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Mar 22 2017

Magic for Nothing, by Seanan McGuire


Seanan McGuire's Magic For Nothing is my favorite installment in the InCryptid series to date... and that's saying something, because I've liked all of these books. But this book gives me something I didn't realize I was missing: a plausibly screwed-up heroine, despite her distinctly implausible circumstances...

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Aug 26 2019

The Magic Pudding, by Norman Lindsay


Norman Lindsay's 1918 novel The Magic Pudding is proof positive of my theory that Australian fiction—even their fiction for children—is not for the faint of heart. It centers around the Magic Pudding, a rude, sulky, anthropomorphic dessert, and the three friends who form the Noble Society of Puddin'-Owners...

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May 28 2013

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, by Galen Beckett


Galen Beckett's 2008 novel The Magicians and Mrs. Quent features a plot cobbled together from the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Henry James, bound together by a hefty dose of classic fantasy. The end result falls short of Susanna Clarke's thematically similar Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but is readable enough in its own right...

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Oct 5 2015

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan


If you've read any of Rick Riordan's books for young readers, you've pretty much already read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer. It's funny, exciting, and comfortingly familiar—but it's a little stale, too...

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Dec 14 2015

The Man in the High Castle (TV adaptation), by Philip K. Dick


Last week we reviewed Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle, so this week we thought we'd take a gander at the first episode of Amazon Prime's recent TV adaptation of the material. The complete first season of this series is available here...

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Dec 7 2015

The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick


According to Wikipedia, Philip K. Dick considered his Hugo Award-winning 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle to be his masterpiece, but was too disturbed by his own creation to ever finish a sequel. Seeing as Dick made a career out of churning out disturbing literature, this might seem surprising, but...

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Apr 14 2010

Manga Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Kate Brown


Amulet Books clearly worked hard on their Manga Shakespeare books. The series is edited by a “leading Shakespeare scholar” and evaluated by an educational editor and an advisory group of teachers...

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May 13 2013

Manicpixiedreamgirl, by Tom Leveen


In addition to being saddled with a painfully quirky title that lights up my Spellcheck like a Christmas tree, Tom Leveen’s novel Manicpixiedreamgirl features one of my least favorite YA character types: the wishy-washy teenage male. Leveen’s protagonist is high school student Tyler Darcy, a kid blessed with a long-term (by high school standards) relationship, a supportive family, and a loyal circle of friends. Tyler has literary ambitions, and...

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Aug 7 2007

The Manny, by Holly Peterson


Time for another Wordcandy Book Review Double Feature!

The Manny, by Holly Peterson

Thirty-six-year-old Jamie Whitfield is unhappy. She has a fulfilling career and three beautiful children...

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Mar 11 2006

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen


As everyone who spent any time around me in the fall of 2005 knows, I couldn't stand the most recent film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It played up the dramatic aspects of the story and played down everything else. I thought it was too short to do the story justice. The casting was all wrong. (I’m not saying Mr. Darcy wasn’t very pretty, because he totally was, but prettiness isn’t everything.) The whole thing felt like a commercial for a longer, better movie...

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Feb 13 2017

Mansfield Park: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen


It's been a few months, and I am a huge nerd, so it's time for one of my favorite literary indulgences: reviewing annotated Jane Austen novels! Today I'll be complaining about Harvard University Press's recent edition of Mansfield Park. As always, please note: this is not a review of Austen's novel...

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May 31 2016

Marrying Winterborne, by Lisa Kleypas


Lisa Kleypas's Marrying Winterborne is a massive step up from the first book in her Ravenels series, but it still falls short of her best work. It feels like a throwback to the romance novels of my teen years—books that relied on far-fetched, telenovela-style plot twists, rather than more realistic (and, to me, more interesting) interpersonal conflicts...

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Oct 19 2015

The Masked Truth, by Kelley Armstrong


Kelley Armstrong's standalone novel The Masked Truth is the YA version of the movie Speed: instantly absorbing, action-packed, and blessed with Grade-A chemistry between its two leads...

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Jul 26 2012

The Master of Misrule, by Laura Powell


The Master of Misrule is the sequel to Laura Powell's novel The Game of Triumphs, which we enthusiastically recommended last October. Like The Game of Triumphs, The Master of Misrule is a fast-paced and richly imagined fantasy inspired by the rules of the Tarot...

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Jan 23 2017

The Mating Season, by P.G. Wodehouse


Regardless of whether they're 20 pages long or 200, P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories are always the same: heavy on whip-cracking aunts, hapless young men, formidable young ladies, and romantic misunderstandings that can usually only be resolved by making an ass out of poor Bertie Wooster. Since there are so few differences between his novels and short stories, I prefer the short stories—they cram just as much awesomeness into far fewer pages...

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Dec 19 2007

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson


James Patterson has described Maximum Ride as his favorite series, and possibly his best. We totally understand why these books are his favorites, as the first installment in the series...

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Oct 4 2010

Maybe This Time, by Jennifer Crusie


A new Jennifer Crusie novel is always cause for celebration, and Maybe This Time—her first full-length solo effort since 2004's Bet Me—is no exception. In this lively re-working of Henry James's novella The Turn of the Screw...

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Apr 21 2014

Meant to Be, by Lauren Morrill


Like most YA novels that aren't straight-up angstfests, Lauren Morrill's Meant to Be has its fair share of cringe-worthy moments. But if you can disengage your sense of secondhand embarrassment, Morrill's novel is an engaging opposites-attract love story, offering readers a fun alternative to the current overabundance of supernatural romances and dystopian horror stories...

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Oct 30 2017

Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero


Edgar Cantero's novel Meddling Kids is clever, creative, and funny. It is also profoundly self-indulgent and only occasionally creepy. Individual readers' mileage will vary, based on their tolerance for pointless stylistic quirks and their love for the book's many pop-culture sources...

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Dec 1 2010

The Memory Bank, by Carolyn Coman and Rob Shepperson


The Memory Bank (text by Carolyn Coman, illustrations by Rob Shepperson) is the story of two sisters. When Hope's evil parents banish her baby sister Honey for breaking the family'...

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Jul 1 2008

Mercy Street, by Mariah Stewart


Mariah Stewart’s new novel Mercy Street is the first book in her Mercy Street Foundation series. The story centers on a shooting in a small Pennsylvania town: four high school seniors—three boys...

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Feb 25 2013

Meridian, Wildcat Fireflies, and Speed of Light, by Amber Kizer


Amber Kizer makes no secret of the fact that she started writing fiction because she needed a job that she could handle while managing a difficult health condition, not because she had an epic novel burning inside of her. Happily, Kizer turns out to possess a real talent for trotting out entertaining, briskly-paced YA literature, no matter how prosaic her inspiration...

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Apr 14 2014

MetaMaus, by Art Spiegelman


I've had a copy of Art Spiegelman's MetaMaus gathering dust on my to-be-read bookshelf for almost three years now. I have always hesitated to review it, believing that Spiegelman's most devoted fans probably leapt upon it like starving lions the moment it was published, and suspecting that it would be of little interest to anyone else. I still think that's true, frankly, but as more universities and high schools assign Maus in their classrooms, it seems increasingly possible...

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Mar 23 2015

Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris


I've always classified Charlaine Harris as an “airport writer”. Her novels are reasonably entertaining, and you can find them in even the saddest, most under-stocked airport book display, but if I'm in an actual bookstore I'm probably going to choose something else. That's why I'm so impressed by Midnight Crossroad, the first book in her latest series—it does a great job of playing to Harris's strengths, but it also proves that she's still growing and improving as an author...

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Sep 5 2017

Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch


I originally bought Ben Aaronovitch's book Midnight Riot because I had heard it compared to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim books. Midnight Riot doesn't actually have much in in common with those series, however. It reminded me far more of Kat Richardson's Greywalker books, although Aaronovitch deserves props for creating a protagonist with an actual personality...

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Apr 10 2009

The Mighty Queens of Freeville, by Amy Dickinson


Amy Dickinson is the author of “Ask Amy”, an advice column that began in the Chicago Tribune in 2003 and now appears in more than 150 newspapers nationwide. In her bestselling memoir The Mighty Queens of Freeville...

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Nov 4 2009

Millie's Fling, by Jill Mansell


British author Jill Mansell never takes herself too seriously, and we here at Wordcandy are grateful for it. Her latest effort, Millie's Fling, is classic Mansell: sweet, sunny, and cheerful...

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Oct 11 2007

Mine Till Midnight, by Lisa Kleypas


Lisa Kleypas’s Victorian romances are always first-rate, so it comes as no surprise that her most recent effort, Mine Till Midnight, is beautifully written, precisely plotted, and filled with appealing, fully developed characters. Kleypas cannibalizes some of her earlier stories for this book, but Mine Till Midnight is more than entertaining enough to rise above a few familiar plot twists...

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May 12 2016

Mini-reviews: Lady Renegade, Forest of Ruin, and The Case of the Fire Inside


Today we are introducing a new feature here at Wordcandy: mini-reviews of the various sequels/series installments/comic books we've read during the week. Basically, I get tired of recapping everything that's happened in, say, the previous seven books in a particular series, but I still might want to complain or enthuse about book number eight...

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Mar 24 2014

The Mirk and Midnight Hour, by Jane Nickerson


When I saw the press notes for Jane Nickerson's The Mirk and Midnight Hour, which describe the book as a "haunting love story and suspenseful thriller" inspired by the Tam Lin fairytale, I applauded the author's ambition. She was taking a risk: Tam Lin doesn't have the universal appeal of, say, Cinderella, plus there are already two extremely well-regarded YA versions out there...

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Oct 16 2017

Misfit City, Issues 1 & 2, by Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten


New comic series Misfit City sets out to recapture the oddball charms of 80s kids' adventure movies (specifically, The Goonies), but my favorite thing about this story is the way it depicts living in a real town that's best known as a nostalgia-driven tourist trap...

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Jun 18 2018

Misfit City, Issues 3 - 8, by Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten


When I reviewed the first two issues of Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten's 8-issue miniseries Misfit City, I groused about the flimsiness of the plot, but felt the characters and setting made up for it. Unfortunately, as the series progressed and less of each issue...

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Nov 6 2006

The Mislaid Magician, or, Ten Years After, by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede


Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede’s 1988 novel Sorcery and Cecelia was a delightful curiosity—a cult favorite that appealed equally to devotees of Diana Wynne Jones and Georgette Heyer. The book's two sequels, 2004’s The Grand Tour and the just-released The Mislaid Magician, don’t totally recapture the magic of the first story, but they still make for very entertaining reading...

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Sep 10 2018

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Graphic Novel), by Ransom Riggs and Cassandra Jean


I rarely read graphic novel adaptations of popular books, because they never look like the stories do in my head. But I was recently given a copy of the graphic novel version of Ransom Riggs's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and it had two things going for it...

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Mar 12 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winnifred Watson


Winifred Watson’s 1938 novel Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day has just been made into a movie, and—for once!—we’re totally grateful. We’re usually the first in line to complain about film adaptations, but if it wasn’t for the fine people at Focus Features we might never have heard of this charmingly optimistic romantic comedy...

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Oct 26 2006

Miss Understanding, by Stephanie Lessing


At first glance, Stephanie Lessing’s novel Miss Understanding looks pretty generic. A fish-out-of-water comedy set in a fashion magazine? Shades of Ugly Betty. A neurotic, obsessive heroine with a bevy of psychosomatic illnesses? Shades of Bridget Jones. A female-empowering adult-coming-of-age story featuring lots of Mean Girls-style bad behavior and a romantically mismatched couple...

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Mar 23 2010

Mister Monday, by Garth Nix


As I went through the Wordcandy mail a few weeks ago, I was pleased to run across a package from Scholastic containing not only the final book in Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series, but also t...

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Dec 12 2006

Mistral's Kiss, by Laurell K. Hamilton


Laurell K. Hamilton’s most recent book, Mistral’s Kiss, the fifth title in the Meredith Gentry series, is better than I expected. It’s not as good as the first two installments in the series, but Mistral’s Kiss has some decent action scenes, ends on a tantalizing cliffhanger, and...

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Sep 29 2014

Mojo, by Tim Tharp


Last week, I complained at length about a novelist whose characters spoke only in sparkling witticisms. I clearly need to be more careful what I wish for, because the first book I read this week features characters who show all the intellectual prowess of a cheese sandwich...

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Jul 17 2023

Money For Nothing, by P.G. Wodehouse


P.G. Wodehouse had his flaws. Even if one separates the art from the artist, his stories routinely feature contradictory character backgrounds, bewildering British-to-American editing choices, and a LOT of recycled one-liners. None of those put much of a dent in his reputation as the funniest English writer in history, but if you're fussy about details, you might be better off sticking with his standalone work...

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Jul 2 2018

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip: Vol. 1, by Tove Jansson


In 2006, the Canadian publishing company Drawn & Quarterly released the first volume of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip. Whoever did the graphic design for these editions deserves a raise: they're vivid and eye-catching, doing full justice to Jansson's art and characters...

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Jan 27 2010

Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs


If I had to describe Patricia Briggs's novel Moon Called in a single line, I'd probably go for something like: “A lot like Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series—only way less annoying...

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Sep 10 2013

The Morning Star, by Robin Bridges


The Morning Star, the final book in Robin Bridges's Katerina trilogy, exhibits the same strengths and weaknesses as her previous two installments. The story is ridiculously over-stuffed with monsters and plot twists, but it's hard to fault an author for having too much ambition...

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Sep 7 2006

Morrigan's Cross, by Nora Roberts


As anyone who’s had the misfortune of hearing me speak recently knows, I’ve been sick. Really sick. I sound like a seal with a lifelong pack-a-day habit. The only upside to the past week and a ...

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Jul 9 2014

Mortal Danger, by Ann Aguirre


I have trouble imagining the pitch for Ann Aguirre's new novel Mortal Danger. ”It's like a supernatural Revenge, but in high school, and the heroine is suicidal... but there's a really hot guy in it! And a makeover scene! But also tons of people die.” The end result melds together better than I expected, but there's no denying that some of those elements work better than others...

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Nov 19 2014

Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers


The first two novels in Robin LaFevers's His Fair Assassin trilogy are intelligent, atmospheric, and jam-packed with historical detail, and the final installment, Mortal Heart, is no different. None of the books have been perfect, but this is still one of the most interesting and ambitious teen series to come out in years...

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Jul 4 2008

Moscow Rules, by Daniel Silva


Daniel Silva’s upcoming novel Moscow Rules (due out July 22) is his eighth novel to feature art restorer and sometime Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon. As this installment opens, Allon’s honeymo...

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May 30 2017

The Most Dangerous Duke in London, by Madeline Hunter


Madeline Hunter is not a romance novelist I read consistently, but she is high on my “reasonable impulse buy” list—the authors I save for beach vacations and particularly unpleasant head colds. Her books never blow my mind, but they never offend with hideous anachronisms or insane behavior, either, and sometimes that's all you can ask for...

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Nov 4 2004

The Mouse That Roared, by Leonard Wibberley


When Leonard Wibberley's The Mouse That Roared first appeared as a serialized story in the 1950s, I'm sure the idea of the United States being invaded by a tiny nation armed with ridiculously inadequate weapons was just too precious. Unfortunately, in a post-9/11, box-cutter-filled world, some of the central jokes in this story hit pretty close to home...

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Aug 30 2009

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange


Jane Austen continuations and vampire romances have been two of the great literary success stories of the past five years, so we're actually a little surprised we haven't already seen a combi...

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Jul 28 2008

Mr. Fooster Traveling on a Whim, by Tom Corwin


Tom Corwin’s Mr. Fooster Traveling on a Whim doesn’t quite live up to its publishers’ “Like Harold and the Purple Crayon for adults!” hype, but this elegant, unusual graphic novel is undeniab...

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Mar 15 2005

Much Ado About You, by Eloisa James


To paraphrase Jane Austen, there are few romance novelists whom I really love, and fewer still of whom I think well. Eloisa James is one of the few writers whom I both love (well, more or less) and think well of—at least well enough to shell out the full cover price for, an honor that I reserve for a mere handful of authors. Her eight romance novels are fresh, well written twists on old favorites...

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Sep 16 2019

Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo, by P.G. Wodehouse


On a recent trip to Canada, I picked up Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo, a beautifully packaged little collection of P.G. Wodehouse stories from Arrow Books, who blithely describe it as "A Wodehouse Pick-Me-Up!". Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo consists of three short stories: two Mulliner tales, including the title story (about a meek curate who turns into an ass-kicking, name-taking problem solver...

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Jan 9 2023

The Murder of Mr. Wickham, by Claudia Gray


I have read a lot of Jane Austen fanfiction, ranging from free stories on websites like AAO3 to published, high-profile efforts by well-known authors (those end up with fancier descriptors like “literary pastiche”, but whatever—they're totally fanfic). Claudia Gray's The Murder of Mr. Wickham is...

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Jun 24 2005

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie


Warning: Damning Confession (for a bibliophile) Straight Ahead: I... I have always felt that Agatha Christie's stories make better TV shows than they do books. I know! I'm sorry! Just typing t...

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Mar 13 2007

My Dead Girlfriend, by Eric Wight


At first glance, the first volume of Eric Wight’s My Dead Girlfriend has two things going for it—glowing recommendations from Meg Cabot and Joss Whedon—and one major strike against it: cover art t...

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Sep 25 2004

My Uncle Oswald, by Roald Dahl


If you took any good caper movie, turned it into a book, added a boatload of tongue-in-cheek licentiousness, and stuck the whole thing in a plummy P.G. Wodehouse-style setting, you’d still en...

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Jul 10 2023

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie


Most classic mystery novels seem extremely formulaic to me: I can usually guess the murderer almost entirely based upon the size of the role they play in the story. That said, what feels overly familiar to a reader in 2023 was probably a lot less shopworn in 1916, when Agatha Christie wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles...

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Apr 22 2019

The Mystery Knight, by George R. R. Martin


With all the hype and thinkpieces and merchandising tie-ins, I sometimes wonder if I should be watching Game of Thrones, even though I have thoroughly disliked the bits of the books that I've read and I can't stomach depictions of sexual violence. Still, the fan reaction to the show is so enthusiastic and thoughtful that I almost caved—but then I was sent a copy of The Mystery Knight, and it was a helpful reminder of why I've bowed out...

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