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Mar 9 2015

The Cake House, by Latifah Salom

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After complaining (a lot) about anyone having the nerve to describe Cymbeline as “William Shakespeare's undiscovered masterpiece” and reviewing Jenny Trout's Romeo and Juliet/Hamlet-inspired Such Sweet Sorrow, we're concluding our totally unplanned rush of Shakespeare-themed posts with a review of Latifah Salom's debut novel The Cake House...

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Jun 2 2008

Call of the Highland Moon, by Kendra Leigh Castle

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Kendra Leigh Castle’s debut novel Call of the Highland Moon kicks off with a supernatural twist on the meet cute device: When werewolf Gideon MacInnes is attacked by his cousin’s minions during a ...

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Apr 17 2012

The Calling, by Kelley Armstrong

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The Calling is the second book in Kelley Armstrong's Darkness Rising trilogy, which is in turn loosely connected to her bestselling (and ridiculously enjoyable) Darkest Powers trilogy. The Calling opens moments after the events of the earlier book: shape-shifting teenager Maya Delaney and a handful of her classmates have been bundled into a rescue helicopter after their remote Vancouver Island town is threatened by a forest fire...

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Jul 2 2013

The Car Thief, by Theodore Weesner

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The back cover of Theodore Weesner's The Car Thief describes the book as a "modern American classic" featuring “heartbreak, cruel realities, and stunning personal triumphs”. That may be true, but allow me to issue a word of warning: you have to wade through a lot of heartbreak and cruel reality before you get to any personal triumphs...

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Dec 20 2010

The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar

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Seventeen-year-old Alton Richards, the protagonist of Louis Sachar's novel The Cardturner, is furious when his parents insist he spend the summer working for his wealthy great-uncle Lester. Lester is blind, testy, and a master bridge player, so Alton foresees a long, dull summer spent driving his uncle to his club and helping him play the world's most boring card game...

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Sep 2 2014

Carry On, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse

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Carry On, Jeeves is a collection of ten of P.G. Wodehouse's early Jeeves and Wooster short stories. Nine are told from the point of view of Bertie Wooster, a wealthy, genial, mentally negligible young Englishman; the tenth is narrated by Jeeves, Bertie's unflappable and infinitely resourceful valet. There are no surprises in a Jeeves and Wooster short story...

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Dec 14 2010

Cartoon Cute Animals, by Christopher Hart

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Christopher Hart, author of the hugely popular book Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics, has written a number of bestselling illustrated art instruction manuals. His latest effort is...

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Jun 5 2017

The Case of the Forked Road, by John Allison

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The Case of the Forked Road, the seventh installment in John Allison's excellent Bad Machinery series, is—as always—a whacked-out delight. There's time travel, puberty jokes, and a PG-rated adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross. The boys play a reduced role in this volume (although their stories are expanded from the online version), but...

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Jul 17 2006

Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley

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As I’ve said before, I like stories about people working. I find reading about somebody else’s labor to be deeply satisfying. I’m also a big fan of fairytales, particularly the ones that reward their characters for doing obscure tasks. (I love that one about the girl whose evil stepmother makes her hunt for fruit in the middle of winter, wearing a paper dress.) That’s why the new hardcover version of Linda Medley’s collected Castle Waiting stories had me nearly giddy with excitement...

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Aug 13 2009

Castration Celebration, by Jake Wizner

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The cover of Jake Wizner’s new book looks like the promotional posters for Disney’s High School Musical. It features about 10,000 hokey musical numbers*, just like Hig...

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Aug 25 2010

Catching Fire and Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

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Well, dear readers, I waded through both Catching Fire and Mockingjay yesterday, and my emotions were mixed. There were elements I liked, but the violence was so constant that I found myself actu...

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Sep 6 2016

Chaos Choreography, by Seanan McGuire

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After a two-book-long detour, the fifth installment in Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series brings the action back where it belongs: on ballroom-dancing, ass-kicking cryptozoologist Verity Price. In Chaos Choreography, Verity has set aside her dancing career in favor of full-time cryptozoology... but when she gets a call from the producers of the reality TV series Dance or Die, she decides...

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Mar 3 2014

Chasing Shadows, by Swati Avasthi

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Swati Avashthi's YA novel Chasing Shadows strongly reminded me of a movie that I haven't seen in fifteen years but will never, ever forget: Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures. Like Heavenly Creatures, Chasing Shadows is an engrossing portrait of the kind of intense, heady friendships that teenagers are capable of—friendships that can be deepened even further by adversity, transforming into something destructive and codependent...

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Jan 21 2016

Cheese in the Trap, by Soonkki

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Today we're going to review something a little different: an ongoing Korean webtoon by Soonkki called Cheese in the Trap. Normally I would wait to cover this kind of thing until it was finished and fully translated, but A) I'm not that patient, and B) this story is so interesting, you guys—it's totally worth the inconvenience of reading it online...

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Jun 23 2009

Chicken With Plums, by Marjane Satrapi

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I do not enjoy tragic love stories. I rolled my eyes when Anna Karenina offed herself, I failed to sympathize with the plight of Newland Archer, and I spent most of The Great Gatsby wanting to kic...

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Dec 12 2016

Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays, by Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon

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Written by Onion alums Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon, Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays is an R-rated choose-your-own-adventure story that takes you through countless holiday misadventures, ranging from moderately gloomy to gross as hell. The set-up is simple: your family is out of town, and your relationship is too new for a shared Christmas, so...

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Nov 5 2007

The Chopin Manuscript, by assorted authors

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Since going live in 1997, Audible.com has become the leading provider of spoken entertainment and information on the Internet, allowing users to download digital audio editions of books, newspaper...

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Apr 10 2007

Christine Falls, by Benjamin Black

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I’m not much of a mystery fan. I’m more of a fantasy/sci-fi kind of guy. But despite the appalling family secrets, ominous settings, and rampant alcoholism in Benjamin Black’s Christine Falls, I still found myself compulsively turning pages. It’s a brilliant book, gloom and all...

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Apr 17 2008

Churchill's Triumph: A Novel of Betrayal, by Michael Dobbs

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Churchill’s Triumph, the fourth and final novel in Michael Dobbs's Churchill series, further explores the unique talents and historical legacy of Winston Churchill. The book takes place over the eight days at Yalta, as three world leaders (Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Franklin Roosevelt) attempt to find the light at the end of the World War II tunnel...

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May 4 2010

Cinderella Cleaners: Change of a Dress and Prep Cool, by Maya Gold

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Maya Gold's Cinderella Cleaners series has the bright, cheery appeal of a Disney Channel made-for-TV movie, cut with some Nora Roberts-style respect for service-type jobs. I was dubious, but found...

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May 12 2010

Cirque du Freak: Trials of Death (Yen Press Extravaganza Part VIII), by Darren Shan

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Aaaand we're done! (At least for a while.) When a spider-obsessed boy named Darren Shan sneaks out with his best friend Steve to see the infamous Cirque Du Freak, things get even scarier than they'd bargained for. The inhabitants of the freak show aren't just strange, they're downright otherworldly, and...

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Mar 30 2009

City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

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Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, the first book in her Mortal Instruments trilogy, has a lot going for it: the twists and turns of the plot make sense, the dialogue is lively, and—unlike so many...

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Dec 10 2010

Code: Breaker Vol. 1, by Akimine Kamijyo

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Volume one of Akimine Kamijyo's series Code: Breaker is not for the faint of heart. And as the first few pages indicated the story was going to be an all-ages-friendly shounen mang...

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Oct 26 2015

Cold-Hearted Rake, by Lisa Kleypas

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Lisa Kleypas's latest historical romance, Cold-Hearted Rake, checks quite a few of my preferred boxes: there's a strong focus on money, a period-appropriate (well, more or less) wariness about sex, and a celebration of family support systems. Unfortunately, the actual romance falls a little flat, but even sub-par Kleypas novels are well worth reading...

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Feb 3 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

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If you can stomach the first scene in Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, you're sitting pretty for the rest of the book. The story opens with a massacre: when Tana wakes up in a bathtub after a teen party, she discovers that she has drunkenly dozed through a massive vampire attack. Most of her friends are dead, but her ex-boyfriend Aidan has survived...

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Jan 4 2010

Comic Book Design, by Gary Spencer Millidge

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Gary Spencer Millidge's Comic Book Design offers readers a colorful and informative tour of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation and promotion of comic books. He delves into cons...

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Feb 15 2008

Confessions of a Serial Kisser, by Wendelin Van Draanen

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Seventeen-year-old Evangeline Logan, the heroine of Wendelin Van Draanen’s new YA novel Confessions of a Serial Kisser, has a lot in common with the eponymous star of her kid-friendly Sammy Keyes mystery series. Both girls are smart, resourceful, and fearless...

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Jun 1 2015

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, by Natalie Standiford

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Natalie Standiford's Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters seems like it's one of the many trashy thrillers out there about wealthy, pretty kids behaving badly, but the plot summary and glossy cover art are misleading. I'm not sure what I could compare this story to, but it's definitely no Gossip Girl rip-off...

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Feb 27 2013

The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman

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Allegra Goodman's novel The Cookbook Collector has been widely compared to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Sadly, I have always found Sense and Sensibility much easier to admire than actually enjoy, so I opened The Cookbook Collector with trepidation...

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Nov 13 2007

Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer

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Georgette Heyer's Cotillion is romantic, hilarious, delightfully unconventional, and one of my all-time favorite books. For some unfathomable reason, Cotillion is rarely reprinted, so I was thrilled when Sourcebooks announced that this outstanding historical romance would be one of their Fall titles...

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Oct 17 2007

Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl, by John Feinstein

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John Feinstein’s Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl offers an appealing alternative to the majority of books aimed at preteen male readers (most of which seem to feature wizards, spies, and/or laser-toting aliens). While Cover-Up includes its fair share of armed thugs and sneering bad guys, it’s basically a thoughtful, entertaining novel about the world of sports journalism...

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May 8 2017

Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan

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You know that bit in celebrity magazine interviews where they list in painstaking detail the outfit the actress is wearing? Or describe her utterly fabulous house? Well, picture an entire book composed of those paragraphs, and you'd be covering at least 75% of the plot of Kevin Kwan's 2013 novel Crazy Rich Asians...

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Sep 12 2016

The Creeping Shadow, by Jonathan Stroud

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In The Creeping Shadow, the fourth book in Jonathan Stroud's spine-tingling Lockwood and Co. series, the heroine has left her friends at the Lockwood and Co. ghost-hunting agency. Lucy is now a freelance Listener, hiring herself out to the big London agencies. But when her former teammates request her help with the ghost...

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May 14 2012

Cross My Heart, by Sasha Gould

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Sasha Gould's historical mystery/romance Cross My Heart isn't perfect, but YA novels as ambitious as this one are rare*, so I want to give credit where credit is due: apart from some minor missteps, Cross My Heart is atmospheric and compulsively readable.

Cross My Heart opens in Venice, 1585, as sixteen-year-old Laura della Scala glumly counts down the days until she will be forced to become a nun....

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Dec 27 2010

The Crossbones: Skeleton Creek #3, by Patrick Carman

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We liked the first two books in Patrick Carman's Skeleton Creek horror/mystery series. Sure, we moaned about having to access hokey online videos in order to fully experience th...

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