It’s my stop with MTMC Tours to talk about IN THE JADED GROVE by Anela Deen!
I have found a new favourite book. 😩🙌🏻 (Which I’m not surprised about because I loved Beneath Cruel Fathoms last year!!) You know those books that just fit your soul and bring a little pain but a lot of love? This is one of them. I haven’t had a lot of 5 stars this year, but this so easily claimed all the stars. It’s a portal fantasy with pixies and war, a fairy parallel discussion on colonialism, and it has a soft and aching romance, and this heart-wrenching discussion about pain and moving on. Both Simith and Jessa are owned by their pain. It defines them and it has its talons hooked in their hearts. They are grieving and they are lost. They don’t so much save each other as remind the other they deserve to be saved.
It’s books that are filled with heartache and tender messages like this that always stick with me the longest.
Jessa is a poet who can’t write after a tragic accident took her family (she’s also Filipino). Simith is a pixie, forced into the fairy war against the trolls, who is known to be a manic murderer on the battlefield, but he’s soft and his soul is wounded and he’s lost himself. When he accidentally falls into the human world and Jessa finds him bloody and hunted amongst a sunflower field — their lives entwine in ways that cannot be reversed.
Can we talk about fairyland appreciation!! I really love this! It’s like Holly Black, but an adult version, and the story is heavily steeped in battles and cunning tricks when we’re in the fairy world. Also the settings are divine. Sunflower fields. Fairy gardens. Groves of magic trees. A creepy house of dark magic. The softness of Jessa’s farm!!! I wanted to just LIVE in the book.
Both Jessa and Simith easily won my heart. 🥺 I loved their steadfast and quiet souls, the way they never presumed anything of each other but slowly fell in love. The book is filled to the brim with dynamic, vibrant side characters too (plus an f/f important side couple who I adored!!) THere’s a lot of pain to work through. Trauma and PTSD to process. And I really love seeing magical beings agree they need therapy okay 🥺💛
This is a phenomenal read of heartache and healing, of magic and pixies and war and curses. It’s totally my kind of book and felt freshly unique but also comfortably familiar. It’s a gentle but powerful tale and so well written — I cannot wait for more in the series.
Also can we agree the cover is exceptional!!!
Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war. After years of conflict between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace. Hoping to secure a ceasefire, Simith arranges a meeting with the troll king—and is ambushed instead. Escape lies in the Jaded Grove, but the trees of the ancient Fae woodland aren’t what they seem, and in place of sanctuary, Simith tumbles through a doorway to another world.
Cutting through her neighbor’s sunflower farm in Skylark, Michigan, Jessa runs into a battle between creatures straight out of a fantasy novel. Only the blood is very real. When a lone fighter falls to his attackers, Jessa intervenes. She’s known too much death to stand idly by, but an act of kindness leads to consequences even a poet like her couldn’t imagine.
With their fates bound by magic, Simith and Jessa must keep the strife of his world from spilling into hers—except the war isn’t what it appears and neither are their enemies. Countless lives depend on whether they can face the truths of their pasts and untangle the web of lies around them. But grief casts long shadows, and even their deepening bond may not be enough to save them from its reach.
ABOUT ANELA DEEN
A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest. After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm. Find her at: Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter
Hi Anela! Thanks for chatting with me today about In the Jaded Grove! I loved your new book so much and wondered if you could tell us 2 things that inspired the story?
I’ve always loved portal fantasies, but I rarely read any where the magical being is the one who falls down the rabbit hole into another world. It’s typically the reverse, so I wanted to put a twist on the usual order of things.
The same is true for why I chose a pixie main character rather than a fairy. I love fae/faerie/fairy stories in fantasy. There are a lot of awesome books, especially in YA, to choose from, so I decided to put the spotlight on another group and have some fun making them tougher than the legends—even with the pretty wings.
For me, it’s kind of a Groundhog’s Day situation. I finish a book and publish it (yay!). I start a new book…and feel like I’ve forgotten how to write books. Lather, rinse, repeat! The difference now is I know that’s what always happens and I can talk myself out of the low moments. I also have an amazing writing group and we lift each other up when self-doubt comes knocking.
I’m hard at work on Between Savage Tides, the sequel to Beneath Cruel Fathoms. I left one character in particular in a pretty tough bind and he needs me to move the story forward. Not sure he’ll be too happy about it since things are only going to get worse.
Head over to my Instagram account where you can enter one of the following prizes:
A paperback copy of the book
A slim volume of selected poems by Emily Dickinson (the MC’s favorite poet) with gilt-edged pages
1 Alice in Wonderland postcard (my favorite portal fantasy 😊) illustrated by @MarijkeIllustration
1 Alice in Wonderland postcard illustrated by @MarijeIllustration
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