Thoughtful Thursday: Writing for kids [GIVEAWAY!]

We've got Jaleigh Johnson with us today. I recently enjoyed her new Middle Grade novel, The Mark of the Dragonfly, which has a wonderful premise and setting. Johnson is best known for her contributions to the FORGOTTEN REALMS shared universe, so Middle Grade is a new realm for her. Curious about how she approached this challenge, I asked her what she does differently when she writes for kids. Her response is below and, at the end, she wants to know what YOU are looking for in a story for children. One commenter from the U.S. or Canada will win a copy of The Mark of the Dragonfly.

I’m asked this question fairly often, and I understand why. Now that Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Book deal breakers

In one of last month's Thoughtful Thursday columns, April suggested a discussion topic. She wants to know what your "book deal breakers" are.

Laughable Lyrics: A Fourth Book of Nonsense Poems, Songs, Botany, Music, etc. by Edward Lear (1894).

Book deal breakers are elements you find in the synopsis, cover, title, or text that will make you absolutely not buy, read, or continue reading a particular book. April says "I know everyone has some!"

So, readers, what are your book deal breakers?

As always, one commenter will be chosen to pick a book from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember... Read More

GIVEAWAY! The Eternal Sky trilogy by Elizabeth Bear

Thanks to our friends at Tor, we've got a great giveaway offer today: All three novels in Elizabeth Bear's ETERNAL SKY trilogy!

After reading the first book, Range of Ghosts, our friend Stefan said "Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear is the best fantasy novel I’ve read all year, and you should read it too."

I read it a few months ago and remarked that "Range of Ghosts is what I always want high fantasy to be, and what it rarely is." I just finished the second book and I'm completely in love with this series. The final novel, Steles of the Sky, is being released today and I can't wait to read it.... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2014 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. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from Read More

Thoughtful Thursday (Giveaway!): Half in Love, by Alex Hughes

Today we welcome Alex Hughes, author of the MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS series. The second novel, Sharp, was one of my favorite reads last year. I've just finished the excellent third volume, Marked, which will be released on April 1. In Marked, Adam is investigating a case at the Telepath's Guild. Adam continues to be one of my favorite urban fantasy heroes because his struggles feel so viscerally real. The emotional agony and practical physical pain he combats as he struggles to maintain his sobriety in the face of difficult life transitions are poetically beautiful.

Here's your chance to try MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS. One commenter will win a copy of either Clean or Sharp (your choice). If you're in the US, you can choose a print or ebook... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday (GIVEAWAY!): Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in February 2014. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-12)
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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

I have to admit that I have not read Clash of Star-Kings, but with a cover like this, I'm not likely to pick it up when I see it in my local used bookstore. (And that's a shame because I've read other fine books by Avram Davidson.)

So, if I'm not going to read Clash of Star-Kings, at least I can help rename it with a title that better fits this cover.

Please help me.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks. (Unfortunately, we don't have Clash of Star-Kings, but we have plenty of other nice offerings). Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in February 2014 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. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Fancasting for Gods

If you haven’t already heard, let me announce with great pleasure: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys are both officially being adapted as television series. Unless you’re one of the dedicated adaptation-haters—the ones that mutter angrily that Harry’s eyes are green, for the love of god, and announce to everyone that there were no elves at the Battle of Helm’s Deep—this is good news. Both these books are the kinds of action-and-witty-dialogue-filled pieces that work well on screen. Plus, Gaimain has previously refused to sell the rights to Anansi Boys because certain nameless producers wanted to whitewash his characters. So, there’s a real chanc... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in January 2014. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-12)
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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match

Given the recent flap over J.K. Rowling’s revelation that Hermione and Ron were perhaps not the best choice to put together in a long-term relationship (though she has since said they’d probably be OK with some counseling), Alix and I were wondering if any of us could do a better job playing Cupid this Valentine’s Week.

Alix wants to introduce Arya Stark and Kvothe, because, she says, "I never bought Kvothe and whassername for a second, and Arya would take him down a notch or two."

As for me, I'd like to see Anomander Rake and Read More

Thoughtful Thursday (Giveaway!): What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in January 2014 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

Thoughtful Thursday: Guess what we’re reading!

Let's try a new game today!  (I'm calling this game "Guess what we're reading" but if you can think of something slightly more inspired, please suggest it.)

Grab the book you're currently reading, open to the spot where you left off (or turn on your audio player if it's an audiobook) and, as a comment below, give us the next 50 words. Other readers will try to guess your book while you try to guess theirs.

Here are the rules:



If you're reading more than one book, submit as many as you like -- just put them in separate comments.
When you guess someone's book, reply directly to that comment so we keep the threads neatly organized.
Please keep your 50 words family-friendly. If you happen to be lingering over a particularly steamy or gory scene, turn the page. If there are any other issues with your 50 words (e.g., major spoiler) do likewise.
When you guess books, you m... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

No, gentle readers, your eyes are not deceiving you.

This is the cover for the 1975 Ballantine issue of William Goldman's classic novel The Princess Bride.

Yes, we are just as offended as you are. It's INCONCEIVABLE! This horrid cover does not belong on one of our favorite books and, therefore, it needs a new title. Can you help us provide one that's more appropriate?

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks. (Unfortunately, we don't have a copy of this book, but we can set you up with something naughty by Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in December 2013. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-12)
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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

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