Mar 27 2013

Banished and Unforsaken, by Sophie Littlefield

I'm sure most bookstores have filed Sophie Littlefield's novels Banished and Unforsaken with the teen paranormal romances, but that's far from accurate. These books are about a girl who discovers that she has magical healing powers, and is immediately targeted by a series of evil scientists, murderous rednecks, and zombies. She does eventually acquire a boyfriend, but their relationship is never more than a minor plot thread...

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Mar 26 2013

Vintage cyborgs

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Speaking of serialized stories, science fiction fans can now read the first chapter of British author E.V. Odle's 1923 little-known novel The Clockwork Man, which is apparently the earliest story to feature a cyborg...

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Mar 26 2013

Neverwhere on the radio

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The BBC has apparently made a radio production of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and you can download the first episode here. It features the voices of James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, and Sophie Okonedo...

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Mar 25 2013

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Strahan

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Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron is a collection of eighteen all-new short stories about witches and witchcraft, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Most of the featured authors—a who's who of well-known fantasy writers, including Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Charles de Lint, Jim Butcher, and Holly Black—brought their A-game, and the resulting stories are memorable, imaginative, and utterly absorbing...

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Mar 25 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Under My Hat, edited by Jonathan Strahan

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This week's book giveaway pick is Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, a collection of eighteen short stories inspired by witchcraft, edited by Jonathan Strahan. I'll post my full review this afternoon, but here's the quickie version: I'd give the overall collection a solid B+, with a couple of stories creeping up into A territory and one slipping into the C range...

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Mar 22 2013

Out of Warranty, by Haywood Smith

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Despite its Viagra-commercial cover art and quirky plot summary, Haywood Smith's novel Out of Warranty isn't a conventional middle-aged romance. Instead, it's a story about two deeply neurotic characters beset by a legion of age-specific problems: fragile parents, irritating adult children, bad health, and worse insurance coverage...

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Mar 21 2013

This is real thing, apparently.

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April Fools' Day is so close, but we're not actually there yet. So I'm assuming this isn't a joke: someone actually wrote a children's book called Mr. Penny and the Dragon of Domeville, and it's about a "singular" little penny who battles a dragon that represents a bloated federal government...

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Mar 21 2013

Book cover art for your phone

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If you own an iPhone 4 and you're looking for a new case, Nordstrom currently has three "Out of Print" cases inspired by classic book covers on sale: Animal Farm, The Outsiders, and On the Road...

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Mar 20 2013

Nostalgia ahoy

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I was mega-excited when I saw this Slate article about a brief, wordless Calvin and Hobbes cartoon created by professional animator Adam Brown. Unfortunately, the final product was a bit of a letdown...

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Mar 19 2013

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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Ernest Cline's debut novel Ready Player One borrows its premise from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, its plot from TRON, and its conclusion from The Wizard of Oz, but that's actually okay: people are buying this novel to wallow in all the geek-oriented nostalgia, not marvel at the author's originality...

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Mar 19 2013

Aim high

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According to THR, Constantin Films is planning another film version of Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. David Goyer will direct, Jeremy Bolt (of the Resident Evil franchise) will produce, and they're apparently planning to take a "graphic novel approach" to the story. I figured that meant something vaguely cartoonish...

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Mar 18 2013

The phrase "training guide" does sound a little ominous, though.

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In a move that has generated a lot of online commentary, Chicago Public Schools (the nation’s third largest school district) announced last week that they would be restricting students' access to Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s 2003 graphic novel about growing up in Iran. We're obviously no fans of book-banning...

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Mar 18 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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This week's book giveaway pick is Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, which we're planning to review tomorrow. I haven't finished it yet, but thus far it appears to be a modern-day reworking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only with video games instead of candy...

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Mar 15 2013

Does the world really need a writing guide inspired by a Twilight fanfic?

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E.L. James seemingly intends to milk that cash cow dry: according to Vanity Fair, a "how-to-guide" called Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal) is due out in May, and will...

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Mar 14 2013

Dumber than a box of rocks

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Entertainment bigwigs in Japan have apparently decided the world needs ANOTHER Itazura Na Kiss adaptation, despite the varying success of the three versions that already exist...

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Mar 14 2013

Much ado about nothing... that I particularly care about, anyway.

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The teaser trailer is out for Joss Whedon's adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, and it looks... artistic. Black-and-white, y'know, and heavy on the strong, dramatic words flashing across the screen in equally strong, dramatic font...

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Mar 13 2013

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

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Rachel Hartman's debut novel Seraphina won the 2013 Morris Award for YA literature, but the major thing defining the book as “young adult” is its teenage heroine—everything else about it is straightforward high fantasy, suitable for readers of any age...

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Mar 12 2013

Try before you buy

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If you're interested in Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls, our current weekly book giveaway offering, and you'd like to see a sample of her other work, she mentions a short story called Premises on her website...

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Mar 12 2013

Revisionist history

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There has been a lot of absolutely horrifying news coverage of the fallout from Louisiana's new law offering private-school vouchers to poor and middle-class students. Thanks to Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program...

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Mar 11 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Dark Souls, by Paula Morris

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Ghost story fans take note: this week's book giveaway title is Paula Morris's Dark Souls, which we reviewed here. Win a copy and you too can be horrified by the town of York's violence-filled history...

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Mar 11 2013

Dark Souls, by Paula Morris

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Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls isn't the best YA paranormal romance I have ever read, but it boasts likeable characters, an intriguing premise, and literally dozens of ghosts, running the gamut from benign to horrifying. Fans of the genre are in for a creepy, history-infused treat...

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Mar 8 2013

The high-end equivalent of a stuffed-animal backpack

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While reading the always-entertaining Tom and Lorenzo site, I ran across this collection of Charlotte Olympia shoes, which were apparently inspired by fairy tales...

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Mar 7 2013

Vintage style

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WHYYY?!? I'm two years late, but I was so excited to discover these gorgeous, vintage-style reprints of Mary Stewart's romantic suspense novels, and now it turns out they're English*. Meanwhile, we here in America are still stuck with these versions, which...

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Mar 7 2013

Two Pinocchios? Why would you want even one?

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Last week, NPR posted a helpful round-up of the many current and recent film projects inspired by fairy-tales, ranging from Red Riding Hood to the nine(!) Oz movies currently in the works...

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Mar 6 2013

The Flappers: Ingenue and Diva, by Jillian Larkin

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I wasn't overly impressed by Vixen, the first book in Jillian Larkin's Flappers series. It wasn't terrible, but it was the kind of book I read and immediately forgot, so I attributed most of its success to a one two-punch of trendy subject matter and gorgeous cover art. Happily, Larkin's trilogy improved steadily over the course of its run, and by the end of the series I was genuinely sorry to say goodbye to the characters...

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Mar 5 2013

A treasure trove for Kipling fans

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The Guardian informs me that more than 50 previously unpublished Rudyard Kipling poems will be released for the first time this month. The poems were apparently discovered by American scholar Thomas Pinney. Some were stashed...

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Mar 5 2013

Author about town

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If you're eagerly awaiting news of E. L. James's next literary "triumph", here you go: according to the New York Post, movement is slow on the Fifty Shades movie, her next book "won't be nearly so raunchy"...

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Mar 4 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Ingenue and Diva, by Jillian Larkin

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We're giving away two books this week: Ingenue and Diva, the second and third books in Jillian Larkin's Flappers series. Our review will go up on Wednesday, but if you're all agog to learn more about the series you can read our thoughts on the first book in the series, 2010's Vixen, here.

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Mar 4 2013

Freaks, by Kieran Larwood

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Kieran Larwood's debut novel Freaks was the 2011 winner of the annual Children's Fiction Competition co-sponsored by the London Times and Chicken House Publishing. I've been following this contest since it started in 2008, and while all of the books they've chosen have been solid, Larwood's novel is my new favorite...

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Mar 1 2013

The evil trio

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I'm thinking of requesting a review copy of Michael Moss's Salt Sugar Fat, which was recently the subject of an in-depth NPR story. I'm always interested in books about food or money, and this one's about both...

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