The Raven Tower: Intelligent, thoughtful, and visceral


Reposting to include Marion’s new review. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie The Raven Tower (2019) begins, as so many fantasy tales do, with a young man returning home to claim...

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The Habitation of the Blessed: Perfect source material for Valente


The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente [Note: I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version of The Habitation of the Blessed read by Ralph Lister. It took me a while to...

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The Mask of Mirrors: Does just what you want a first novel in a series to do


The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick As a reader, it’s rare for me to find a book that has nearly every trope I love. The Mask of Mirrors (2021), Book One of M.A. Carrick’s ROOK...

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The Bards of Bone Plain: Celebrates the power of music, language, and love


The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillip In This Land, the Bards Have Forgotten Their Magic… Patricia McKillip does it again! Unique among fantasy writers for her dreamy...

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Recent Posts

WWWednesday: November 16, 2022

Does anybody have a turkey stuffing recipe that doesn’t call for onions? Seriously. If you do, and you’re willing to share, please put the link in the comments. Thank you!

Z-Library has been seized by the Feds for pirating and copyright infringement.

While overall the election results seem to lean toward support of democracy, in a few places, libraries were defunded. If you think education, reading, and books are important, this might concern you.

It looks like in-person or at least hybrid Read More

Stonefish: Not your basic horror novel

Stonefish by Scott R. Jones

2020’s horror novel Stonefish by Scott R. Jones is not your basic horror novel. I tend to forget that, like every other genre, horror has an array of subgenres, styles, and tropes. Even so, it’s hard for me to “sum up” what kind of horror story Stonefish is. I’m settling for futuristic-dystopian-gnostic-phantasmagorical weird horror, with Sasquatch.

Climate change and leaps in high technology have created the everyday world of Den Secord, who writes things for his generation’s version of the internet. Secord has an editor so I’m calling him a journalist. (“Content-provider” might be more accurate.) Den lives in a plural community called a crèche. Social changes have been driven by the noönet, which lets people interact with each other’s minds and emotions directly, in a vast network. You might think that would bring out a... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 13, 2022

Marion: In spite of internet issues and vehicle issues, I found time to read this week. I finished N.K. Jemisin’s second book in the GREAT CITIES duology, The World We Make. It’s vivid, action-packed and full of fun. I bought C.LPolk’s novella Even Though I Knew the End the day it came out. I love her depiction of 1940’s Chicago, especially the lesbian bar Helen the protagonist and her girlfriend Edith met at. The plot was familiar but the book is fast-paced and lovingly... Read More

Knock Three Times: Wizards and Warriors join forces

Knock Three Times by Cressida Cowell

The third book in Cressida Cowell's THE WIZARDS OF ONCE sees our young protagonists on an adventure to collect the rare ingredients needed to banish the terrible Witches that have recently awoken all across Ancient Britain.

As difficult as it may be to find the scales of a Nuckalavee, it's even stranger to consider the team they've assembled to retrieve them. Xar is the youngest son of the Head Wizard Encanzo, while Wish is the daughter of the cold Queen Sychorax, two tribes that have been at war for generations.

To make matters worse, Xar is struggling with the Witchstain on his hand (the result of his ill-fated attempt to gain magical powers) and Wish has recently found out that she has magical abilities that can work on iron (though magic is strictly forbidden among the Warrior tribes).... Read More

The Killing God: Concluding novel is a huge leap up in quality

The Killing God by Stephen R. Donaldson

I was not, to put it mildly, a fan of Seventh Decimate, the opening book of Stephen R. Donaldson’s GREAT GODS WAR trilogy. Book two, The War Within (2022), was an improvement, but marginally. The good news is that book three, The Killing God, is a big jump up, though the obvious bad news is one has to get through the first two to arrive here, begging the question of is it worth the journey? Warning: spoilers for the first two books to follow as I try to answer that question.

The long-awaited invasion of Belleger by the Great God Rile is about to commence. At the point of invasion, Kin... Read More

WWWednesday: November 9, 2022

The World Fantasy Awards were announced. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri took home the Best Novel award while Premee Mohamed’s And What Can We Offer You Tonight snagged Best Novella, and “(emet)” by Lauren Ring Best Short Story. The convention was held in New Orleans this year.

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are separating. Thanks to File 770 for this item.

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Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories: Ten Exemplars of the Weird-Menace Genre

Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories by Ralston Shields

Gathering together 10 remarkably grisly tales from the pages of three of the most lurid of the pulp magazines, Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories is the first collection of Ralston Shields’ work ever assembled. Released in 2014 by the Dancing Tuatara Press imprint of Ramble House, the book shines a long-overdue spotlight on an author whom John Pelan, in his introduction, calls the greatest writer of “weird-menace” fiction on a story-by-story basis. And for those of you who are fairly new to this distinctive genre of the mid-1930s to early ‘40s, as was I, let me briefly state that the weird-menace stories seem to have dealt with supernatural events that are ultimately revealed to have mundane, if sinister, explanations; ghastly plots perpetrated on our hapless main characters, usually by a scheming femme fatale or money-hungry ... Read More

Neom: You should read this book

Neom by Lavie Tidhar

In Neom, Lavie Tidhar, returns to the universe of Central Station, his wonderful collection of linked short stories, though not to Central Station itself, which is only name-checked a few times. Instead, the setting is the titular city, an extrapolation into the far, far future of a city that today exists mostly as plans and dreams in Saudi Arabia (though you can fly into Neom Airport). Neom is a city “that valued nothing old, and chased the future,” a city that is “ever new, brash, a place for making new things and selling new things.” A city for the rich.

But Tidhar is not interested in either the rich or the shiny new. Instead, the focus here is on a diverse group of Neom’s less fortunate inhabitants (or recent entries), including Mariam, holder of multiple low-paying jobs; Nas... Read More

The Nightland Express: A solid YA fantasy

The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee 

The Nightland Express (2022) by J.M. Lee is a solid YA fantasy that has its moments but also doesn’t quite reach its full potential due to several issues. It also suffers a bit perhaps from trying to take on too much, where a more streamlined approach might have allowed for more full development of its issues as well as a more tense narrative. A minor spoiler follows, one revealed quite early in the book and one whose “reveal” doesn’t really impact the reading experience, but stop here if you’re a purist on that sort of thing.

The novel is set in 1860 America, which is also not uncoincidentally the year the Pony Express began (and not long before it ended but that’s a different tale). Our two alternating POVs — Ben and Jessamine (who goes by Jesse) — each show up in St. Joseph, Missouri in response to a recruitment poster lookin... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

FanLit readers, we just discovered that our email notifications for posts and giveaways haven't been working for at least a couple of months because Google's Feedburner finally quit sending them, as it's been warning us for years that it would. We're working on a fix for this. In the sidebar there's a place to sign up for email notifications which you can filter for certain tags (such as "Giveaway") if you like. For now, we're trying it out to see how we like it. If we don't like it, we'll try something different.

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What's the best book you read in October 2022 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. We just want to share some great reading material.

Feel free... Read More