Posts tagged with fantasy

Mar 23 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Charlaine Harris's Midnight Crossroad, the first installment in a trilogy set in a fictional Texas town called Midnight. The novel plays to Harris's strengths; there's no one better at creating a plausible blend of fantasy and pink-collar Southern life. (Of course, that's not exactly a crowded literary field, but that doesn't take away from Harris's gifts.) A full review will follow later today...

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Mar 2 2015

Such Sweet Sorrow, by Jenny Trout

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As books go, Jenny Trout's YA novel Such Sweet Sorrow is a bit of a mess—albeit an interesting, ambitious mess, with flashes of something that could have been great. I can't ignore its flaws, but let me give credit where credit is due: this story would make a spectacular video game, full of world-building and action...

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Mar 2 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Such Sweet Sorrow, by Jenny Trout

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I've had Shakespeare on the brain recently, what with my rage over anyone describing Cymbeline as an "undiscovered masterpiece" (note: I'm not sure which one of those descriptors irritates me more), so this week's Book Giveaway is Jenny Trout's Such Sweet Sorrow, a YA novel about Romeo and Hamlet teaming up in the afterlife to find Juliet. I don't understand why there's a corseted girl with what appears to be a Victorian parasol on the cover, but whatever...

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Feb 25 2015

The Girl Who Never Was and The Boy With The Hidden Name, by Skylar Dorset

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Skylar Dorset's novels The Girl Who Never Was and The Boy With the Hidden Name are mildly entertaining, thanks mostly to their unusual setting and solid romantic storyline. The series slides right down, but, sadly, there's very little in the way of memorable plot development to keep it from sliding straight back out again...

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Feb 23 2015

Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear

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Elizabeth Bear's novel Karen Memory has all the hallmarks of a great YA novel: the plot is unabashedly romantic and imaginative, and the author is clearly determined to deliver plenty of value for your entertainment dollar. In fact, I suspect the only reason this wasn't packaged as a teen book is because the sixteen-year-old heroine is A) gay and B) a prostitute...

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Feb 23 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory, a steampunk Western set in an otherworldly version of the Seattle Underground. I'm not very far into it yet, but I'll read anything that plays up Seattle's innate weirdness, and I'm already a fan of the heroine's frank, no-nonsense narration...

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Feb 17 2015

Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton

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Arwen Elys Dayton's Seeker feels less like an actual book and more like the novelization of a movie. Admittedly, I would totally watch said movie*, but my film standards are embarrassingly low. I expect more from books—consistent characterization, well-planned plot development, creative world-building—and Seeker falls short on all of these fronts...

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Feb 17 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton

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This week's Book Giveaway is Seeker, the first YA novel by Arwen Elys Dayton. This book is receiving LOADS of hardcore promotion, but readers should note that Dayton, who is married to EarthLink founder Sky Dayton, is something of a celebrity author. I am not saying that Seeker is bad (I haven't even read it yet! Maybe it's great!), but publishing is not always an 100% merit-based industry, and...

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Jan 20 2015

Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer

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Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation is simultaneously clever and pretentious, engaging and irritating as hell. I am by no means certain I actually liked it, but I'm definitely going to read the sequels...

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Jan 14 2015

Autumn Falls, by Bella Thorne (and Elise Allen)

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I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm giving Disney Channel actress Bella Thorne's debut novel Autumn Falls a glowing “Nowhere near as terrible as I thought it would be”. I'm not saying it's actually good, mind you, but I've read way worse...

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Jan 7 2015

Anata ni Hana o Sasagemasho, by Tomu Ohmi

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I have a soft spot for Tomu Ohmi's 1970s-Harlequin-novel-meets-Twilight manga Midnight Secretary, so I was happy to hear a rumor that another of Ohmi's works, Anata ni Hana o Sasagemashō, will soon be licensed. Nobody seems to have confirmed this, but I decided to read and review the series anyway, just in case...

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Dec 22 2014

Waterfall, by Lauren Kate

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After reading Stacey Jay's latest novel, I decided it was time to give Lauren Kate another shot. I've complained about Kate's writing before, but Jay's book left me feeling hopeful. Contrary to some previously-held fears, YA writers can improve over time... but, alas, Kate does not seem to be one of them. Actually, I'm worried her books may be getting worse...

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Dec 22 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Waterfall, by Lauren Kate

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This week we're giving away a copy of Lauren Kate's Waterfall, the sequel to last year's Teardrop, which we complained about at length here. A full review will follow later today, but (SPOILER) we didn't like Waterfall, either, so we strongly encourage our readers to enter this drawing and pick up this book for the only worthwhile price: free...

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Dec 15 2014

Princess of Thorns, by Stacey Jay

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Stacey Jay's first two novels had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, and my hopes for her future efforts were not high. Her third book—a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast—was much more successful, and her latest effort...

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Nov 3 2014

Lark Rising, by Sandra Waugh

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After last week's horror-story marathon, I've been looking forward to exploring different genres, and Sandra Waugh's Lark Rising totally fits the bill—it's classic high fantasy, complete with glowing orbs, prophetic poetry, and a hand-drawn map featuring names like "The Myr Mountains" and "The Dark Wood"...

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Nov 3 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Lark Rising, by Sandra Waugh

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I could wish for a less moldy-looking cover, but I'm pretty excited about this novel: our current Book Giveaway is Lark Rising, the first installment in Sandra Waugh's Guardians of Tarnec series. I've heard good things about this story, and will post our take later this afternoon...

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Oct 6 2014

The Smoke Thief, by Shana Abe

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I have strong feelings about romance novels. I like stories that don't expect me to buy that the hero and heroine have fallen into deep, everlasting love in a matter of days, stories where the sexual relationship isn't forced or coerced, and, above all, stories set after 1800, where I feel like all the characters are more likely to routinely bathe. Shana Abé's The Smoke Thief is none of these things, so I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it...

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Oct 6 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Smoke Thief, by Shana Abe

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This week's Book Giveaway is Shana Abé's The Smoke Thief. It's the first of her bestselling Drakon books, a series of historical fantasy/romance novels about characters that shift between human, dragon, and, uh, smoke monster forms (but not in a Lost kind of way)...

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Sep 24 2014

Unmade: The Lynburn Legacy, by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken was one of the most promising teen romances I've read in the past decade, with an absolutely phenomenal premise. The sequel, alas, took several steps down in quality, and I'm sad to report that the final book in the trilogy is dumber still...

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Sep 8 2014

Gameboard of the Gods, by Richelle Mead

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To do her justice, Richelle Mead is not lazy. Her Vampire Academy series is successful enough that many authors would have settled for simply producing more of the same, but she has chosen instead to return to her adult paranormal-fiction roots, creating the sci-fi/fantasy series Age of X...

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Sep 8 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Gameboard of the Gods, by Richelle Mead

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This week's Book Giveaway is Richelle Mead's Gameboard of the Gods. I've found Richelle Mead's adult novels to be even more hit-or-miss than her Vampire Academy books (and let's face it: those are pretty spotty, too), so here's hoping this is one for the "hit" column...

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Sep 4 2014

Visions, by Kelley Armstrong

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The second book in Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville series has recently been released, and it has the same strengths and weaknesses as its predecessor: I continue to find the heroine about as emotionally engaging as a roll of paper towels, but I am 100% invested in figuring out the whys and wherefores of the world Armstrong has created...

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Aug 25 2014

Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner

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Inspired by Robert Lynn Asprin's long-running Thieves' World series, editor and author Terri Windling created the shared-world Borderland series in 1985. Borderland was followed by 1986's Bordertown and 1991's Life on the Border, and in 2011, twelve years after the publication of The Essential Bordertown, the series was revived by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, with Windling's blessing and participation...

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Aug 25 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black

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This week we're giving away a copy of Welcome to Bordertown, a collection of short stories and poetry set in Terri Windling's "Bordertown" Universe and edited by Holly Black. The anthology includes some big names (Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, etc.), but I'm most excited about the short story by Annette Curtis Klause, whose book releases are way too few and far between...

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Aug 11 2014

Frostborn, by Lou Anders

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While I doubt Lou Anders's Thrones & Bones: Frostborn will attract much of an adult audience, it's the kind of novel parents will love to read out loud to their kids. Anders divides his story between Karn, a human boy destined to inherit his father's farm (and the countless mind-numbing responsibilities that come with it), and Thianna, a half-giant, half-human girl who feels like she'll never fit in anywhere...

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Aug 11 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Frostborn, by Lou Anders

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This week we're giving away Lou Anders's debut novel Frostborn, the first installment of his "Thrones and Bones" series. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far it seems like a brisk, enjoyable read, carefully constructed to appeal to young readers of both genders. It definitely feels like a kid-specific story (unlike, say, Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley), but budding fantasy fans...

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Jul 28 2014

The Glass Sentence, by S.E. Grove

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Several people have compared S. E. Grove's debut novel The Glass Sentence to Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. I understand the comparison, but, uh, like hell: Grove is a promising writer, but she doesn't have Pullman's skill (at least, not yet). Instead, I was put in mind of a child-friendly version of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell—a truly impressive effort, but...

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Jul 28 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Glass Sentence, by S. E. Grove

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This week we're giving away a copy of S.E. Grove's The Glass Sentence. I know nothing about this book except for the fact that the back cover has a quote from Megan Whalen Turner comparing it to Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. That's some seriously impressive praise from an impeccable source, so my expectations are very, very high...

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Jul 21 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Fire Wish, by Amber Lough

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is Amber Lough's debut novel The Fire Wish. I have no idea if the story's any good, but I'm pleased to see an Arabian Nights-inspired teen fantasy novel (and a little surprised I haven't been sent more of them, frankly). You'd think the gorgeous clothes alone would have been enough to attract more YA authors' interest...

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Jul 14 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire

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We've expressed mixed (but mostly positive!) feelings about Seanan McGuire's writing in the past, but we're pretty excited about this week's Book Giveaway pick, Sparrow Hill Road. It appears to be a classic ghost story told from the ghost's point of view, and what could be more summertime campfire-friendly...

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