Includes the Story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” - Now a Major Motion Picture Starring Nicole KidmanA24 Film Directed by John Cameron Mitchell also Stars Elle Fanning and Ruth Wilson“A prodigiously imaginative collection. . . . The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explores the mysteries of artistic inspiration.”—New York Times Book Review, Editor's ChoiceTwo teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . .A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night . . .In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England . . .These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—and the terrifyingly dark and entertaining wit—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.
In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett and Monty Python, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes. Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This is not that fairy tale. There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.
If you’ve read a lot of epic fantasy, you know a lot of tropes. Well, this book is what you’ve been reading for. You’ll take great pleasure in checking each trope off your list as it’s twisted over and turned on its head (and then kicked in its upturned pants for good measure). You’ll snort up your sleeve. You’ll roll your eyes (a lot). And you’ll occasionally laugh out loud.
Plucky farm boy ready for his destiny? Check.
Talking goat sidekick who just wants to be sarcastic and eat boots? Check.
Sleeping princess in a thorn covered castle? Check.
Dark Lord who wants the farm boy dead and whose most evil spell is making stale bread rain from the sky? Uh. Check.
Rogue assassin who can’t sneak to save her life? Check. (Also see: terrified of chickens).
Sonja-esque barbarian warrior in a chain mail bikini (and very unhappy about it)? Check. (Cross-reference: blood-thirsty semi-sentient sword).
Seductive enchantress whose biggest secret is that she’s gotten old beneath all her spells? Check.
Reluctant bard from the castle who also happened to have gotten turned into a bunny? Also check.
And let’s not forget: Dread Necromancer Steve.
Does this book on a rare occasion get too clever for its own good? Yep.
The laughter and the fun that the authors clearly had writing this book shine through in every pun and joke and reference. If you don’t take it, or yourself, too seriously you’ll have a lot of fun too.
There was at least one moment when I groaned and slapped my own forehead at a terrible joke and had the urge to fling the book across the room — the downside of reading an eBook is that you can’t do that when you need to — but for the most part I’m glad I read it. I can just imagine Delilah and Kevin snickering to themselves as they send off their latest terrible puns to the other. That somehow made the book even better for me. Their joy is in every line. The world could use a little of that right now.
So I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley, and then ended up with a(n annotated by the author) hardcover copy when I subscribed to PageHabit. The annotated copy was quite interesting, and I’m glad that I waited until after I finished the book before reading those.
I really don’t know what to say about this book except it was practically perfect. I’m only giving it 4.5 stars so that the series has some room to grow. It is a brutal book. It deals with an invasion and war, after all. I say war, but that war really begins with several massacres and while they’re not gratuitous, there is no guarantee in this novel that your favorite character(s) won’t end up dead. In fact, if this first volume is any indication, they probably will.
An aside (not actual spoilers): View Spoiler »somehow these character deaths are less annoying than in Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice & Fire) . I am not quite sure why. They feel less… torture porn-y? There comes a time when you are going grimdark just to go grimdark, and this book? Is not that. « Hide Spoiler
More than war, though, is that this book deals with the effects of war on ordinary people. You see all the different responses to horror and loss that one would see in real life – when one is so unlucky as to encounter it. The characters run the gamut in their responses to trauma and grief, and this book holds them up to the light and turns them about in interesting ways.
I think this book is a sign of the times. I think dealing with the aftereffects of horror and war and grieving for loved ones taken far too soon is something a lot of us are worrying about these days.
This isn’t a happy book. It’s not a depressing one either. Reading these characters’ stories gives me hope, and strength. I am very much looking forward to the next one.
Girl Over Paris #1 by Kate Leth/Ming Doyle/Gwenda Bond
I liked it. Great art. Need to get back to the rest of it.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe
Loved these as a kid & I’ve been re-reading them. They still capture me.
Mirabile by Janet Kagan
Actually a series of short stories. Funny & compelling.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
An interesting premise, but the narrator is unlikable. Will read the rest eventually.
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
Has it’s issues, but this is a childhood favorite. I re-read it for a gender-flipped retelling I’m writing to amuse myself with.
Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe
Acorna’s People by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Anne Scarborough
I take issue with the “Every Woman MUST Reproduce” narrative in ALL of McCaffrey’s writing. But damned if I won’t admit that she writes a good story.
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
A beautiful, lyrical, cautionary tale of suicide and ghosts. Also, can be abbreviated to DoDoDoD (I’m pronouncing it doo doo dodd), which provides me endless entertainment.
Return to Howliday Inn by James Howe
Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flwelling
A fantasy world where all* sexualities are shown as valid. Heroes are bisexual — though the author doesn’t use the B word. *The only maybe-ace individual in the book isn’t outright named as such, and there’s a tiresome bit about how she’s in looooove but they can’t be together because no sex. Or something. In between everyone figuring out their sexy feelings, there are some damned good female secondary characters, a matriarchal monarchy, and a decent start to a hero’s journey tale.
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe (DNF)
I’ve met Alex at Jordancon and he seemed like a decent enough guy, but after the 4th brutal death of a female character in 1.25 books, I decided this series isn’t for me. YMMV.
Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
I give this entire series 4 1/2 stars. I love mad gods and monsters and the humans trying to rebuild the world around them.
Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flwelling
Book 2 in series above. Also good. Wishing there was a female narrator. Sigh.
Rebel Flight by Mindy Klasky
Won this from LibraryThing! Seems like a really short book (novella?), and it’s a YA tale, but I really liked it. Part of a series.
Bunnicula Strikes Again by James Howe
No one will ever drain my love for Bunnicula, okay? (Get it?)
Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen
Transgender biracial cowboy in a fantastical Old West. I almost cheered at the moment when Rhett’s pronouns changed. (It was night. It would have been rude.)
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
I like this series even better than Jane Yellowrock (sorry, Jane).
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
I went into this book not wanting to like Annie because Verity is my favorite girl. By the end, I was cheering (and weeping) for her. If you haven’t picked up this series, I have to question your intelligence.
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Still has that icky self-harm theme running through it, and I’m still not sure she’s doing anything constructive with it. But *dammit*, I love this world.
The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman
Man, is Isobel in over her head. I have a tendency to mix up Bowen’s & Gilman’s worlds because the 1st volumes came out around the same time. Not since the 2016 elections have I worried so much about America’s ill-intentions. (Naw. I’ve been worrying this whole time. But that’s another article.)
First Test by Tamora Pierce
Can you believe I haven’t read all of Tamora Pierce’s work yet? I’m ashamed.
Power Lines by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Anne Scarborough
This series shouldn’t make any sense. Sentient planet? Seal shape-shifters? A whole world with *gasp!* NO ELECTRICITY?!? I’m in the middle of the sequel anyway.
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
I feel like this series is moving So. Slowly. Would like it to be a TV show so I can binge watch, pls.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (DNF)
I knew this was popular but had no idea what I was getting into when I picked it up because I hadn’t heard much of the story. The 4th time I fell asleep before the time-traveling even started was when I gave up. No rating.
Acorna’s World by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Anne Scarborough
Why do I like this series so much? Pacifist bipedal unicorn people and giant evil bugs make literally no sense. (And why are insects always your villains, Anne? Isn’t human evil enough of a big bad for you?? It certainly is for me.)
Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute by Jonathan L Howard
Johannes Cabal is a bad guy. He’s a bad guy with a pretty standard supervillain origin story, actually. If I think too much about this, I would probably feel like I shouldn’t read it. So I’m not going to, because I like the steam-punk-y world.
The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
Someone tried to get me to put down this series (written by a woman) to read Honor Harrington (written by a man). This individual tried to persuade me by saying Weber’s work was “more feminist”. So I’m continuing this series 75% for spite.
Power Play by Anne McCaffrey – CURRENT READING!
You may notice that not many of these books are brand new. This is because I probably have 2,000 books on my TBR shelf (virtually, thank goddess, because I’m not sure where I’d put them otherwise.) If there are any immortals out there willing to share their secrets, I could really use the reading time. Thanks.
Now a STARZ® Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber.Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself. Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path. “Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose—American Gods uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages.”—Washington Post
If you need me to tell you that this book is by Neil Gaiman, well… You should just go pick this up and read it, and never tell a soul you’d never heard of him before.
I’m a bit late in posting this, but I was so thrilled when this book from HarperCollins showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly that I had to get something put up. Even if the process of mailing — as usual — beat the thing all to Hell. Is it somehow fitting that the bends and rips in the cover give testament to the book’s journey across American soil, so similar to the plot? Eh. How am I supposed to know? I just work here.
What I do know is that this is quite a nice paperback edition, with the author’s preferred text. Since I’ve read the book before, but not the preferred text, I look forward to a re-read. I suggest you do the same.
Hello from 2017, and holy shit, has the world gotten pretty bad since Jan. 20th, hasn’t it?
First of all: YES, this is bad. This isn’t normal. We are not just being overly dramatic here. Even if you are middle-class and white and think that none of this will affect you — yes, it will. Also, stop being a selfish chump, okay?
Yes, this blog has historically done book reviews. If you’re about to message me and tell me to keep my political opinions to myself?
First of all: fuck you. Second of all: THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN PREPARING MY WHOLE LIFE FOR, MOTHER FUCKER.
Did you think I’d spent hours as a kid searching Goodwill for a real-life copy of So You Want to Be a Wizard? so that I could sit back and let this shit happen? Did I check the back of every closet I came to for a door to Narnia to not go in? Bullshit. Ever since Ce’Nedra fought for her armor and jumped on a horse with all of the West at her back, I’ve been preparing for this. The purpose of supernatural power is to use it to defend the defenseless. That’s what we need now.
If you’ve ever said something along the lines of, “I’d never let that happen…” about Germany in the 1930’s? THIS IS YOUR TIME. Put up or shut up time, kiddies. And if you’re sitting there reading this and thinking, “That could never happen. She’s being melodramatic”? You’re part of the problem. I’d like to say I don’t care how you voted, but I do. If you voted for this shit, or abstained from voting against this shit, you have betrayed everything the women in novels from The Wheel of Time to Discworld to a hundred others have tried to teach us. I’m ashamed of you. But there’s also time for forgiveness. I’m putting my hand out. Help carry this bag of Cheetos to Mordor and we’ll throw it in the goddamn volcano together.
So what do we do to stop this?
First of all: be the kindness you’d like to see in the world. That doesn’t mean be a doormat. You should still stand up, speak out, and punch Nazis. Compliment someone. Smile on the street — especially if it’s at a person of color. They need our support right now. Buy small gifts for those you love. Bake cookies. Recharge. Put on your own oxygen mask first.
Donate to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, if you can. Volunteer if you can. Voice support if you can’t do anything else. These organizations are fighting for us, and they also need our support.
Go to a march. I’m seeing signs that they’re planning one for scientists and another for LGTQBIA+ folk. Watch. Listen. Be vigilant. If you can’t march, voice support for those who do. Knit a hat.
If you want more to read or to do, check out the following resources:
Genderfluid(?)/Trans cowboy with magic in the Old West. (The character doesn’t know the modern words & doesn’t label themself so it’s hard to know what word to use.) I read this one and Laura Anne Gilman’s Silver on the Road close to each other, so they’re kind of twisted together in my head even though they’re Totally Different other than being Old West themed.
It’s a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Go back & read the whole trilogy; there’s one for Snow White, Cinderella, and Red. About the various ways abuse marks us forever, and the ways we rise through the muck.
TW: Self Harm. Still a little weirded out by this whole cutting business, honestly, but it’s a GOOD story. Bishop has a history of being gratuitous anyway, in my opinion. YMMV.
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
I was amazed by how many old-school Sci-Fi I’ve missed. Bujold’s science fiction is as solid as her fantasy. Some of this book is now in Trope Territory, but can I really hold that against it when it’s taken me this long? SOMETHING set the trope, after all.
I loved this but also it broke me a little. As I have very little sense of my own ancestors or what the hell my inherited culture should even be, I put this down feeling sad. IMO, this is the #1 reason you should Read This.
I wanted to like this so much I kept reading to the point where I kind of hate it now. But it’s lyrical and beautiful and I’m pretty sure recommended by Neil Gaiman so you should at least TRY to like it.
Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth. When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her. Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville. Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…
Releasing today, this is a second series in Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock universe. The only problem I had with this book is that I’m at least 3 books behind on the JY series (soo many books to read!) and so I spent the whole book thinking that this series was a prequel to Jane’s story and kept trying to figure out how it fit together. I’m still not sure whether it is or not, because I like to get my thoughts on paper before I start reading too much information about the book.
Not having been in an actual cult, but having grown up around a Southern Baptist church, I believe the author has done a really good job here of depicting the kind of misogyny that can breed in an evangelical, uber-religious setting while also being careful not to paint everyone involved as either evil or stupid. Don’t get me wrong! There’s certainly some evil in the book! Our protagonist needs something to fight against. But the people are also fully realized and not at all one-dimensional. View Spoiler » Nell’s family « Hide Spoiler in particular are depicted as being good people who have some less-than-mainstream beliefs but are trying to do the best they can with what they have — including with their cultural history and the way that they’ve been raised.
Nell’s powers are mysteriously powerful… She spends most of the book unsure of how to use them or where they come from but always manages to instinctively save the day. I didn’t mind that because I enjoyed Nell’s interaction with the PsyLED team so much. It would feel fake to complain about how powerful Nell is in a book that has vampires and werecats and magic. It makes sense within the world, and her power is balanced by what is effectively PTSD from her upbringing. Nell is a lonely, solitary woman, and I loved seeing her being forced out of her self and into the world.
All in all, an entertaining read that doesn’t make you think too hard, and — given my lack of keeping up with Jane — there’s no need to have read anything else first. This is an excellent jumping on point for someone who doesn’t want to commit to Hunter’s extensive Jane series.