Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2018.01

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Minimum Wage Magic: A new DFZ series

Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron My teenage daughter (Tali) and I enjoyed listening together to the audiobook editions of Rachel Aaron’s HEARTSTRIKERS series, so we were pleased to learn that Aaron wrote (and self-published) a spin-off series also set in the Detroit Free Zone (DFZ), which takes place a couple of decades after the […]

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The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn: A fun heist story

The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn by Tyler Whitesides Ardor Benn and his friend and partner Raekon Dorrel are con artists. They live in a world where a substance called grit (extracted from dragon poo) has magical properties. There are different types of grit, depending on what the dragon ate, and they can be used […]

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Dark Ark (Vol. 1): Forty Nights: A ship of horrors

Dark Ark (Vol. 1): Forty Nights by Cullen Bunn (writer) & Juan Doe (artist) Dark Ark is a wonderfully disturbing horror story about the flood of forty days and forty nights. But this story is not about Noah’s ark. This is about a different ark — one that we have never heard of. Noah’s ark […]

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City of Lies: Appealing characters in this debut

City of Lies by Sam Hawke Sam Hawke’s debut novel, City of Lies, is the first book in her POISON WARS series. It features two protagonists, Jovan and Kalina, who are brother and sister. They work for their friend Tain, a young man who has suddenly become the Chancellor of their country after his uncle […]

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Semiosis: Oh, give me a home where the fippokats roam…

Semiosis by Sue Burke Semiosis, Sue Burke’s 2018 debut novel, is a fascinating examination of culture, intelligence, and co-operation in the face of extreme hardship. A small group of high-minded and free-thinking colonists have left Earth for a planet they’ve named Pax, in honor of their Utopic dream of what the planet represents, though they […]

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An Easy Death: Sorcery and fast guns in an alternate-history America

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris In An Easy Death (2018) the first book of her latest series, GUNNIE ROSE, Charlaine Harris introduces readers to Lizbeth Rose, a nineteen-year-old “gunnie” (gunslinger) living in what was once the United States of America — until Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated before becoming the thirty-second President, and the ensuing […]

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Give the Dark My Love: A dark story for young adults

Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis Nedra Brysstain is a new scholarship student at the Yugen academy in her country’s capital city. She comes from one of the rural villages in the north that have been suffering from the plague. She plans to study medicinal alchemy so she can learn how to heal […]

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Small Spaces: A delicious autumn read

Reposting to include Tadiana’s new review: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden I fell in love with Small Spaces (2018) from the first paragraph. Before I even realized this was the same Katherine Arden whose adult fiction I’ve been meaning to read for years, and before I got caught up in the richly drawn characters and […]

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City of Ghosts: A genial enough middle grade story

City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab City of Ghosts (2018) by V.E. Schwab is a Middle Grade book that, well, reads like a Middle Grade book. In other words, it’s entertaining and engaging enough for that age group, but doesn’t have the depth or complexity in plot or characters to expand beyond that audience, which […]

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Priest of Bones: A brutal beginning

Priest of Bones by Peter McLean Tomas Piety, a foul-mouthed army priest who recently promoted himself to captain after the death of the former captain, is on his way home with his second-in-command, Lieutenant Bloody Anne, and some of their soldiers. The war is over and Tomas is looking forward to returning to Ellinburg, his […]

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Ink: Unique, gruesome premise

Ink by Alice Broadway Ink (2018), by Alice Broadway, is the first book in a YA dystopian trilogy with a unique, if gruesome, premise. Everyone in the city of Saintstone has the events of their lives tattooed on their bodies. When a person dies, their skin is removed and made into a book, which is […]

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Awakened: Camera-ready SF horror adventure

Awakened by James S. Murray & Darren Wearmouth Grady McGowan has been logging lots of overtime, running a tunnel-boring machine beneath the Hudson River for the massive Z Train subway line extension that will link New York City to New Jersey with an underground express train. They’re even building a state-of-the-art underwater Visitors’ Pavilion in […]

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The Quantum Magician: A fun, light heist novel

The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken Derek Künsken’s The Quantum Magician (2018) is kind of like one of those summer movies where if where you don’t think too much about what is happening, and aren’t looking for deep, moving character studies, you’re more than perfectly happy to glide along the surface and enjoy the ride […]

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The Cruel Prince: Starts a new YA series by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black When they were young, Jude and her twin sister witnessed the murder of their parents by their older stepsister’s father, Madoc. Feeling some responsibility for the girls, Madoc took all of them to live with him in the High Court of Faerie. Bullied by the fae nobles, and made […]

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Exo: An exciting YA SF thriller

Exo by Fonda Lee A hundred years ago aliens defeated and colonized Earth. For the most part, humans now live in peace with the aliens. A minority of humans have been chosen to go through the aliens’ hardening process when they are young. This gives them a type of exoskeleton that makes them very hard […]

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The Belles: Exciting despite characterization problems

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton The history books say that the God of the Sky married the Goddess of Beauty and their children populated Orléans. But when Beauty started spending all her time with their children instead of her husband, Sky cursed the people of Orléans, giving them “skin the color of a sunless sky, […]

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Kingdom of Needle and Bone: Preachy, but interesting

Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant Lisa Morris, Patient Zero, is only eight years old when she contracts a mutated and vicious form of measles, infects hundreds of other people while visiting Disney World, and dies. The disease races across the planet, killing millions, because “the virus always spreads.” Lisa’s Aunt Isabella, a […]

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