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Oct 30 2012

A Bad Day for Voodoo, by Jeff Strand

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Jeff Strand's YA novel A Bad Day for Voodoo is logic-free, character growth-free, and a solid 94% ridiculous, but it still makes for a cheerfully weird good time—particularly for its self-described target audience: “[Readers] old enough to think that people losing body parts is funny, because that's basically the whole book...

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Mar 20 2010

A Brief History of Montmaray, by Michelle Cooper

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I have never learned to love Dodie Smith's novel I Capture the Castle. I don't care how classic it is: if I spend 99% of a novel thinking wistfully of giving all of the characters a swift ki...

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Apr 18 2008

A Church of Her Own: What Happens When a Woman Takes the Pulpit, by Sarah Sentilles

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While women have been ordained by the Episcopal Church for decades, female clergy still struggle to achieve equality with their male counterparts. Armed with a master of divinity degree from Harva...

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Feb 11 2005

A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer

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Georgette Heyer's A Civil Contract is quite possibly the world's most prosaic romance novel. If bodice-ripping paperback covers make your eyes twitch, if soppy love stories leave you feeling fain...

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Jul 17 2008

A Geisha's Journey, by Komomo

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We don’t review much nonfiction here at Wordcandy, but once in a while we encounter a nonfiction title that absolutely fascinates us, even when the subject is one in which we had no previous inter...

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Feb 8 2008

A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton Porter

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I am very disappointed. I recently went on a quest to find an attractive, non-battered copy of Gene Stratton-Porter's deliciously over-the-top novel A Girl of the Limberlost, and this was m...

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May 22 2009

A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy, by Charlotte Greig

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Charlotte Greig’s thoughtful, beautifully-written debut novel A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy hovers somewhere between the general fiction and YA shelves: the story’s heroine is very—...

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Jul 25 2007

A Nail Through the Heart, by Timothy Hallinan

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Recently, we've been in something of rut here at Wordcandy. If it wasn't a book about a boy wizard (you wouldn't believe how many Harry Potter rip-offs we get), it was a YA romance. Don't get us w...

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Sep 3 2013

A Plague Year, by Edward Bloor

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For a book about the devastating effect of methamphetamine on a small Pennsylvania town, Edward Bloor's novel A Plague Year is surprisingly readable. Bloor never shies away from the horror of his subject matter, but his overall message is one of courage—even if it's the kind of courage that only appears after people realize they have nothing left to lose...

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Jan 16 2014

A Rogue By Any Other Name, by Sarah MacLean

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After hearing absolutely glowing reports of Sarah MacLean's romance novels, I picked up a copy of the first book in her most recent series, A Rogue By Any Other Name. It's been quite some time since I last read a straight-up romance, and my hopes that I had found an entertaining new author to follow were high...

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Sep 17 2006

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka

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The original cover of Marina Lewycka’s novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian was extremely tasteful. The background is a lovely grayish blue, and there’s a yellow border running down the edge, dec...

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Jan 9 2008

A Slave No More, by David W. Blight

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We here at Wordcandy usually choose our books based on purely hedonistic impulses, but we have been known—very occasionally—to pick up the odd “improving” book. We frequently regret this impulse, ...

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Jul 14 2011

Abandon, by Meg Cabot

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I was thrilled when I heard that Meg Cabot was once again tossing her hat into the supernatural romance ring. After all, her The Mediator and 1-800-Where-R-You? series are some of my all-time fa...

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Sep 9 2008

Acacia, by David Anthony Durham

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As David Anthony Durham’s sprawling epic fantasy Acacia opens, Leodan Akaran, the ruler of Acacia, has begun to question the secret arrangement that ensures his empire’s prosperity: a horrify...

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Oct 21 2013

Across A Star-Swept Sea, by Diana Peterfreund

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I seriously wanted to love Diana Peterfreund's 2012 novel For Darkness Shows the Stars—it's a post-apocalyptic YA reworking of Jane Austen's Persuasion, and who hasn't always longed for one of those? Unfortunately, the story suffered from the same problem I usually have with Peterfreund's writing: she has style, intelligence, and imagination, but...

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Aug 28 2007

Agnes and the Hitman, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

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Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer’s second romantic-comedy/action-adventure collaboration, is a much more successful effort than their first, 2006’s Don’t Look Down. Their love ...

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Mar 10 2010

Alice in Wonderland (film review), by Lewis Carroll

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Well, dear readers, I saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland over the weekend, and the best thing I can say about it is that it's probably best that the horrors of the Percy Jackson movie are still so fresh in my mind. It's not that the Alice movie was good, but everything looks better in comparison...

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Oct 20 2014

Alice in Zombieland, Through the Zombie Glass, and The Queen of Zombie Hearts, by Gena Showalter

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I am a huge Alice in Wonderland nerd, but I've had some bad experiences with Alice-inspired rewrites. (I'm looking at you, Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars. You were abysmal.) After years of buying—and regretting—these novels, I swore off them for good... until I saw a “specially priced” copy of Gena Showalter's Alice in Zombieland at my local Target, and that red-and-white 20% off sticker was enough to overcome my embargo....

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Aug 13 2006

Alice, I Think, by Susan Juby

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Teen literature is full of dorky main characters. Meg Cabot’s entire career is based on stories about low-on-the-social-totem-pole heroines falling in love with hot-yet-geeky Stargate fans. Loui...

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Feb 8 2010

All Unquiet Things, by Anna Jarzab

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Anna Jarzab's intriguing debut novel All Unquiet Things centers around Neily and Audrey, two wealthy California teens haunted by the death of sixteen-year-old Carly—the beautiful, damaged girl who...

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Dec 3 2012

All You Never Wanted, by Adele Griffin

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My only previous experience with popular YA author Adele Griffin was Tighter, her modern-day retelling of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. I was underwhelmed by Tighter, but I've always loved James's novella, so I had some residual goodwill for Griffin's story despite its disappointingly weak ending...

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Aug 7 2009

Alyzon Whitestarr, by Isobelle Carmody

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The title of Isobelle Carmody's book Alyzon Whitestarr sounds like an eighties hair band, the cover model looks like Gossip Girl's Little J in a bad Goth wig, and the ...

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Jul 25 2008

The Amnesiac, by Sam Taylor

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When construction worker James Purdew, the protagonist of Sam Taylor’s ambitious psychological thriller The Amnesiac, breaks his leg in an accident, he spends his convalescence obsessing over the ...

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Sep 11 2007

An Infamous Army, by Georgette Heyer

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It's been decades since American audiences have seen decent editions of Georgette Heyer’s books. While British readers were enjoying the beautiful reprints Arrow Books released a few years ago, A...

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Apr 10 2009

An Offer You Can't Refuse, by Jill Mansell

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Jill Mansell’s An Offer You Can’t Refuse opens up with a plot device straight out of a cheesy fanfic: teenage lovers Lola and Doug are separated by Doug’s wealthy, manipulative mother, who bribes ...

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Sep 8 2012

Anastasia Forever, by Joy Preble

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I rarely participate in blog tours, because I'm so disorganized I break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of having to meet a specific deadline. And Wordcandy typically only reviews series installments if we've already read all of the earlier books in the series, because we feel like we need to know the story's background in order to give the newest installment a fair shake...

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Nov 10 2014

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

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The 75th anniversary edition of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None opens with a smug quote from Christie's autobiography. In it, she describes the book's premise as “perfectly reasonable”, mentions that it was well received by critics, and announces that she was the person who was most pleased with it, as she alone knew how difficult writing it had been. Having now re-read And Then There Were None for...

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Jan 8 2010

Angel Diary (Yen Press Extravaganza Part II), by KARA and Lee YunHee

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So here's part two of our mini-review bonanza! By and large, we've been very impressed by the quality of these series—we don't mean to make them sound like vultures, but Yen Press has been cherry-...

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Nov 29 2004

The Annotated Brothers Grimm, edited by Maria Tatar

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Relying on the Disney versions of Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast to give you a sense of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales is about as effective as trying to pass a mythology class...

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May 19 2014

The Annotated Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

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Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey is her earliest completed novel—she started writing it in 1798—but one of her last to be published. (It was released posthumously, along with Persuasion, in 1817.) Some critics lump it in with her juvenilia, but it's a remarkably ambitious and entertaining work, even if it isn't quite on par with her later books. Last fall, Anchor Books released a handsome paperback edition of Northanger Abbey featuring annotations by David M. Shapard...

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Aug 24 2010

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

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One of my goals for this summer was to read Sun Tzu's The Art of War. I'd like to say I had some noble purpose in mind, but the truth is I'm just a huge, huge nerd—I wanted to hone my war-mongering...

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Jan 7 2006

Avalon High and Size 12 is Not Fat, by Meg Cabot

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In the past two weeks Meg Cabot has released two brand-new standalone novels: the YA supernatural romance Avalon High and the mystery/suspense story Size 12 Is Not Fat. Both feature bright, funny...

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Jul 9 2007

Avalon High Coronation: The Merlin Prophecy, by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot’s books are pure escapist fun. Shojo manga—well, some of it—is also pure escapist fun. So combining the two should create some kind of super pure escapist fun, right? TOKYOPOP ho...

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Jun 8 2009

The Awakening, by Kelley Armstrong

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Kelley Armstrong’s 2008 novel The Summoning was her first attempt at writing teen fiction, and a rousing success. Set in the same world as her Women of the Underworld series, The Summoning...

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Mar 29 2010

Azumanga Daioh: Omnibus, by Kiyohiko Azuma

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I have mixed feelings about the recent omnibus edition of Yotsuba&!'s Kiyohiko Azuma's Azumanga Daioh. I'm all for anything that exposes this wonderful series to a wider audience, but Yen Press's...

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