Kelly chats with Louise Hawes


Kelly recently interviewed Louise Hawes after reading and enjoying her book Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand (2008). You can read Kelly’s review here and learn more about Louise...

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The Fisherman: Five-star horror


The Fisherman by John Langan The Fisherman (2016), by John Langan, gets my first five-star review of 2017. The Fisherman is a story about bereavement. It is a story about dead...

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The Mechanical Other


Matt Perkins is a Canadian author, software developer, musician, and all-around decent human being. His first novel, the alternate-Earth sci-fi thriller Winterwakers, is currently...

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Recent Posts

The Tomorrow War: Fails at nearly every level

The Tomorrow War directed by Chris McKay

There’s really no way to sugarcoat this. The Tomorrow War is one of the worst movies I have seen in years, in or out of genre. Outside of some likable performances, the film fails at nearly every level: premise, look, pace, plot, and dialogue (so of course, a sequel is already on tap). I’d say it was a waste of two-plus hours, save that it was so bad that we ended up fast-forwarding through whole chunks once we realized we somehow had over an hour left, so we only wasted about 90 minutes of our lives. So no, I don’t recommend it. One or two spoilers (though as I’ll explain that word is a misnomer in this case) to follow

The film opens with Chris Pratt’s character Dan finding out during a gathering at his house to watch a big soccer game that he’s lost out on a big job he’d been going for. After kicking over a garbage can and getting comforted by his adorable daughter ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday is on Summer Break

Here are our current giveaways.

We will be back on July 29. Read More

The Midnight Bargain: A charming frolic of a book

Reposting to include Tadiana's new review.

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk 

By the bottom of the second full page of text, when the protagonist of The Midnight Bargain (2020) walked into Harriman’s Bookshop, I was hooked. When Beatrice Clayborn entered the second-hand shop and I saw it through her eyes, the book claimed me, not unlike the way a spirit might claim a sorceress in Beatrice’s magical world.

It’s bargaining season, or marriage season in Beatrice’s world, and young women of the upper classes, like Beatrice, jostle and compete for the hand of a suitable husband. Suitability is decided by their fathers, of course, and usually determined based on wealth, status and influence.

Beatrice loathes the bargaining season. She wants to study magic and become a full-blown Mage, a path closed to women, especially upper-class wome... Read More

WWWednesday: July 21, 2021

Charlotte Nicole Davis writes about getting her first Harry Potter tattoo at 21—and getting it removed. A moving essay about the things that get us through childhood, and the things we leave behind.

On Kalimac’s Corner, DB thinks about what they loved about Tolkien, and what other writers they found it in. (Thanks to File 770.)

There’s a new Shirley Jackson biography coming out.

Coincidence, or curse? You decide. Just like the original CW show, Read More

A Desert Torn Asunder: Jump on in, the series is fine! (and finished)

A Desert Torn Asunder by Bradley P. Beaulieu

If you’re like me, you’re always a bit wary of starting a new series that is obviously going to go on for some time. So much can go wrong: will the next book come out in my lifetime? Will the series go downhill at book three? Will the author actually finish it? So having just read A Desert Torn Asunder (2021), the conclusion to Bradley P. Beaulieu’s THE SONG OF THE SHATTERED SANDS, I’m happily adding it to my list of highly recommended DIRTI (Despite Its Required Time Investment) series. Hmm, maybe I should work on that acronym a bit more.

Beaulieu’s sixth book brings this excellent series to a proper close, offering up a number of exciting battle scenes, several one-on-one tense confrontations, and a realignment on scales ranging from the local (the desert and city of Sharakhai) to the cosmic. I’m not going to do the usual plot sum... Read More

The Witness for the Dead: A clerical elven sleuth seeking justice for the dead

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

The Witness for the Dead is the long-hoped-for sequel to Katherine Addison’s marvelous and unusual 2014 fantasy, The Goblin Emperor, in which we met Maia, a half-goblin, half-elf young man who unexpectedly inherited the throne of the elf kingdom when his father, the emperor, was killed along with his brothers in an airship explosion. Thara Celehar, an elven prelate and a Witness for the Dead, was a minor character in that novel who investigated the airship accident at Maia’s request and eventually was able to unearth the truth of why it occurred.

The Witness for the Dead is more of a companion novel set in the same world, rather than a ... Read More

Victory on Janus: A weak ending

Victory on Janus by Andre Norton

Victory on Janus (1966) is the sequel to Andre Norton’s Judgment on Janus (1963). The two novels make up the JANUS duology (Baen, 2002) which has recently been published by Tantor Media as an audiobook (2021). Gabriel Vaughan, the narrator, gives an excellent performance.

In Judgment on Janus, we met Naill Renfro, who was an indentured servant on the frontier planet of Janus. After touching a forbidden “treasure,” he turned into one of the green-skinned people who used to live and thrive on Janus. This ancient race no longer exists, it seems, but humans who find the treasures become changelings who, like Naill, are equipped with some he... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 18, 2021

Marion:  I have 8 5000-word pieces to read for next month’s Mendocino Coast Writers Conference (I don’t have to read my own) so that’s taken up quite a bit of time. I’m still browsing John Langan’s mammoth story collection Children of the Fang. The eponymous novella is one of my favorites so far. Last night I delved into the poetic and beautiful prose poem/essay collection Ghostways: Two Journeys in Unquiet Places, by Robert McFarlane and Dan Richards, hauntingly illustrated by Stanley Donwood.


Bill: This week I finished my reread of Steven... Read More

A Broken Darkness: Nick’s in more trouble than ever

A Broken Darkness by Premee Mohamed

At the end of Beneath the Rising, the first book in Premee Mohamed’s cosmic horror trilogy of the same name, I thought narrator Nick Prasad couldn’t be worse off. Yes, he and his prodigy friend Joanna “Johnny” Chambers had closed an interdimensional rift and stopped the Ancient Ones from invading earth, but at the end Nick is left heartbroken, betrayed and disillusioned by what he has learned about Johnny. Like I said, I didn’t think it could get worse for him.

I was so wrong.

This review contains mild spoilers for Beneath the Rising.

Johnny and Nick did manage to close the rift, but it was open for nearly two minutes. In that time period,... Read More

A Psalm for the Wild-Built: Tea and empathy

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Becky Chambersfirst novella in the MONK AND ROBOT series, A Psalm for the Wild-Built (2021), is a lovely and optimistic tale of a tea monk who, while seeking an answer to the question of “What am I looking for?” meets a robot looking for an answer to the question of “What do you need, and how can I help?” More generally, the robot is trying to answer the question of what all people need, but upon the moon of Panga (or anywhere you might find humans, truthfully), that’s not exactly a simple question to answer.

Sibling Dex, the tea monk, is an acolyte of Allalae (God of Small Comforts, represented as a bear), one of the six gods of Panga. Dex has been a tea monk for only a few years, having left Panga’s only City in searc... Read More