Thumbs up for The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K. J. Charles. Fantasy.
I suppose it’s possible K.J. Charles might write something I didn’t love, but it hasn’t happened yet. The Charm of Magpies series is a bit better than this one, simply by dint of being more developed, so if you haven’t read her books yet, start there. Then, when you need more, read this.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for As the Crow Flies by Robin Lythgoe. Fantasy.
A typical fantasy quest story with atypically excellent writing. The main character, Crow, a thief, is a beautifully-drawn combination of neurotic, clever, avaricious, devout (in his own way…), snarky, and just plain funny. If you like fantasy with a memorable first-person narrator, don’t miss this. (One caveat: the female characters are all given extremely short shrift, but I don’t know if that’s typical in the author’s novels or if this book is an outlier.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones. Nonfiction/writing.
The problem of a collection of essays and speeches by one person on a single topic is immediately obvious: the content becomes repetitive. The story of Diane Wynne Jones’s early childhood is now ingrained in my mind, because I’ve read it five or six times. But it’s unfortunate that that is what I now first think of when I think of Reflections, because the non-repetitive bits are filled with such wisdom and cleverness and humor.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Fox’s Tower and Other Stories by Yoon Ha Lee. Science fiction and fantasy short stories.
I’ve raved about Lee’s work here before and will do so again. If you’re not ready to commit to his bizarre and wonderful trilogy about starship warfare based around calendars, try The Fox’s Tower. Most of the stories are at most a page or two, poetic and strange and warm.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson. Fantasy.
Thumbs up for The River Bank by Kij Johnson. Fantasy.
Two drastically different books by the same author, but sprung from the same driving force: here is a world she loves, with the addition of female characters. In neither case is it necessary to have read the original works (Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, respectively).… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Magpie Lord; A Case of Possession; Flight of Magpies; and Jackdaw by KJ Charles. Historical fantasy romance.
These came to my attention in an article on Tor.com. I sample a lot of books, mind you. A lot. Most of them, I don’t continue to read. I certainly don’t get hooked in the first couple of pages, decide to take a chance with my $1.99 and a few hours of my time, and never–when done with the first book–do I download and binge-read the next three books like an addict, mentally mumbling at the author “Take my money–please” and trawling her website for extra stories.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani. Children’s graphic novel.
A girl whose mother won’t talk about why she emigrated from India discovers a shawl that transports her to a magical version of the land. Cute, but I wish the characters had been more deeply developed. (I think that would have been possible even granted this was marketed toward children.) This seems to be the author’s debut as a graphic novelist, which seems about right.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for:
Family Man, Volume I by Dylan Meconis. Fantasy.
Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin R. Kiernan, illustrated by Steve Lieber. Fantasy.
Monstress, Volume I: Awakening by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda. Fantasy.
Yes, Roya by C. Spike Trotman, illustrated by Emilee Denich. Erotica.
A batch review here. Family Man is the hardest to describe of the bunch: Um….Half-Jewish Theology student in 1768 Germany makes some bad thesis decisions (Spinoza, atheism) and…academia…and hot librarian…and werewolves, kinda.… >> Read more