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: Weathering a Dearth of Ideas

Today we’re pleased to welcome Rachel Hartman, currently on a blog tour for her newest work Shadow Scale, the sequel to her very well-received Seraphina (I loved Seraphina and chose it for one of our favorite books of 2012). Today she’s writing about a problem many writers encounter at some point in their careers — writer’s block. More precisely, how she overcame hers and managed to finish Shadow Scale. As someone who has been greatly looking forward to this sequel ever since I fell in love with Seraphina, I for one am happy she found a solution (and those who’ve read Seraphina won’t be surprised at what that solution was). Shadow Scale goes on sale March 10. Thanks to our friends at Random House, we've got print copies of both Seraphin... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s cover art

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in January 2015. 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: Elizabeth Bear is a literary philanderer

Please join me in welcoming to Elizabeth Bear, who’s on a blog tour to promote her newest book, Karen Memory, a unique blend of steampunk and Wild West excitement which I definitely enjoyed. Today, she’s here to talk about the pros and cons of strict adherence to writing in one style or genre, and to ask whether readers enjoy or dislike when an author swerves from an established path. She’s also got a copy of Karen Memory to give away to one random commenter.

Hello there. I’m Elizabeth Bear and I have a confession to make.

I have a hard time sticking to a topic. A subgenre. A set of tropes. I’m a serial literary philanderer. (Maybe it would be kinder to call myself polygenreous?)

In my career (counting collaborations, 27 novels written so far and... 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 January 2015 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: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in December 2014. 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: Reading resolutions

What Do You Resolve to Read in 2015?

We’re at the time of year when everyone does two things: 1) “Best of” lists; and 2) resolutions for the future. We published our “Best Of” list a few weeks ago, so I’m taking this space to talk about my reading resolutions for 2015.

I resolve to re-read the GORMENGHAST trilogy by Mervyn Peake. It’s been decades since I’ve read it and I need to reacquaint myself.

I resolve to branch out a bit and read slightly more space opera in 2015 and military SF in 2015. I have reviewed some this year; I would like greater familiarity with the tropes and conventions so I can review it with greater knowledge. Plus, a lot of it’s really fun!

I resolve to add some essays and literary cri... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Stop Pissing on the Floor; the Challenge of the Second Book

Welcome to Brian Staveley, who's on a blog tour for his second book, The Providence of Fire which I am greatly enjoying at this very moment. It's outstanding! (I loved the first book, too.) Fittingly, he's here to talk about the challenge of writing a sequel to a successful debut, and to ask you about sequels that you've enjoyed. One commenter will win a copy of both The Emperor's Blades and The Providence of Fire. You don't want to miss these books!

Stop Pissing on the Floor; the Challenge of the Second Book 
by Brian Staveley

When I was teaching high school, I had a good friend, also a teacher, who used to say, “The first day of school is great; even if you just come in and piss on the floor, the class will b... Read More

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

We usually do this on the first Thursday of the month, but last Thursday we posted our Favorite Books of 2015 list, so NOW it's time to report:

What is the best book you read in December 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... Read More

Our favorite books of 2014

Here are our favorite books published in 2014. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book and what they say about it. Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF book published in 2014, so we know we’ve missed some good ones! Please add your comments — we’d love to hear your opinions about our list and to know which were YOUR favorite books of 2014. What did we miss? One commenter will win a book from our stacks.

ADULT SFF



MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF



ANTHOLOGIES / COLLECTIONS / MAGAZINES / UNTOLD HISTORIES



NEWLY RELEASED ON AUDIO IN 2014: Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends!

We hope you're all warm and cozy and surrounded by people (and books) you love.

Did you get any books for Christmas? Or gift cards or cash to spend on books?

If so, which books will you buy?

One commenter gets a FanLit T-shirt or a book from our stacks.

 

NEXT WEEK: Our favorite books of 2014!

 

 

 

  Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Gratitude, by Alex Hughes

Today we're participating in a blog tour and scavenger hunt to promote Alex Hughes'  new novel Vacant, book four in her MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS series. This is my current favorite urban fantasy series. There are two chances to be a winner (you can try for both):

1. We're giving away an ebook copy of any of the novels -- your choice. Just comment below to enter the giveaway.

2. In the following post, you'll find the next clue in a "CLUE-like" scavenger hunt. To win, you have to solve a whodunit mystery. You can find the rules and information you need for that here at Alex's blog. The winner of the scavenger hunt gets a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble, a signed copy of Marked, ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in November 2014. 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. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in November 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: Books we are thankful for

Thanksgiving is day for family, football and food, but it’s also about giving thanks, for our family, our friends and for the blessings we enjoy. For this holiday edition of Thoughtful Thursday, we want to hear about books we are thankful for. Please comment on a book you are grateful you read.

I’ll start with two. I’m grateful that I got to read Louise Erdrich’s book The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse when I did. At that time in my life, I felt betrayed by my church, I was traveling for my father’s funeral and, in general, feeling spiritually bereft. That strange and lyrical book reminded me that the trappings of faith, like organized religion, are just that, trappings, and that a spiritual conne... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: First annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

In a couple of weeks, the Haiku International Association will announce the winners of its 2014 Haiku contest, so we’ve decided to begin our very own annual SPECULATIVE FICTION HAIKU CONTEST! Don't miss out on this historic literary competition in the making. All you have to do is write a mere three lines of poetry!

For haiku, the typical subject matter is nature, but if you decide to be traditional, you must give it a fantasy, science fiction, or horror twist. We expect to be told that the peaceful wind you describe is blowing across a landscape of an unfamiliar, distant planet. And if your poem is about a flower, we hope that elegant little touch of beauty is about to be trampled by an Orc. We welcome the sublime as well as the humorous, the pedestrian along with the momentous.

Though you may use the traditional three-line haiku following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, feel free to brea... Read More

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