Rename this cover!


  It’s time again for one of our favorite games! Please help us rename the cover of this book. Got a suggestion for a cover that needs renaming? Please send it to...

Read More
Our favorite books of 2018


Here are our favorite books published in 2018. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Click on the cover to read our review. Please keep in mind that we did not read...

Read More
Tricksters in Fairy Tales


“They seek him here, they seek him there…” This past spring, I taught a class on fairy tales and fairy tale adaptations to undergraduates at the University of...

Read More
Our rating system


We realize that we’re not professional literature critics — we’re just a group of readers who love to read and write about speculative fiction — but we...

Read More

Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: Favorite SFF Adaptations

Speculative fiction is a gold mine for content providers and streaming services. In the past ten years we’ve seen an explosion of adaptations of written-word works to the small screen in particular, and most particularly in the form of series.

The series almost never follows the book(s) exactly (movies don’t either) but the best of them capture the sensibility of the written story, and the characters.

Game of Thrones is probably the Monster King of this subgenre, but series like The Expanse and Outlander have done pretty well too.

Which is your favorite adaptation? Which adaptation are you most a... Read More

The King of Elfland’s Daughter: Haunting and Lyrical

Reposting to include Sandy's new review.

The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

After reading about Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter I went in search of it and found it at my university library. Reading it was quite a different experience for me, but people who aren't prepared for the style of writing like I was might be disappointed, confused or scorning of the slow, dream-like pace, archetype characters and poetical language. This might be especially true of fans of typical fantasy genre books (authors such as David Eddings or Terry Brooks) where a fantasy universe is deemed to be good only if it has a solid backing and an exhaustive array of facts and figures to add realism to the stories. Lord Dunsa... Read More

WWWednesday: January 22, 2020

Cons: 

Arisia 2020 went forward and File 770 provides some fun photos here. 

Books and Writing:

Via File 770, the Heinlein Scholarships program is open until April 1, 2020.

LitHub shares genuine pulp covers of classic literary works—at least they say they are genuine and, like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I nearly fell over when I saw the Wuthering Heights cover, and then I got to Heart of Darkness.

Missouri has introduced legislation to create small groups of parents to Read More

Sweep of the Blade: Planet of the Vampires

Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews

With Sweep of the Blade, the fourth installment in Ilona AndrewsINNKEEPER CHRONICLES series, there is a new main character: Maud, sister of Dina, the previous main character and the innkeeper of this light SF series. We met Maud in the prior book in this series, One Fell Sweep, when Dina convinced Sean the werewolf and Arland the vampire — these are both alien races, by the way, though distantly related to humans — to help her rescue Maud and her five-year-old half-vampire daughter Helen from the desert prison planet Karhari. In the first few chapters of Sweep of the Blade, Andrews retells these scenes from Maud’s point of view.

Ar... Read More

A Queen in Hiding: A solid intro to a new series

A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

I’ve, unfortunately, been on a run lately in my genre reading of books that are perfectly, well, “serviceable.” They (mostly) keep my interest throughout, offer up some pleasurable reading for a few hours, but never rise above that “solidly decent” level. Nothing startles in the way of plot, language, structure, character. It’s smooth sailing across placid waters with no storms or reefs (i.e. bad writing), which is “nice.” But, also, no dolphins arcing out of the water, no humpback sightings, no sunken ships to explore, etc. In other words, nothing to stir the mind or soul, nothing to grab you and not let go, nothing memorable enough to have you proselytize the book to all your friends. And that’s pretty much where Sarah Kozloff’s debut novel A Queen in Hiding (2020) sits — a good book that will please most, even if it doesn’t excite them.
... Read More

The Starless Sea: Visually spectacular

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Given the success of her debut, it would be impossible to write about Erin Morgenstern's eagerly awaited follow-up without alluding to The Night Circus (2011). The bestseller accrued a mass following of 'Rêveurs' – the self-styled fanbase, named after the followers of the circus in the book. It inspired a formidable amount of tattoos and artwork on Pinterest, as well as being translated into thirty-seven languages, no less. It was always going to be a hard act to follow, but can Morgenstern live up to her own success?

The Starless Sea (2019) follows the tale of Zachary Ezra Rawlins, the son of... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 19, 2020

Jana: This week I started reading An Easy Death, the first book in Charlaine HarrisGUNNIE ROSE Weird West/alternate-history series, so that I’ll know what’s happening when I read A Longer Fall, the second (and just-published) instalment. For fun, I’m doing a re-read of the various Anne McCaffrey PERN books in my personal library, but the order I’m reading them in will be chronological determined by in-book events, so I’m beginning with Dragonsdawn Read More

The Bard’s Blade: A solid enough first book that left me wanting more bite

The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

The Bard’s Blade (2020), by Brian D. Anderson, is the first book of THE SORCERER’S SONG trilogy and as such it’s a perfectly serviceable fantasy, a comfortingly welcome invitation into a new series. If that seems a bit like damning with faint praise, that’s because while the novel goes down easily and smoothly, I can’t say there’s anything that makes it particularly stand out. I’d say it’s the vanilla flavor at a Ben and Jerry’s, save that vanilla is actually my favorite flavor. Maybe it’s a peanut-butter sandwich. It satisfies, it fills that need in your stomach, assuages your hunger, but you won’t be grabbing someone in the grocery store while they’re shopping and telling them, “You really have to try a peanut-butter sandwich!”

The story opens in Vyla... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in December 2019. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, plea... Read More

The Bronze Skies: Another adventure in the undercity

The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asaro

The Bronze Skies (2017) is the second book in Catherine Asaro’s MAJOR BHAAJAN series. In the first book, Undercity, we met Bhaajan, a private investigator who recently retired from military service. When she is hired by the royal family to track down a runaway prince, she must descend into the grimy tunnels under the capital city of Cries. This is where the lowest cast of citizens live — in the city’s underbelly — and this is where Bhaajan grew up before escaping into the military. As Bhaajan searches for the prince, it’s easy to draw parallels between the class system of Cries and our own world’s socioeconomic hierarchies.

In The Bronze Skies Read More