Thoughtful Thursday

On Thursdays we host a weekly discussion question and usually gives away a book from our stacks. If you’ve got something you’d like to discuss or a suggestion for cover art that’s begging to be renamed, or if you’ve won a giveaway, please contact Kat. Thoughtful Thursday was originally conceived and hosted by retired reviewer Ruth Arnell.

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 2016. 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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #4

It’s time for Round Four of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Wins again!!



Worth a mention.



Worth a mention.



The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis’ was the winner of both our first and second rounds. It went up against five more books in our third round and, guess what?

The Shadow Soul... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Hugo edition

It’s time for the Hugo Awards! At FanLit we are especially exited this year since several of us will be arriving in Kansas City, MO next week to attend the 74th WorldCon where this year’s Hugo Awards will be announced. It will be the first time that most of us have met each other in person, though we’ve been working closely together for years. We are looking forward to it!

We’re satisfied with the finalists for the Best Novel category. They are:



I am terrible at predictions and if I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years it’s that I really can’t predict these awards at all. With that disclaimer out of the way, I think probably the winner will be Jemisin’s The Fifth Season. Hard-science-fiction fans campaigned hard for Stephenson’s Seveneves, but Jemisin’s new series generated a lot of buzz, and it’s e... 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in July 2016 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 boo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: FanLit’s 2016 SFF Limerick Contest

It's time for our annual Fantasy Limerick contest!

Your task is to create a limerick that has something to do with speculative fiction. It could be about a character, a series, an author, or whatever fits the theme. Here are the rules for creating a good limerick (quoting from this source). A limerick:

is five lines long
is based on the rhythm "da-da-DAH" (anapest meter)
has two different rhymes
Lines 1, 2, and 5 have three of those da-da-DAH "feet," and rhyme with each other.
Lines 3 and 4 have two, and rhyme with each other.
You can break the meter rules if there's a good reason. You may

drop the first "da" in a line, changing that foot to da-DAH
add an extra "da" or two at the end of a line IF it's used for an extended rhyme, such as cannibal and Hannibal


The best limerick... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in June 2016. 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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #3

It’s time for Round Three of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Still winning after two rounds!



Kaitlyn Davis’ The Shadow Soul was the winner of FanLit’s First Round and went up against six more books in our Second Round. We asked you to guess, based on cover art and blurb, which book would come out on top... And, The Shadow Soul continues to be our favorite book so far; it will advance again. We liked this book pretty well, but we’d probably rat... 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in June 2016 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 boo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #2

It’s time for Round Two of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Worth a read!



In Round One, we presented six of our assigned books and asked you to guess, based on cover art and blurb, which book we’d like best. Well, we’ve read the books and are impressed that our readers, for the most part, identified the best books without actually reading them. Here is our runner-up and winner:

Runner-up: Bone Dry by Cady Vance is a quick-paced engaging story with likeable characters and competent writing. We didn’t find anything original or surprising about i... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in May 2016. 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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #1

This year we’re participating in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their books to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs which will work together to choose the best of the 300 books. (You can read all about it at Mark Lawrence’s blog.)

We’ve been assigned to read 30 books. We eliminated three immediately because they didn’t fit the spirit of the contest very well. We have 27 left.

Over the next three months, we’ll be posting five Thoughtful Thursday columns that each feature five or six of the books on our list. This is the first post. In the next couple of weeks we’ll be reading (or at least starting — can’t promise we’ll finish) each of the books you see below. We’ll choose our favorite which will then go up against the books in our next SPFBO column (probabl... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Happy Birthday to us!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

This week marks our NINTH birthday!

Yep, we've been hanging out together (well, some of us) since June 2007!

To celebrate, we're giving away gifts!

NINE commenters from the US or Canada will receive some FanLit BOOKMARKS (quite practical!) and a cozy FANLIT T-SHIRT. Or, if you prefer, you may choose a book from our stacks.

You can leave any sort of commnent -- a birthday wish, an admission of how many days/years you've been wasting your time edifying yourself at our site, suggestions for what you'd like to see happen at FanLit in the future, a festive natal day poem. Whatever! Just make sure to click the little notification box so you'll know if you won, or check back in about 10 days.

T... 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in May 2016 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... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Summer reading giveaway!

Today’s the last day of school for my kids, which means that summer is here! Even though it’s a little chaotic around here with the kids home for the next couple of months, I am out of the classroom and teaching only one online course, so my schedule is lighter than usual and I’m planning to get a lot of reading done.

Click to embiggen.



I took a good long look at what will be landing on our bookstore shelves soon when Woman’s World Magazine asked me to contribute to their Summer Reading issue (it was in your grocery store check-out line this past week!).

There are several important sequels coming out, but for the magazine article, I focused on books that didn't have any prerequisites.

They only printed two of my suggestions, probably the two they thought would be most appealing to their readers:

Children of Earth & Sky by Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in April 2016. 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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Who should win the Nebula Award?

It’s award season! Next Saturday, May 14th, the 2015 Nebula awards will be announced, and the Hugos are coming up in August. Like last year, there is excitement, and plenty of controversy in many categories, although both Best Novel shortlists look solid.

As always, there are books we here at the site loved, and some we didn’t warm up to that much. And as always, there are books we hope will win and books we think will win, and those aren’t always the same books.

Let's talk about the Nebula nominees first. We'll do the Hugos in August.

The Nebula Candidates for Novel are:




Raising Caine by Charles E Gannon (Review)
The Fifth Season by 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2016 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 bo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Free Comic Book Day 2016! (15th anniversary!)

Free Comic Book Day — FCBD — is always the first Saturday of May and this year marks the celebration's 15th anniversary. To get your free comics on May 7, you’ll need to locate a local comic bookstore and, if in doubt, give them a call to see if they are participating. Chances are, if it’s an independent comic book store, they are offering free comics, because FCBD is designed to celebrate comics, to introduce comic books to new readers, to celebrate the unique independent comic book stores that sell them, and to support comic book stores by bringing in new customers in addition to the regular patrons.



If you are new to comics, FCBD is for you just as much as it is for those of us who can’t make it through a single day without reading comics. For me and others like me, it’s a day of celebration. But we also want to reach out to new readers.

So, if you have never been... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

Baen is known for its cheesy cover art, but this one is particularly horrid.

Please help us rename this awful-looking story collection by Christopher Anvil. Rx for Chaos is highly rated at Amazon, by the way, so let's not judge the book by its cover.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!kelly Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in March 2016. 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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2016 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 bo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: In Honor of To-Read Lists

I dedicate a lot of time to reading, and I have reading routines, but perhaps the most important of them is maintaining a to-read list.

My to-read list exists in two places: my phone and my laptop. If someone recommends a book to me in conversation, I immediately take out my phone to add another author/ title, e.g. "Wilson/ Comstock." The to-read list on my phone is random, disordered, and disorganized, but every few weeks, I'll open it and transfer its author/ titles to a master file on my computer. This master list is alphabetized by the author's surname, and it sometimes contains a parenthetical explanation of why I want to read it, too. Though the list is long, I keep the entries concise.

It would be nice to liken my to-read list to a garden, except that mine never stops growing. I suppose I could check its growt... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in February 2016. 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, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

I’ve only got a wee bit of Irish in me, but every year I like to celebrate Irish history and culture on St. Patrick’s Day.

Mainly that includes food and drink. At this very moment there’s a pot of corned beef and cabbage simmering on my stove and the Guinness is chilling in the fridge.

But I also enjoy celebrating their literature and lore. After dinner I may settle down with some Irish-inspired text — perhaps a story set in their beautiful land, perhaps a tale inspired by their legends and myths, maybe just something written by an Irish author.

Do you have any suggestions?

One random commenter wins a book from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Fantastic Quotes

It's been nearly 5 years since we last shared some of our favorite quotes from speculative fiction, though I think at the time we were considering collecting quotes and making this a regular column. Let's try it again. Share some of your favorite quotes from the books you've read, or from interviews or blog posts from the authors who write those books. Give us the quote and the source (book title, link to interview or blog, etc).
Here are a few quotes that readers mentioned last time we did this:
Consistency is the defense of a small mind.
~The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings
To make life worth living a man or woman has to have a great love or a great cause… I have neither.
~Robert E. Howard

There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.
~The Lies of Loc... Read More