In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell
I’m really enjoying Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series on audio! These are short paranormal mysteries that have appealing characters, are light on blood and violence, feature (but don’t focus too much on) romantic relationships, include a bit of humor, and have a great setting (a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco). Each mystery is self-contained but there’s an overarching plot that advances with each book (so you want to start with the first book, Secondhand Spirits).
In this fourth novel, Lily is attending an art deco charity ball with a date when she sees a woman fall unconscious in the restroom. It looks like witchcraft is at work. Lily can’t mind her own business, so she starts investigating and eventually unearths a nasty little plot involving a local coven, a fussy baby, a jilted lover, poisonous plants, backward ma... Read More
In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell
Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison
I once met a woman in a bookstore who was in the process of buying Harry Harrison's 1965 classic Bill, the Galactic Hero. She told me that she'd read it many times already, and that it was the funniest book ever. Well, I've never forgotten that conversation, and had long been meaning to ascertain whether or not this woman was right. It took me almost 20 years to get around to this book, but having just finished Bill, the Galactic Hero, I must say that it is very amusing indeed.
In it, we meet Bill (no last name is ever provided), a simple farm lad on Phigerinadon II, who is shanghaied into the galactic emperor's army to fight in the war against the lizardlike Chingers. And what a grueling odyssey Bill goes through before all is said and done! He experiences a boot camp from hell, serves aboard the starship Christine Keeler and is almost killed, gets lost on the plane... Read More
Wild Fell by Michael Rowe
Wild Fell begins in the small town of Alvina, Ontario, in 1960, when Sean Schwartz asks his high school sweetheart, Brenda Egan, if she believes in ghosts. Whether he’s trying to scare her into cuddling closer, looking for some excitement to end the summer before school begins again, or is entirely sincere in his question, his question is a prelude to asking Brenda if she’ll cross a mile of Devil’s Lake to Blackmore Island to explore the remains of a mansion called Wild Fell. It takes some persuading, but Brenda reluctantly agrees, only to change her mind when they’re halfway there, suddenly frightened. Sean is disappointed, maybe angry, but the evening is saved by an illicit bottle of wine and a bonfire. But Wild Fell isn’t done with them, and the curtain of the prologue falls as a legend begins.
Michael Rowe sets his hook firmly with this prologue, but then he lets the line ou... Read More
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
My copy of Memory looks like it was reread several dozen times and then shoved in the bottom of a backpack and schlepped a few hundred thousand miles (it was). It’s my favorite book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN SAGA, which is a series made up of some of my favorite books. But it isn’t high literature or uber-intellectual science fiction or the kind of book that people call “genre bending.” The plot is pure, fast-paced, crime-solving fun, like the rest of the series. It’s just a cheap paperback.
But it moved me, and continues to move me. This review is my attempt to understand how and why. After some thought and another rereading, I’ve come to suspect that it’s a book built on tiny, imperfectly perfect human interactions. The meat of Memory isn’t in the plasma arcs or crime-solving; it’s in Miles’ rambling, sarcastic inner voices, the stilted and wr... Read More
WOOL by Hugh Howey
First of all, I came to the WOOL party late. Almost everyone on the site except me has read it, I think, (see Ruth’s and Bill’s reviews). I confess I did not love it as much as Ruth did, but I liked it — I liked it a lot. It reminded me, in the best possible way, of the original black-and-white Twilight Zone episodes, where futuristic dystopian settings told us stories that left us with serious questions about ourselves, our society and our values.
The Twilight Zone feeling was enhanced by the first section of the book which I read several months ago after I ordered it, instead of the omnibus, by mistake. That section was a complete story and elegantly introduces every theme that will be touched on in the rest of the book. My problem with the omnib... Read More
This week, Supergirl again.
Supergirl: I've been a journey through human philosophy lately, mostly to get back into Superman's good books after the Halloween thing (though I'm still not sure how I was supposed to know there's one day set aside where I'm not supposed to punch General Zod when I spot him in the act of strolling down Main Street). First I read Zeno. He said that people should keep control over their emotions, so I settled the disputes in North Dakota. Like, all of them, and I didn't punch anybody. And Superman was really pleased and said I was learning restraint. Next I read Confucius, and he said that it's not enough to be nice, you have to do nice things too. So I mended 100 miles of fence, delivered 482 birthday presents that wouldn't have gotten there on time, and rescued 83 cats from trees. Superman got me cake.
Then I tried to read Ayn Rand ... Read More
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Such games we play.... As if I didn’t have to hedge and speak in code most of the time, I must now do it as part of regular social interactions. No wonder Mademoiselle Geraldine’s has such success training the female aristocracy to be intelligencers. It’s most of our life already. ~Miss Sophronia Temminnick
The intrepid girls of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality have returned in another completely charming YA adventure! After having possibly saved the world quite recently, the girls are back in school learning how to dance, do household accounting, speak demurely, faint properly, flutter their eyelashes, and assassinate people at the dinner table. Sophronia, our protagonist, isn’t quite sure why she’s learning these things or who she’ll be working for — all she knows is that she’s having fun and she does not want to be sent home.
... Read More
Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
Sorrow’s Knot had some big footsteps in which to follow, since Erin Bow’s debut novel Plain Kate was pretty terrific. But I’m pleased to report that Sorrow’s Knot not only lived up to my expectations but exceeded them. This is a fantastic novel, and better than Plain Kate.
Sorrow’s Knot is set in a world that feels a lot like the Pacific Northwest, and draws from (without copying anyone or anything in particular) Native American cultures. The heroine, Otter, is growing up in a village that is almost exclusively made up of women. She is the daughter of Willow, the village’s Binder, whose task it is to bind the dead — both figuratively and literally — so that they cannot return in ghostly form to harm the living. But now Willow is going mad, and making cryptic statements about the... Read More
It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!
What is the best book you read in November 2013 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.
(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.)
As always, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks.
We've got a few giveaways still current. Read More
Untamed by P.C. Cast
Untamed is the fourth book in P.C. and Kristen Cast’s HOUSE OF NIGHT paranormal romance series for young adults. I haven’t enjoyed any of the books so far and I nearly gave up on them halfway through the previous book, Chosen. However, I keep soldiering on because I’m downloading them for free from my library and they’re so silly and fluffy that it’s possible to listen to them with only 1/4 of my brain, freeing me up to do some serious multi-tasking while listening. Also, I really want to get them reviewed for FanLit. I mean, that is one of our site’s goals — to read bad books so you don’t have to.
OK, so in my review of the last book, Chosen, I gave a long list of complaints. I wonder if many previous reviewers have given the same list because, it’s really weird, but Cast actually fixes a lot of these problems in Untamed!
As j... Read More