The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey et al.

The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey et al.

The story of what happens to a deposed sultan’s harem of 365 women, told in a style that intersperses the histories of the women with the “present day” action, reminiscent of 1000 Arabian Nights.  It’s an exciting adventure tale on the one hand, but it also explores deeper issues like the power of ideas (even […]


The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

The first book in McKinley’s Damar series. Despite the dragon on the cover, this story subverts as many fantasy tropes as it upholds…the heroine’s chief weapon is hard work, not magic. Her horse is white because it is old and lame, and no one in her kingdom particularly appreciates her heroics. It’s a beautiful story […]


A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay

A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite fantasy authors. He is a poet in his spare time, and his novels show it. The writing is lyrical but never fussy, and most of his books of fantasy have a solid basis in historical fact. In this case, “A Song For Arbonne” is based in a […]


Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts by John Scalzi

In this satire based on the original Star Trek series, an ensign is thrilled to be assigned to the Universal Union Starship Intrepid…until he notices that someone dies horribly on every away mission, and that someone is usually the new guy. A band of “new guys” join together in an attempt to solve the mystery […]


A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson

A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson

A perfect and heart-wrenching novella from the author of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, and set in the same alternate/fantasy version of Africa, where the gods bestow gifts of “magic” (in which some might recognize higher-level physics at play) to the faithful.  Aqib wants to be faithful, and to fulfill his family’s hopes by marrying […]


And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None

This eerie and atmospheric three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic “closed room” murder mystery features a fine cast (Miranda Richardson, Charles Dance, and Sam Neill to name a few) and top-notch BBC attention to detail. Ten strangers are invited to a grand mansion on an isolated island, and one by one, are murdered by an […]


Nutshell

Nutshell

Talk about an interesting perspective. The narrator of McEwan’s latest is the unborn child (a boy!) of Trudy and John.  Unfortunately Trudy and John are separated (mostly Trudy’s doing). She’s been having an affair with Claude, John’s brother, and the two of them are plotting John’s murder by anti-freeze mixed in to his favorite smoothie. […]


The Golden Age

The Golden Age

The third part of Jane Smiley’s broad family saga takes the Langdon’s into the future and beyond. Even more than in the first two parts, (Some Luck and Early Warning) she shows us how the macro events of politics in the U.S. (hot issues, financial dealings, scandals, economic changes, environmental policy) effects the micro events […]


The War that Saved My Life

The War that Saved My Life

Cruel and neglectful are the kindest things to say about these two English children’s mother. When they are evacuated to the countryside to avoid the Blitz, they are immigrants in a new, strange land. Understated, sad and triumphant, this is an important book for adults and children.


Eligible

Eligible

Wow! As re-tellings go this is a doozy. Sittenfield has lifted the whole of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and time-traveled it to Cincinnati, 2016. Every character is there in some form or another, sometimes as a polar opposite of the original. Darcy is a top neurosurgeon; Liz Bennet, a feature writer for a trendy women’s […]