Enchanted Checks

It was time for me to order personal checks a few weeks back. I like to switch designs with each new box (because I can), and in light of all the enchantment in my world since FairyRoom launched, I thought, Perhaps fairy checks?

Mystic World

I am not sure why I was surprised when I found a plethora of viable choices. Perhaps I was expecting Tinkerbell, Anne Geddes, and Cicely Mary Barker and not a lot else. Naive of me. I found myself wading through fairy-theme designs covering a wide spectrum—from pretty, to sexy, to cutesy, to goth, and more. And there are gnomes, elves, pixies, hobbits, and at one point I saw centaurs (but I can’t find my way back to the page, so maybe I conjured it, ha!).

In the end I selected an elegant set of four Nene Thomas designs, one of which is above. But it was a tight decision against the Amy Brown option. I quite liked the Amy Brown designs, though decided that I didn’t want inspirational words on my checks (example in purple, below), and didn’t run across the alternate choice (in green, in the gallery at the end of the post) until after I ordered.

It’s important to note that the images of the checks are significantly more saturated online than when you get them in front of you (for obvious reasons). For instance, I am willing to bet that the red hat on this gnome check pictured below is not nearly this red in real life.

The best resource I found was this single page indexing fairy themes from several vendors. But other options are to be had. For instance, Hobbits, anyone? I found elves, too, but they are quite cartoony.

Some more fairy check designs follow in this wee gallery, but there are surely some that I missed. Feel free to post them in the comments!


Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.

~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Stormdancer, Dark Currents, and The Book of Three

NEW: STORMDANCER, Book One in the Lotus War series by Jay Kristoff (Tor, 2012)

Japanese Steampunk. Right?!? Let that glorious juxtaposition sink in, then read this synopsis — you will realize that you have to read this book:

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects–and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes–but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

“Why yes,” said Stephanie, a community reviewer on Goodreads. “That was just as badass as its cover suggested. Stormdancer had it all for me. Richly crafted world building, carefully placed humor, realistic characters, unpredictable storyline… I could go on and on.” And Dan (another community reviewer) called Stormdancer‘s ending “poignant yet satisfying…the most original science fiction/fantasy novel I’ve read in a long time. Five easy stars.” And bonus: the author is very engaged on Goodreads, along with other social networks, responding to every review left so far.

An excerpt of Stormdancer is available on Jay Kristoff’s Facebook. Order the book from these popular booksellers:


SOON: DARK CURRENTS, Book One in the Agent of Hel series by Jaqueline Carey (Roc, October 2, 2012)

You probably recognize Jacqueline Carey’s name from the acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy series. In Dark Currents, Carey brings on the fairies, beginning a new series set in…

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.

Brittany, a community reviewer on Goodreads, said, “Dark Currents…offers a perfect blend of magic and mystery! I inhaled the book and hardly put it down.” Tiffany, another community reviewer, said, “Deliciously believable characters with tons of fast paced action…and I loved the main character’s inner dialogue, which made her more real (and perfectly imperfect)! I can’t wait for the next book!”

An excerpt of Dark Currents is available at the author’s website. Look for this book on October 2 or preorder:


CLASSIC: THE BOOK OF THREE, Book One in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander (Square Fish, 1964)

The Book of Three is the first in the five-book, Newbery Honor-winning Chronicles of Prydain series. Steeped in Welsh mythology, The Book of Three follows a boy from humble beginnings in this classic hero’s journey.

Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper wants to become a hero, joined by Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli—all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

I’m sure many of us read this series as a child. The Goodreads community reviewer boards tend to wax nostalgic: “I’m giving this series to one of my nephews for his birthday. I can’t remember how many times I read Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles when I was young,” described Christopher, a community reviewer on Goodreads. “Dozens of times, I think. I re-read them [as] an adult and found them just as good as I had remembered.” Abby, another (grownup) community reviewer, gives the prospective of someone coming to this series for the first time: “I loved this book. I’m so sad that I didn’t have it when I was 12 years old…I would have adored it then. The action starts from the very beginning and doesn’t let up. Although it’s an involved fantasy, the short chapters make the reading a bit easier.”

An excerpt of The Book of Three is available from the publisher website. Order this book from these popular booksellers:

Tell us about which New, Soon, and Classic Fantastic books you’re excited about. We want to include them on FairyRoom!