Amanda Rutter (guest)

AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

The Initiation: Classic YA paranormal romance

The Initiation by L.J. Smith

Cassie Blake is distraught when her mother decides to uproot to the small town of New Salem in order to take care of a grandmother who Cassie had never even met before. But that is only the start of her problems. Starting a new school, trying to make new friends — and discovering that some of the people she would most like to befriend are all part of some secret Club that Cassie is not permitted to join. Then a girl dies and Cassie is finally initiated into the Secret Circle, learning that magic is more than just a folktale.

These days the YA market is flooded with paranormal activity — witches amongst them. But in 1992 when LJ Smith first wrote The Secret Circle trilogy it was something fresh and new — and should be reviewed with that in mind. LJ Smith was producing well-written compulsive novels about teenagers in love LONG before... Read More

The Vampire Diaries 2: The Fury & The Reunion

The Vampire Diaries: The Fury & The Reunion by L.J. Smith

This is the second bind-up for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. The Fury and The Reunion were originally published as two separate books; in fact, The Reunion was published some time after The Fury, which effectively closes the trilogy begun with The Awakening and The Struggle). In The Fury Elena, alongside her friends Bonnie and Meredith, struggles to control her nature and discover the source of the evil Power that is haunting Fell’s Church. She knows that the only way it can be defeated is if the two vampire brothers Stefan and Damon can put alongside their lifelong enmity and work together. In The Reunion Fell’s Church is once again being terrorised b... Read More

The Vampire Diaries 1: The Awakening & The Struggle

The Vampire Diaries 1: The Awakening & The Struggle by L.J. Smith

Elena is the ice-blonde queen of the school, admired by girls and boys alike. With her friends, Bonnie and Meredith, she enjoys her status and uses it to snag the most eligible boys. However, Elena always feels as though something is missing. When new boy Stefan starts at the school, she suspects she has found what she is looking for, but Stefan manages to resist her charms. Elena makes a vow with Bonnie and Meredith that she will have Stefan no matter what — little suspecting that he hides a deadly secret. When Stefan's brother Damon arrives on the scene, Elena may be in more trouble than she realizes.

I am a big fan of L.J. Smith's writing, and have enjoyed a number of her books. I did enjoy both The Awakening and The Struggle, but felt that they suffered due to an unlikable main character.... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Kerfuffles and Piracy

Ha, so I totally used that particular title because I like the word 'kerfuffle'. Also - curmudgeon, rapscallion and dagnammit! But enough about that - time to bring you news from the World Wide Web!

1) Cook's Source

So... pretty much the whole Net has now heard about Monica and her experiences with the editor at Cook's Source - but for anyone who has remained oblivious, I bring you the full account here. This one went absolutely viral and Cook's Source found their Facebook page inundated with complaints about the cavalier attitude shown - pretty horrendous, don't you agree?

2) Want to Appear in a Book?

This is a way more heart-warming tale! Various authors - including Peter F Hamilton - are Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Nanowrimo and Dark Fiction

Welcome back to World Wide Wednesday! Any of the regular readers of WWW will know that every now and again there is a week's break from the post: I should explain that it will most often fall on the first week of a month since I am an accountant and work increased hours, hence finding it hard to fit in extra-curricular activities.

I'm going to stop blathering now, and give you this week's ten items of interest (at least to me!)

1) Nanowrimo

Those in the know will already recognise that this stands for National Novel Writing Month. This takes place every November, and offers the opportunity to join many thousands of others in the crazy endeavour of attempting to write a novel in a month - that is, 50,000 words! As long as you write 1,667 words every day in November, you will hit the target. Authors (such as Read More

Why You Should Read… Daniel Abraham

If you'd like to contribute a column to this series, please contact Kat.

Our latest guest to talk about a favourite and worthy author is none other than Aidan Moher, the brain behind A Dribble of Ink and contributor to SF Signal. He wants to talk to you today about the author Daniel Abraham.

When I was asked to come up with an author for Why You Should Read…, the answer was easy. Daniel Abraham. Everything about him is perfect under the criteria. He's a you... Read More

Why You Should Read… William Gibson

If you'd like to contribute a post to this series, please contact the editor.

Today I am pleased to welcome Tom Hunter, the ever-enthusiastic Award Administrator for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Tom can be found on Twitter as @clarkeaward. It should come as no surprise that his chosen Why You Should Read... subject comes from the world of Science Fiction, one William Gibson.

“Anti-buzz,” he said. “Definition by absence.”

She waited to see if he’d indicate that he was joking. He didn’t. “That’s ridiculous.”

I’ve bought more William Gibson books as gifts for other people than I have those of any other author.

I buy a lot of books as gifts.

A big part of what I do in what I guess we mig... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Embargoes and Censorship

Welcome to another edition of World Wide Wednesday, Fantasy Literature's quick look at what is buzzing around the Internet.

1) China Miéville is not on Facebook!

We're a little late on this one, since the fake profiles have since been taken down, but Deanna Hoak first brought us Mr Miéville's letter to Facebook. Just be careful that all the people you friend on Facebook are who they say they are!

2) Sticking with China...

We've also seen posts this week involving China Miéville and John Mullan in conversation at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in the UK. This proved interesting thanks to the commentary about the Booker Prize and the lack of genre r... Read More

Why You Should Read… Ursula K LeGuin

I am pleased to welcome Mark Barrowcliffe today - M D Lachlan (author of Wolfsangel) - to talk about one of his favourite authors. Mark's website can be found here, and he posts on Twitter as @mdlachlan. His article is about Ursula K LeGuin.

I’m going to confess – I haven’t read that much of the author I’m recommending here, although I was until recently under the impression I had read more. So this comes as a recommendation to myself – one that I intend to follow – as well as to you.

They say the books you read earliest are the ones that stay with you longest and this was certainly the ca... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Birthday Cakes and Dating!

Right, I'm a busy little bee today, so I am breezing in and out with a very quick look at some of the posts that tickled my fancy this week - there is a more humorous tone compared to last time out, when I had such sad news to impart.

1) Top 10 Geeky Birthday Cakes

First up, this link is a ton of fun: showcasing the top 10 geeky birthday cakes. These are just incredible - some people really do take their geekdom to undreamed-of heights!

2) Women in Science Fiction

Alright, this one is a little bit more serious - Torque Control highlighted the absence of women in science fiction in a lengthy commentary, and has Read More

Why You Should Read… Bill Willingham

Our contributor this week is another of those bloggers who needs little introduction -- he is a sunny presence from Bulgaria: Harry Markov. He is the benevolent Overlord of Temple Library Reviews and also owns Through a Forest of Ideas, where he discusses the principles of writing. He can be found lurking on Twitter as @harrymarkov. Harry wants to talk to you today about Bill Willingham.

I am pretty much cheating by default, because Bill Willingham doesn’t write novels, but has a career in comic books. He has been writing comic books from as early as 1983, b... Read More

Why You Should Read… Mercedes Lackey

Our contributor this week is one Mieneke, a newer but very welcome presence in the blogosphere. Her blog is A Fantastical Librarian, and she posts on Twitter as @Pallekenl. She has chosen to talk about Mercedes Lackey.

Choosing Mercedes Lackey as the subject for this feature wasn’t difficult. No other author takes up as much shelf space in my bookcases as she does. Her books are my comfort reads; when I feel down, when I just want to read something I know I’ll enjoy, her stories always are exactly what the doctor prescribed. Consequently I’ve read most of her books several times.

Lackey is a prolific writer, who writes across many s... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: A sobering issue

It's an odd WWW for you this week - we have some very saddening news to impart, some more hopeful news and then your usual mix of articles and features.

1) R.I.P. Jennifer Rardin

It was with great sadness that we heard about the death of Jennifer Rardin. She passed away on 20th September. The remaining two books in her very popular Jaz Parks series will still be published. A group of bloggers, including Lurv A La Mode have decided to celebrate her life and writing with a series of posts, reviews and giveaways.

2) R.I.P. Ralph Vicinanza

Legendary literary agent Read More

Why You Should Read… Jorge Luis Borges

We go highbrow for this week's edition of Why You Should Read... Today I want to welcome a giant from the world of book blogging, someone who needs little introduction: Larry from OF Blog of the Fallen. As is his wont, Larry has chosen to talk about one of those authors who have been an influence on those writing in modern times: Jorge Luis Borges.

Jorge Luis Borges was one of the greatest 20th century storytellers.  An Argentine short story writer, poet, and essayist, Borges' stories have been read by millions of readers across the globe in dozens of languages.  But why should a fantasy or SF reader read Borges' works?

I recently spent about five weeks in late June/July Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Speak

Middle of the week again - these come and go like clockwork, don't they? I won't keep you long as you wend your busy way to the weekend, but here are ten posts you really should be reading this week!


Mr Scroggins believes that the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson should be banned because there's a rape in the book. Mr Scroggins implies that rape is pornography. Everyone who believes that Mr Scroggins is wrong should Speak Out.

2) Are authors and their work inseparable?

This question was ask... Read More

City of Ghosts: A bit rushed, but still satisfying

City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane

City of Ghosts is the third book about Chess Putnam, as she goes through the business of debunking hauntings. In this novel Chess is drawn into a Black Squad (government department) investigation, bound to silence about her doings. She struggles to work through the meager clues of the case as danger tightens around her, throwing everyone she cares about into the gravest peril.

I’ll say straight out that I adore this series, but I find that most series tend to have a weaker book. In my opinion, City of Ghosts is that book for Downside Ghosts.

I still greatly love all of the encounters between Chess and Terrible, which are heartbreaking and blisteringly sexy by turn. However, the whole plot dealing with Lauren from the Black Squad and their investigation seems unnecessa... Read More

Unholy Magic: Bleak, dark, excellent

Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane

In Stacia Kane’s second Downside Ghosts novel, Chess Putnam is pulled between two cases: the official Church investigation of the possible haunting of a celebrity, and the serial murders of prostitutes in Downside. She soon discovers that there is a dangerous sort of magic at work, and is forced to walk a fine line trying to balance all the elements of her life and work.

“Self-destruction was one thing, but she was turning into a one-woman wrecking ball.” In this book Chess is falling into an appalling addiction, but tries to convince herself that she is still merely a user. Her drug use compels her to keep visiting Lex, even though she knows she has to finish things with him to become a true part of Terrible’s life.

I found Unholy Magic desperately hard to read — at the same time as I wan... Read More

Why You Should Read… Bruce Coville

Beth Johnson Sonderby brings us this week's Why You Should Read... On the face of it, Beth has written a love letter to Bruce Coville but, honestly, this is really an essay on why we should all read -- enjoy!

I’d like to share a story with you. It’s a rather personal story, but I want to share it anyway. Because I think sometimes we forget what an amazing thing it is, that unique bond between writer and reader, between reader and story. We invest a lot of time in reading because we enjoy, because it’s entertaining and because, sometimes, we find something that means more to us than we ever imagined it could.

My story begins when I was nine. Now that I’m twenty-four, it’s easier to say this: When I was nine, my father committed suicide. It was, as you can imagine, a tumultuous time for me. My father and I tended to knock... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Retirement and Post Modernism

It's been a while, hasn't it? My vacation seems a world away now and I've come back to discover that the 'w' key on my keyboard is sticking which is unfortunate when you're writing a post entitled World Wide Wednesday! Anyway, let's see what the Internet kicked up over the last week or so...

1) Pat's Retiring?

Okay, the most recent kerfuffle concerns Pat of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, who has stated his intention to possibly retire. Mark Charan Newton blogs in reply regarding the Read More

Wicked Appetite: Fortunately it’s short

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the well-known author of the Stephanie Plum mystery series, and here she begins another series that edges firmly into the paranormal arena. Elizabeth Tucker lives in Marblehead, just north of Boston, and makes cupcakes for a living while living in the house bequeathed to her by Great Aunt Ophelia. Her life is perfectly pleasant but very ordinary when two men walk into it and proceed to turn it upside down. One is Wulf and he is a Bad Man. The other is Diesel, our Alpha Male, who explains to Liz that she is an Unmentionable and has to help him search out the SALIGIA stones (named for the first initials of the Latin names of the Seven Deadly Sins). Wulf is also looking for the stones and so Liz is caught in a race against time to discover their whereabouts.

I was really looking forward to Wicked Appetite... Read More

Unholy Ghosts: Gripping and brilliant

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Unholy Ghosts is the first book in the Downside Ghosts sequence and introduces us to Chess Putnam. She lives in a world where Church and religion has been pushed aside in favour of the Church of Real Truth, because of an uprising by the undead in the form of ghosts. Chess is in the employ of the new Church, helping to judge whether complaints about haunting are true or not, since it has become lucrative business to try and con the Church. When Chess picks up a new case, she finds much more than she bargained for — especially when she also finds herself dealing with rival drug gangs and her dangerous attraction to her dealer’s ruthless enforcer.

Stacia Kane has written a tautly-paced, gripping and, above all, unique urban fantasy novel. The idea of a new world where ghosts can kill and where h... Read More

Why You Should Read… Jaqueline Carey

Welcome to another Friday -- and another edition of Why You Should Read... Our contributor this week is the ever-amazing Cara, known as @murf61 on Twitter. She contributes reviews to both Speculative Book Review and Temple Library Reviews, and has her own blog at Murf-more than meets the eye! She is here to tell us why we should be reading Jacqueline Carey.

If you enjoy intricate and detailed worldbuilding, combined with political intrigue and conspiracy flavoured with dark eroticism, then Jacqueline Carey is an author you should rea... Read More

Why You Should Read… Joe R. Lansdale

This week we turn to science fiction debut author with Gollancz Gavin Smith, who released his novel Veteran earlier this year in the UK. He has decided to bring us all the reasons we should be reading Joe R. Lansdale.

Somewhere in East Texas, not far from Nagadoches, is a crossroads like the kind that Robert Johnson went down to. There you’ll find the God of the Razor sitting down and having a beer with Johnah Hex at his best. There’ll be others there as well, cowboys, gunmen, bounty hunters, ne’er do well slacker accidental crime fighters, zombies and a Mummy hunting elderly Elvis. From the crossroads you can see... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: On Holiday!

While you are reading this, I am probably lying on a beach somewhere with a book and a glass of sangria! Because I have no idea what the Internet will be doing while I'm away, I am presenting you with a top ten list of author blogs you really should add to your Google Reader for their combination of articles and information about the books they're writing. No doubt there are plenty more than these 10 to highlight, so feel free to add any that you particularly love to the comments section!

1) Mark Charan Newton

2) Sam Sykes

3) Brandon Sanderson

4) Read More

Why You Should Read… Rich Burlew

I am really pleased to welcome to FanLit today Black Library author extraordinaire Graham McNeill. I love his books -- seriously! Hmm, maybe he should be my own subject for this here Why You Should Read... He brings us an interesting take on the Why You Should Read, dealing as it does with Rich Burlew, writer of the online webcomic The Order of the Stick.

You should be reading Rich Burlew for the same reason you need to watch Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. Before you stop reading, bear with me. As a writer of fantasy fiction, I know how easy it is to write dialogue you think is rich with the necessary gravitas needed to populate your world, only to find that it’s the hammiest, most ridiculously over the top... Read More

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