she genuinely belongs.

A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness (Historical Fantasy)

Disocvery of witchesDeep in the stacks of the Oxford library, Diana Bishop struggles to retrieve a book on the highest shelf. She calls for it. It comes to her. Matthew Clairmont, a distinguished scholar, observes. And so begins the tumble from a quiet researcher’s academic life to a tumultuous love affair between an extraordinary witch and a brilliant, beautiful vampire. Their families and communities forbid their love. Diana and Matthew search for the secrets to a mysterious manuscript called Ashmole 782, the spells of which have been bound for centuries and hold the answers to all of their questions. Hundreds of years unfold as Diana and Matthew build understanding and trust to scientifically explain the difference and similarities between their two races. WARNING: If you get hooked (and you will!) this novel is the first of a trilogy and an incredible series on AMC.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
By Neil Gaiman (Epic Fantasy)

Ocean at the end of laneA middle aged man returns to his childhood neighborhood for a funeral and he finds himself on a bench by the “ocean” down the lane. It is on this bench that his mind travels back to his childhood, a time when he was seven years old and his friend Lettie Hempstock saved his life and unknowingly changed it forever. Forty years ago a man killed himself on this very road. His death released a chain of events that led the boy to a world of magic and make believe. This Narnia-like world is spliced so perfectly with reality, the reader must pay very close attention to each and every compelling character. When one reflects on childhood, it is fascinating how we can remember frighteningly specific details from some events and other ones, nothing at all. As Old Mrs. Hempstock quotes, “You’ll never get any two people to remember the same exact thing.” Charming, creepy fable set in Sussex England is both beautifully written and unputdownable.

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Karen Newfield is first and foremost a reader, she has reviewed hundreds of books on her blog www.readingandeating.com. And, more recently, this new Keys resident has also begun writing.