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Apr 1 2015

Dangerous Deceptions, by Sarah Zettel

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Dangerous Deceptions is the second book in Sarah Zettel's 'Palace of Spies' series. It continues the adventures of Peggy Fitzroy, lady-in-waiting (and part-time spy) at the Hanoverian court of King George I. Peggy has been tasked with nosing out the Jacobite rebels at court, but her work as a spy is increasingly hindered by events in her “normal” life...

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Jun 16 2014

Darcy's Story, by Janet Aylmer

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I am not picky about Jane Austen fanfic. Despite my frequent bookshelf purges, I have kept nearly a dozen Pride and Prejudice retellings, re-imaginings, and continuations of varying degrees of quality, so it's pretty telling that I will be sending my copy of Janet Aylmer's Darcy's Story off to its new home without a pang...

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Jul 11 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places, by Carrie Ryan

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The Dark and Hollow Places is the final book in Carrie Ryan's nihilistic girls-vs.-zombies trilogy, following The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves. I enjoyed the first story in...

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Oct 28 2013

The Dark Between, by Sonia Gensler

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Apart from an overly poetic opening sequence that compares the heroine to a “leggy foal contorted in the womb” (seriously), Sonia Gensler's novel The Dark Between is an enjoyably atmospheric and unpretentious historical fantasy-adventure story...

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Mar 21 2016

The Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman

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Reading Alison Goodman's new YA novel The Dark Days Club is a bit like eating a ten course meal: the individual elements were delicious, but eventually I found myself too full to properly appreciate them...

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Jan 18 2011

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, by Josh Berk

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When I opened the package containing Josh Berk's debut novel The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, I assumed it was a book aimed at elementary school students. The colorful cover, the goofy nam...

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Apr 10 2017

The Dark Days Pact, by Alison Goodman

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When I read the first book in Alison Goodman's Lady Helen series, I found it solidly written but over-engineered. The second installment, The Dark Days Pact, has similar strengths and weaknesses, but the deepening emotional stakes make the overall story far more satisfying...

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Jul 18 2016

Dark Money, by Jane Mayer

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On August 30, 2010, Janet Mayer published an article in the New Yorker called 'Covert Operations', an in-depth look at the political influence of Charles and David Koch, two American billionaire brothers who have devoted over a hundred million dollars to promoting libertarian causes. Over the next few years Mayer deepened and expanded her research on the subject, transforming her article into...

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Mar 11 2013

Dark Souls, by Paula Morris

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Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls isn't the best YA paranormal romance I have ever read, but it boasts likeable characters, an intriguing premise, and literally dozens of ghosts, running the gamut from benign to horrifying. Fans of the genre are in for a creepy, history-infused treat...

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Nov 18 2013

Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts

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It's pointless to complain about repetitiveness in a Nora Roberts book. The woman has published over 200 novels; at this point I'm not sure if there's a romantic conflict out there she hasn't beaten to death. Certainly all the subjects in her latest novel Dark Witch are pretty shopworn—but if you're in the right mood, “shopworn” can translate to “enjoyable and comforting”...

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Jan 9 2017

The Darkest Torment, by Gena Showalter

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Gena Showalter's The Darkest Torment is the literary equivalent of a music video—flashy and evocative, but short on coherent plot. Admittedly, this is the twelfth installment in an ongoing series, so I didn't expect to grasp the minutiae of Showalter's world, but the standalone elements of this story (including the entire romantic story arc) didn't make much sense, either...

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Feb 28 2008

Darkside, by Tom Becker

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Tom Becker’s debut novel Darkside opens with a kidnapping: thirteen-year-old Ricky Thomas is abducted from the middle of Trafalgar Square in broad daylight, and, strangely, none of the hundreds of...

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Jan 4 2016

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

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Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is the third collaboration between YA authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Once again, Cohn and Levithan have chosen to write about bored, too-clever teenagers, and—also once again—their story constantly veers between adorable and irritating as hell...

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Aug 18 2008

Dating da Vinci, by Malena Lott

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The heroine of Malena Lott’s novel Dating da Vinci is a 36-year-old linguist named Ramona Elise. The widowed mother of two young boys, Ramona is still mourning her husband, who died two years ear...

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Jan 8 2013

Daughter of the Centaurs, by Kate Klimo

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Kate Klimo, author of the popular Dragon Keepers series for children, has launched a new trilogy aimed at older teens. The first book in the Centauriad series, Daughter of the Centaurs, introduces Malora, a girl growing up in a hunter-gatherer village in a post-apocalyptic future. Malora dreams of becoming a master horse-trainer like her father, and when her tribe is slaughtered by monsters her affinity with horses is all that allows her to survive...

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Nov 24 2014

Daughter of Xanadu, by Dori Jones Yang

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When I picked up Dori Jones Yang's novel Daughter of Xanadu, I was hoping to find a fictionalized version of the story of Khutulun, the most famous Mongolian girl of the era. My expectations were totally off* (they usually are), but Yang's novel has charms of its own...

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May 5 2014

Daughters of the Sea: Hannah, by Kathryn Lasky

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Kathryn Lasky's Daughters of the Sea: Hannah is a stitched-together Frankenstein's monster of a story—an Upstairs, Downstairs domestic drama featuring a mermaid, an evil debutante, and a potentially demonic cat. I realize that sounds insane, but to the author's credit, it slides down more smoothly than you'd think...

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May 11 2015

Day Shift, by Charlaine Harris

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This is going to sound a little strange, but I mean it as a compliment: Charlaine Harris's Midnight, Texas novels are a delightful opportunity to indulge in benign nosiness. Her characters are still only half-developed (at most), but the odd, disjointed peeks she offers into their lives makes me feel like I've had an opportunity to eavesdrop on the private conversations...

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Jul 26 2012

Dead End Deal, by Allen Wyler

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Allen Wyler embraces that dictum about writing what you know: he's a Seattle-based neurosurgeon who writes suspense novels about Seattle-based neurosurgeons. His latest effort, Dead End Deal, is the story of Professor Jon Ritter, a neurosurgeon hovering on the brink of a major advancement in the fight against Alzheimer's...

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Sep 27 2007

The Dead Guy Interviews, by Michael A. Stusser

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I still have my battered middle school copy of DK Publishing's Chronicle of America. It’s held together with duct tape and prayers, but I’m going to keep it forever. The Chronicle was a massive ...

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Jul 27 2015

Dead Ice, by Laurell K. Hamilton

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Laurell K. Hamilton has a gift. You wouldn't think a novel featuring vampires, werewolves, necromancers, polyamory, and—no joke—zombie porn could be dead boring, but somehow, inexplicably, Ms. Hamilton is capable of proving you wrong...

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Sep 29 2008

Dead is the New Black, by Marlene Perez

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Marlene Perez’s Dead is the New Black is a supernatural mystery/romance aimed at reluctant teen readers*. Her protagonist is Daisy Giordano, the youngest daughter of one of the strangest families ...

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Jan 3 2017

The Dead Seekers, by Barb and J.C. Hendee

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Barb and J.C. Hendee's new novel The Dead Seekers has a very specific target audience: people hoping for a serious take on movies like Van Helsing or Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Set in the same world as the Hendees' best-selling Noble Dead series, The Dead Seekers features a vaguely Eastern European setting, loads of ghosts, and two gloomy protagonists—Tris, an uptight ghost-slayer for hire, and Mari, a young woman determined to avenge her murdered family...

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Mar 4 2010

The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan

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The Dead-Tossed Waves is the sequel to Carrie Ryan's 2009 novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and it's just as cheery as its predecessor—which is to say, not even remotely. Ryan's second book...

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Jan 27 2016

The Deal, The Mistake, and The Score, by Elle Kennedy

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I recently read Elle Kennedy's The Deal, The Mistake, and The Score, a collection of fun, loosely-connected New Adult romances set in the college hockey world. In The Deal, aspiring singer Hannah Wells sets out to overcome a past trauma with some no-strings-attached sex with her new pal Garrett Graham, the captain of her school's championship-winning hockey team. In The Mistake, Garrett's teammate Logan...

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Mar 5 2009

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son, by Chuck Dixon and Brett Booth

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Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son is Chuck Dixon and Brett Booth’s comic book adaptation of the 2005 novel of the same name by Dean Koontz and Kevin J. Anderson, which is in turn a modern-d...

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Sep 20 2008

The Debs, by Susan McBride

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Much like Gossip Girl, The A-List, Clique, and countless other titles in the booming subgenre of YA literature about rich, beautiful teens cavorting in the wealthiest communities in America...

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Nov 18 2006

The Deception of the Emerald Ring, by Lauren Willig

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Apparently, Penguin has a tagline for author Lauren Willig: “Lawyer by day, romance novelist by night”. The press release that they sent out with the latest installment in her swashbuckling...

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Jul 15 2013

Deep Betrayal, by Anne Greenwood Brown

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To borrow an image from the cultural zeitgeist, Anne Greenwood Brown's Deep Betrayal, the second book in her YA trilogy about killer mermaids lurking in the Great Lakes, is like Syfy's Sharknado: a ridiculously fun idea, poorly executed...

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Jan 13 2005

Deep Secret, by Diana Wynne Jones

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Please note: the plot of Diana Wynne Jones's novel Deep Secret is convoluted, the characters are slow to develop, and Jones's conception of magic is not the usual whiz-bang Harry Potter-style acti...

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Jun 28 2013

The Demon's Lexicon, The Demon's Covenant, and The Demon's Surrender, by Sarah Rees Brennan

2013-06-28-the-demons-lexicon-the-demons-covenant-and-the-demons-surrender-by-sarah-rees-brennan

While poking around Powell's Books a few weeks ago, I found an autographed copy of Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon. The cover art was straight-up atrocious (the goofy-looking male model swinging a sword while sucking in his cheekbones does nothing for me), but I really liked Brennan's latest book—Unspoken, which we reviewed here—so...

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Jun 5 2007

Desperate Duchesses, by Eloisa James

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Romance novelist and Shakespeare professor Eloisa James clearly wants her books to push the boundaries of the romance genre. But while originality is a commendable goal, it’s usually a good idea to ...

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Feb 21 2017

Devil in Spring, by Lisa Kleypas

2017-02-21-devil-in-spring-by-lisa-kleypas

I have long treasured Lisa Kleypas as one of the world's most consistently entertaining historical romance novelists. Unfortunately, her most recent series is putting a dent in that image, which I find very upsetting. I rely on you, Lisa Kleypas...

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Nov 27 2007

The Devil's Whisper, by Miyuki Miyabe

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Miyuki Miyabe’s deliciously creepy mystery/thriller The Devil’s Whisper opens with three young women dying in quick succession: one throws herself off a building, another falls in front of a train...

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Sep 28 2015

Devoted in Death, by J.D. Robb

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Devoted in Death is the 41st installment of J.D. Robb's futuristic mystery/suspense “In Death” series, and—unsurprisingly—things are getting pretty damn stale. There are a couple of nice moments in this book, but 99% of it is the literary equivalent of a filler episode...

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Jul 28 2009

Dial Emmy for Murder, by Eileen Davidson

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Dial Emmy for Murder might not have the genre-hopping appeal of, say, a Janet Evanovich novel, but it's a perfectly respectable mystery with an amusing hook and an app...

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Jan 28 2010

The Diamonds, by Ted Michael

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Fans of everything from Mean Girls to The A-List will recognize elements of Ted Michael's debut novel The Diamonds, but Michael's take on this overly-familiar material still feels smart, fun, and ...

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Nov 1 2007

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, by Thomas Holtz, Jr.

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Professional paleontologist Thomas Holtz, Jr. has just released Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, and dinophiles everywhere better start clearing space on their bookshelves, because this is not one of those illustration-heavy, text-light picture books. With contributions from over thirty of his fellow paleontologists, Holtz’s 432 pages...

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Jun 18 2013

Dirt Candy, by Amanda Cohen and Ryan Dunlavey

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My brother recently handed me a copy of Dirt Candy, a collection of recipes from Amanda Cohen's NYC vegetarian restaurant of the same name. The book is an unusual blend of cookbook, memoir, and graphic novel, and while I won't be leaping to make one of Cohen's fantastically elaborate recipes any time soon, it does make for an unexpectedly satisfying reading experience...

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Jan 14 2014

The Dirt Diary, by Anna Staniszewski

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The Dirt Diary, the first book in Anna Staniszewski's latest series for middle readers, centers around eighth-grader Rachel Lee, a shy, awkward girl with a passion for baking. When her parents split up, Rachel steals nearly $300 from her college fund and buys a plane ticket to Florida, hoping to fly down and talk some sense into her loving but flighty father. Rachel needs to replace the money before her mother finds out...

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Mar 7 2014

Discount Armageddon, Midnight Blue-Light Special, and Half-Off Ragnarok, by Seanan McGuire

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The third book in Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series hit bookstores last week, making it officially Way Past Time for me to feature this fantastic (in all senses of the word) urban fantasy series on the site. Do your best to ignore the cover art—I promise this isn't a R-rated story about an anime schoolgirl gone rogue—and believe me when I say this series is wildly fun...

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Jul 20 2015

The Diviners, by Libba Bray

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Libba Bray's books remind me of cheesecake—good cheesecake, sure, but the basic kind without bittersweet chocolate or lime zest or whatever. Her writing is always rich, carefully crafted, and satisfying, but despite her many excellent qualities, it's just not that memorable...

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Oct 12 2015

Doctor Who: City of Death, by James Goss and Douglas Adams

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Beyond coveting one of the character's trademark scarves, I've never been a Doctor Who fan. I am, however, a big Douglas Adams nerd, so when I was offered a novelization of the famous Doctor Who serial City of Death—written partially by Adams—I accepted it, my lack of Doctor Who knowledge be damned. This, my friends, is why God gave us Wikipedia...

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Jan 18 2008

Dogs and Goddesses, by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, and Lani Diane Rich

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Dogs and Goddesses, the latest collaborative novel from Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, and Lani Diane Rich, has a lot of plot packed into its 388 pages. In addition to the three heroines’ romantic travails (one storyline per author), there’s also magical cookies, talking dogs, and an ancient, ruthless Mesopotamian goddess with plans of world domination...

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Dec 12 2012

Don't Expect Magic, by Kathy McCullough

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Kathy McCullough's debut novel Don't Expect Magic has a lot going for it: it's suitable for a wide variety of ages, it manages to be inspirational without being cloying, and—best of all—it's a standalone! (You guys know how I love those...

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Aug 29 2012

Don't You Wish, by Roxanne St. Claire

2012-08-29-dont-you-wish-by-roxanne-st-claire

To mangle a phrase from Jane Austen, Roxanne St. Claire's novel Don't You Wish is one of the many YA books whose existence inspires no other emotion than surprise at there being sufficient reader demand to publish it. It's not that the novel is straight-up terrible (I'll even give it a solid “reasonably entertaining”), but it's been done before—and done better...

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Jan 6 2008

Dragonhaven, by Robin McKinley

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Robin McKinley’s Dragonhaven, her first novel in four years, is a celebration of atmosphere and characterization. It’s an intensely absorbing story, but longtime fans take heed: this book has much more in common with her character-driven vampire novel Sunshine than her earlier, more conventional fantasy novels...

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Aug 26 2013

Dragon's Keep, by Janet Lee Carey

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Janet Lee Carey's 2008 novel Dragon's Keep is a fantasy novel aimed at mature middle schoolers—kids hungry for “realistic” historical fantasy (read: everyone has fleas, and there is frequent discussion of urine) but way too young for, say, Game of Thrones. Carey's heroine is Princess Rosalind Pendragon, the subject of an ancient prophecy that suggests that she—the 21st queen of Wilde Island—will be the one to restore her family's fortunes and end a war...

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Apr 20 2015

Dream a Little Dream, by Kerstin Gier

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Kerstin Gier's new book Dream a Little Dream is finally out (two years after being released in Germany; her translator remains super slow), and it has the exact same strengths and weaknesses as her first series. Once again, Gier has created a fanciful, romantic world that is...

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Aug 20 2008

Dream Girl, by Lauren Mechling

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No sooner had we remarked on the originality of a young adult fantasy novel about a teenage girl with magical dreams... than we received another young adult fantasy novel about a teenage girl...

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Jan 22 2010

Dream Life, by Lauren Mechling

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Dream Life is Lauren Mechling's follow-up to 2008's Dream Girl, and it's even more enjoyably far-fetched than its predecessor. Both novels feature improbably-named 10th grader Claire Voyante, whos...

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Feb 8 2016

Dreamer's Pool, by Juliet Marillier

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When it comes to fantasy novels, I usually judge books on three categories: world-building, characterization, and adventure. Juliet Marillier's Dreamer's Pool features complex, sympathetic characters and an intriguing plot, although the world she has built is an odd blend of brutality and utopia...

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Jul 17 2017

Duels and Deception, by Cindy Anstey

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I picked up Cindy Anstey's Duels and Deception in hopes that it would be an improvement on Avon's True Romance line, a short-lived attempt to write Regency romance novels for teens. I found the Avon books to be amusing but flimsy (even by romance novel standards), but assumed that Anstey's book—with its eye-catching cover and breathless promotional quotes—would be more impressive. Sadly, I was wrong...

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Jul 23 2012

Dust Girl, by Sarah Zettel

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Sarah Zettel's Dust Girl has been criticized for its cover art, which several reviewers felt failed to convey an important element of the book—that the heroine is biracial. I wasn't hugely bothered by this, as the character is supposed to be able to “pass” as white and the cover model resembles the book's description, but I do have my own objections to the cover: A) it doesn't do much to evoke the book's Dust Bowl-era setting, and B) it's ridiculously boring...

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