Best I've Read: Starling by Lesley Livingston

The eighth book we are featuring this year is Starling by Lesley Livingston.

Michele B. had the opportunity to interview Lesley Livingston for the event and we are also offering our readers a chance to win a copy of Starling. Michele B. is funding this giveaway and she's opening it up to INTERNATIONAL entries. You can also enter to win some great Prize Packs from Harper at the end of this post. Check out the synopsis of Starling and the giveaway details at the end of this post. The Larks would like to thank Lesley Livingston for her time.

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: Lesley, what made you decide to continue writing about The Fennrys Wolf after the Wondrous Strange trilogy was completed? 

Lesley: Well… some characters just won’t shut up and leave you alone. Even considering the circumstances in which I left Fennrys at the end of TEMPESTUOUS, I just knew that his story wasn’t over. He became such an interesting character over the course of those first three books and, when Sonny and Kelley’s story was finished, I knew that Fenn still had yet to really tell me his tale. I also knew that the world I had created in the WONDROUS books was a bigger sandbox than just that corner and I really wanted to expand out past my Faerie mythology and explore the Beyond Realms I had already hinted at. And that meant an opportunity for exploring the myths of Fennrys’s Norse heritage— which was just too tempting to resist. 

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: I loved how Starling was based on the foundation of the Norse mythology of Ragnarok (as well as a little bit of Greek and Egyptian lore, too). Have you always had a fascination with these mythologies? Can you describe some of the research involved in incorporating these mythologies into Starling's plot? 

Lesley: I've always been fascinated by mythology in general. When I was a kid, I stumbled across these two incredible illustrated books: d’Aulaires Greek and Norse Mythology and I think for the better part of a year I was the only student who took those books out of the school library because I just kept renewing them. I’ve made a study of various mythologies ever since and so a lot of that general (and not so general) information has already saturated my brain. Of course, I did have to brush up on specific aspects for STARLING as I was writing, and then I would just have to work out how to weave the various myths into a New York setting—which actually wasn't that hard. There are locations and place names and architectural details and bits of history scattered all over that magnificent city that beautifully anchored my story. 

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: What made you decide to include the art of fencing into Mason Starling's character profile? 

Lesley: I wanted to give Mason a very competitive, driving passion. Something that, in order to get really good at it, would take a particularly single-minded focus. I used to fence when I was in university and I loved it and thought it would be a really interesting occupation for someone who was maybe a little on the shy side, but who also had a really bright internal spark. Because once you put on that mask and pick up a blade, you feel both protected and powerful. It also comes in handy for Mason to have fighting skills, seeing as how she keep getting attacked by monsters… 

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: Both the Wondrous Strange and Starling books take place in New York City. Why do you feel this infamous city compliments these stories so well?

Lesley: As I said above, there are so many things about the city that dovetail beautifully with the stories I write—whether I've managed to stumble upon them by accident or purposefully sought them out—I have discovered so many bits of historical and geographical and (this really is a big one) architectural detail that just make it so easy to imagine my stories there. The weird and the wonderful stroll hand in hand down New York’s streets and along its park paths already without my help. I just get to dip my pen into that rich inkwell and sometimes it’s like the stories almost seem to write themselves. 

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: It's a given that you will not provide spoilers but do you have plans for any more key characters from the Wondrous Strange trilogy to show up in the sequels to Starling

Lesley: Hee! Yes—no spoilers! I very specifically set out to write the STARLING books as stand-alone from the WONDROUS books. I didn't want the one story to be dependent on the other and it’s not. As a reader, you don’t have to know anything or anybody else going into this trilogy—that much I can tell you. That being said, there are already a couple of cameos in STARLING from some minor WONDROUS characters. But New York is a big city. On the other hand, it’s not that big. You never know who you might run into… 

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: Can you describe Starling in 5 words? 

Lesley: Hmm. Normally, I would just pick five descriptive words. Let’s see if I can be a little more poetic (or perhaps just more annoyingly cryptic) than that. How about… “Bright blades slashing through darkness”. It’s either that or something to do with pantsless-ness. 

Michele B. @ Reading Lark: We have a tradition at Reading Lark, what is your favorite bird? 

Lesley: If I say “starling” is that too obvious? Actually, I really am very fond of them. I do also seem to have ravens showing up in almost everything I've ever written. It’s like their a totem animal of mine or something. But definitely, for the purposes of this most delightful Q & A, I’ll say starling. 

 Also, larks are pretty awesome, too! ;-)

About the Novel

Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name--the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason's world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn's identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason's family--with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods--is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston's epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

Purchase Your Copy

Want a copy of Starling? Michele B. is offering a copy to our readers.

To win:
* You must be 13+ years old.
* This is open INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.
* You must fill out the Rafflecopter form.

The giveaway runs from December 13-21. The winner will be notified via email on December 22.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Harper was kind enough to offer up some great prize packs for Best I've Read 2012.


  1. Its sounds like a wonderful read :D

  2. It really was, Lily B! I hope you read it! Good luck if you've entered the giveaway! :)

  3. I loved the Wondrous Strange books so will definitely be reading Starling soon.

    1. The Wondrous Strange books were awesome, weren't they? Starling was a really great read! Hope you get to it soon!

  4. I want this book because and all the others on this hop because it sounds awesome and I can't afford to buy all these great books!! So thank you for having this huge Book Hop to give me and everyone else a chance to win some amazing books!!

  5. I'd like to read it because I've never read about a fencer before.

  6. After reading your thoughts I just know that I not only need to read STARLING, but everything that Lesley Livingston has written.

  7. I'd love to win this because it looks very interesting! Also because you recommended it. Thanks!

  8. Thanks for following everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, review and contest! Good luck to you all!

  9. I really want to read Starling because it sounds so interesting! I've always been interested in fencing so I think a character like Mason would be fun to read about. I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for the chance!

  10. I loved the Wondrous Strange series and I cant wait to start this spin off series!! Thank you for the giveaway!

  11. Like most of the other books you've highlighted, STARLING has been on my TBR list for some time. Really, you have excellent taste! :D

    1. Thanks Shelver506! I appreciate your comments! Hope you enjoy Starling too!

  12. This is a really great spin-off! I think you'll all enjoy it very much! Happy reading!

  13. I want to win this book because it sounds interesting, and like the type of thing I can share with my friend Rose :)


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