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Jan 7 2014

Palace of Spies, by Sarah Zettel

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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

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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 22 2013

Paradox, by A.J. Paquette

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Feb 15 2012

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, edited by Robert Morrison

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Apr 30 2008

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

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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

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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

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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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Aug 5 2007

Poltergeist, by Kat Richardson

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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

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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

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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

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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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May 19 2009

Pride and Prejudice (Marvel Comic), by Jane Austen

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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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May 10 2010

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

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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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Jun 11 2008

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

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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

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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

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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 5 2012

The Project, by Brian Falkner

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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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