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Jan 7 2014

Palace of Spies, by Sarah Zettel


We had such high hopes for Palace of Spies, the first book in Sarah Zettel's new YA trilogy. Zettel's writing is consistently solid, she chose an unusual time period for her setting, and she avoided the cover art controversy that has dogged her otherwise-excellent Dust Girl books. The end result, sadly, fell a hair short of our dreams, but let's face it: even Zettel's B-grade work still stands head and shoulders above...

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Feb 24 2014

The Paladin Prophecy and The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance, by Mark Frost


The first two books in Mark Frost's Paladin Prophecy series go for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to storytelling, mashing together fantasy (angels and demons!), science fiction (evil geneticists!), and action/suspense (martial arts smackdowns!) into a frenetic but entertaining literary roller-coaster ride...

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Jul 25 2016

Paper and Fire, by Rachel Caine


Paper and Fire, the second book in Rachel Caine's Great Library series, picks ups immediately after the events of last year's Ink and Bone. The series is set in a world where access to knowledge is strictly controlled by the Great Library of Alexandria, and the personal ownership of books is forbidden. Caine's protagonist is Jess Brightwell, the son of a book smuggler...

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Jul 22 2013

Paradox, by A.J. Paquette


Despite its staggeringly ugly cover art, A.J. Paquette's novel Paradox is not, sadly, a tribute to the 1990 killer-giant-worms movie Tremors. It is instead the story of a teenage girl named Ana who wakes up on an alien world with no memories, a backpack full of weapons and supplies, and a note in her pocket instructing her to observe and survive. While she eventually meets up with three other kids (including a boy who seems strangely familiar), Ana is forced to rely...

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Feb 9 2013

Passion and Rapture, by Lauren Kate


I reviewed Lauren Kate's novel Fallen in 2010, its sequel in 2011, and then waited nearly two full years to bother reading books three and four, despite the fact that they've been sitting on our To Be Read shelf for ages. That says a lot about my feelings about this series—the premise was too promising to set aside entirely, but...

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Feb 9 2010

The Passion of the Hausfrau: Motherhood, Illuminated, by Nicole Chaison


Nicole Chaison is the creator of the website Blog-o-Hausfrau and the tri-annually published 'zine Hausfrau Muthazine, which launched in 2003. Her experiences—everything from giving birth in a hosp...

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Apr 7 2008

Peace: 50 Years of Protest, by Barry Miles


Like many of the articles in National Geographic, Barry Miles's book Peace: 50 Years of Protest features a fascinating subject, overflows with amazing photographs, and appears to have been organiz...

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Apr 11 2008

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall


Jeanne Birdsall’s National Book Award-winning novel The Penderwicks, the story of four sisters' summertime adventure at a Massachusetts estate, is the literary equivalent of Disney’s Celebrat...

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Mar 18 2008

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall


I have long avoided reading Jeanne Birdsall's National Book Award-winning The Penderwicks, mostly because of its tastefully retro cover (which I felt was shamelessly derivative of the silhouette i...

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Feb 16 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (film review), by Rick Riordan


Picture this, dear readers—One day, you walk to the store and buy a chocolate chip cookie. You've noticed in the past that this store's baker isn't very good, so you worry that maybe the cookie will...

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Mar 2 2010

Perpetual Check, by Rich Wallace


Rich Wallace's novel Perpetual Check is set at a regional chess tournament. Two brothers—sports star Zeke and chubby, retiring Randy—are competing, and the idea of playing against each other has p...

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Mar 12 2018

Persuasion (Modern Library Edition), by Jane Austen


As longtime readers of the site know, every few months I indulge myself by reviewing specific editions of Jane Austen's novels. These are not meant to be reviews of the stories (hot take: Austen's books are great! You should totally read 'em!), they are reviews of the supplementary materials included by various publishers. I am a raging nerd, so...

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Jan 2 2019

Persuasion (Penguin Classics Deluxe), by Jane Austen


I'm hoping to start 2019 on a good note, so my first review choice of the year is the Penguin Classics Deluxe 200th anniversary edition of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Alas, it isn't quite the note-perfect edition of my dreams, but it is far and away the best option I've encountered to date...

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Feb 15 2012

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, edited by Robert Morrison


Before I get started, let me clarify something: this isn't a review of Jane Austen's Persuasion. It's more an extended hissyfit about the annotations featured in this particular edition of Persuasion, and therefore I'm going to assume it's only going to interest my fellow hardcore Austen nerds. (Sorry, non-hardcore-Austen-nerds. Try again tomorrow.) Anyway: VAGUE SPOILERS AHOY.

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Sep 15 2008

Pharmakon, by Dirk Wittenborn


Well-written but fundamentally bleak, Dirk Wittenborn’s Pharmakon traces the downfall of a unique American family. As the novel opens in the early 1950s, Dr. Will Friedrich, a Yale psychopharmaco...

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Mar 7 2007

The Physics of the Buffyverse, by Jennifer Ouellette


I'm no physicist, but I like to keep an eye on the science news, lest I end up sounding like an idiot when chatting with my in-laws, who are all science teachers or geotechnical engineers. Th...

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Feb 17 2010

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, by Libby Schmais


The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, the debut YA novel from author Libby Schmais, is a collection of journal entries written by Lotus Lowenstein, a fifteen-year-old Brooklynite who is convinced—d...

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Aug 23 2007

The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse, by Jonathan Selwood


Jonathan Selwood obviously worked very hard on making his debut novel, The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse, equal parts amusing and appalling. Too many of his attempts to be shocking fall flat,...

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Oct 11 2006

The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones


I was thrilled to learn that Diana Wynne Jones was writing another book for her Worlds of Chrestomanci series. Her previous effort, 2005’s Conrad’s Fate, was funny and surreal, a tongue-in-cheek Upstairs/Downstairs farce with some dreamlike fantasy thrown in...

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Apr 8 2013

Plain Kate, by Erin Bow


When it comes to YA literature, the current trend towards dystopian stories boasting loads of hardcore violence is so widespread it's actually gotten boring—no matter how creative the backstory, it's hard to be shocked by yet another novel centered around some far-fetched excuse for futuristic kids to kill one another. This is why I found myself approving of Erin Bow's novel Plain Kate—sure, it was dark and sad and creepy...

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Feb 15 2013

Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King


It is no coincidence that the promotional blurb on the cover of A.S. King's darkly funny novel Please Ignore Vera Dietz was written by Crank author Ellen Hopkins—King's story doesn't actually revel in its grim subject matter the way Hopkins's books do, but it's aiming squarely for the same audience...

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Dec 7 2006

Pleasure for Pleasure, by Eloisa James


With her nods to Shakespeare, fondness for lofty literary quotations, and unsentimental dialogue, Eloisa James clearly wants to stand out from the bodice-ripper pack. Unfortunately, she seems less interested in coherent plot structure. Her most recent novel, Pleasure for Pleasure, isn’t totally unreadable, but it’s damn close...

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May 13 2019

The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim


I am a big fan of the John Wick movies. They're stylish, they're fast-paced, and the violence is so over-the-top it is essentially meaningless. It's like a ballet about a bloodbath. Sadly (for my movie-watching plans, not for the rest of my life), I have a one-year-old baby, so my chances of seeing John Wick 3 are pretty remote right now, but the fine people at Doubleday sent me a copy of Un-Su Kim's The Plotters, which checks a lot of the same boxes...

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Mar 25 2015

Pocket Apocalypse, by Seanan McGuire


In my review of Seanan McGuire's first three 'InCryptid' novels, I gave the author a very specific request for book four: I wanted the plot climax to kick off with the hero naked, unconscious, and in need of rescue. I don't want to spoil anything, but I would give Pocket Apocalypse a solid B+ for its wish fulfillment alone...

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Apr 30 2008

The Poem I Turn To: Actors and Directors Present Poetry That Inspires Them, edited by Jason Shinder


Today is the last day of National Poetry Month, so here’s a last-minute offering: a review of The Poem I Turn To: Actors and Directors Present Poetry That Inspires Them, edited by poet Jason Shind...

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Oct 30 2007

Poetry Speaks Expanded, edited by Elise Paschen and Rebekah Presson Mosby


Poetry Speaks Expanded, edited by Elise Paschen and Rebekah Presson Mosby, is an updated version of the 2001 collection Poetry Speaks. This remarkable book features poems from 47 of the greatest ...

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Apr 5 2010

Poetry Speaks Who I Am, edited by Elise Paschen


Poetry Speaks Who I Am is the latest anthology to come from Sourcebooks' Poetry Speaks line, and the first—perhaps only?—poetry collection aimed specifically at middle-school-age readers. This ...

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Jul 30 2018

The Poisoned City, by Anna Clark


As longtime readers of the site know, every once in a while we review nonfiction books on subjects that we consider to be of general interest: money, food, education, the environment. Our latest pick is Detroit journalist Anna Clark's The Poisoned City, a convincing and devastating look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan...

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Aug 5 2007

Poltergeist, by Kat Richardson


Kat Richardson’s Poltergeist (sequel to 2006’s Greywalker) is a sharp, sinister urban fantasy that blends storytelling with Seattle history. Painstakingly researched and intelligent, this series is perfect for fantasy/horror fans looking for something more than a spine-tingling cheap thrill...

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Aug 28 2013

Possession, by Kat Richardson


Possession, the eighth installment in Kat Richardson's Greywalker series, continues the author's hot streak of coming up with deliciously creepy stories inspired by horrific episodes in Seattle's past. I have read and enjoyed every one of these books, and Possession is no exception—but Richardson's limitations as a writer are definitely becoming more apparent...

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Nov 25 2013

Premeditated, by Josin McQuein


Josin L. McQuein's Premeditated is the kind of novel that helps teenage mystery fans grow up into adult ones. In addition to featuring a lot of very teen-friendly romantic and familial drama, McQuein sprinkles her text with a series of tantalizing clues that are just tricky enough to make a young reader feel like Sherlock Holmes...

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Oct 26 2010

Pride and Prejudice (Annotated Editions), by Jane Austen


A few months ago, I wrote a short post about DK Publishing's "Illustrated Classics" edition of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, calling it "not the annotated Pride and Prejudice of my dreams", but praising it for its information, art direction, and extremely reasonable price...

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Oct 7 2019

Pride and Prejudice (Macmillan Collector's Library edition), by Jane Austen


As longtime readers of the site know, I periodically treat myself by reviewing a new edition of my all-time favorite book: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Few things make me happier than analyzing editorial choices—how creative are the essays? Is the cover art period-appropriate? Are the footnotes accurate? Did they weigh in on...

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May 19 2009

Pride and Prejudice (Marvel Comic), by Jane Austen


Well, I just got the second issue of Marvel's Pride and Prejudice comic book, and I think it's even worse than the first one. I'm not sure where to start with my complaints, so I'll just type 'em up as they come to me...

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Nov 25 2015

Pride and Prejudice and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Quarto Classics Reimagined), by Jane Austen and Lewis Carroll


As longtime Wordcandy readers know, I collect editions of Pride and Prejudice and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I only have so much shelf space, so I try to be discerning, but every once in a while I see more copies that I absolutely need to own...

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Jan 8 2018

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, by Melissa de la Cruz


I understand that successfully adapting Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with a modern setting is a tall order. You can recycle the basics of the romantic plot—arrogant man, spirited woman, misunderstandings, self-discovery—pretty easily, but most of the book's nuance doesn't translate. (The stakes are not the same when Elizabeth has the option of ditching her family and getting a job.) But...

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May 10 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the Graphic Novel, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith


To misquote Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that an unexpectedly successful book will force its creators to keep milking it like a cash cow until it falls over dead. That's wh...

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Apr 1 2019

Pride and Prejudice: Puffin Plated edition, by Jane Austen


As long time readers know, I frequently treat myself to special editions of various Jane Austen novels, mostly for the pleasure of complaining about their various bells and whistles. My latest acquisition is the Puffin Plated edition of Pride and Prejudice, featuring recipes for “modern teatime treats” by Martha Stewart...

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Nov 28 2016

Pride and Prejudice: Third Norton Critical Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Donald J. Gray


When reviewing an annotated Jane Austen novel, I always want to emphasize that I am focusing solely on the quality of the critical content featured in this particular edition. (I don't have anything left to say about Pride and Prejudice other than it's amazing, and...

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Dec 5 2022

Pride and Premeditation, by Tirzah Price


Tailor-made for fans of the Enola Holmes movies, Tirzah Price's Pride and Premeditation is a fun historical whodunit that takes the characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and puts them in a slightly different setting...

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Oct 8 2018

Priest of Bones, by Peter McLean


Peter McLean's new novel Priest of Bones centers around someone competently handling an unusual job (one of my favorite things to read about!), but features loads of sexual violence (one of my least favorite things to read about!). Your enjoyment of this book will hinge upon your interest in the former, and your tolerance for the latter...

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Jun 11 2008

The Prince of Midnight, Seize the Fire, and Midsummer Moon, by Laura Kinsale


If you like your romance novels high on action, low on plausibility, and full of darkly tormented heroes and heroines, check out Laura Kinsale’s books: they’re imaginative, they’re well-written, and every one of ‘em features a full soap opera’s worth of hardcore drama...

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Mar 19 2009

The Princess and the Unicorn, by Carol Hughes


If you think the pink-and-gold cover art for Carol Hughes’s The Princess and the Unicorn is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, chances are good you will really like the book...

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May 28 2008

Princess Ben, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s new novel Princess Ben is a major departure from her earlier works, Dairy Queen and The Off Season. While Dairy Queen and The Off Season focused on the trials of a dairy-farming teenager with dreams of playing high school football in small-town Wisconsin...

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Dec 15 2014

Princess of Thorns, by Stacey Jay


Stacey Jay's first two novels had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, and my hopes for her future efforts were not high. Her third book—a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast—was much more successful, and her latest effort...

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Dec 5 2012

The Project, by Brian Falkner


If you're in the market for a book for a ten- to twelve-year-old boy who finds even the tiny smidgen of romance featured in the 39 Clues series too embarrassing, Brian Falkner's novels may be the answer to your holiday gift-giving prayers...

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Apr 3 2017

The Promise in a Kiss, by Stephanie Laurens


It's been a few months, so it's time for another attempt in my ongoing (and frequently unsuccessful) search for historical romance novelists whose work I actually like. Sadly, if her 2001 novel The Promise in a Kiss is any indication, Stephanie Laurens is considerably closer to the dreadful Jane Feather than Georgette Heyer...

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