Fantasy

Aug 27, 2020

A Court of Thorns and Roses​ is the first installment in an ongoing book series by Manhattan author, Sarah J. Maas. It was first published in 2015. The series has four published books, with another, ​A Court of Silver Flames​ , expected to publish in January 2021. ​A Court of Thorns and Roses​ is a retelling of ​Beauty and the Beast ​ with a very dark twist. Nineteen-year-old Feyre’s world is split in two. The immortal faeries to the north are deadly and vicious, while mortals have their own sort of cruelty. The only thing separating the two races is The Wall, an impenetrable force built

Outrun the Wind

By Elizabeth Tammi
4
Rated by Anne G
Jul 22, 2020

"Ugly words don't always mean ugly feelings."
― Elizabeth Tammi, Outrun the Wind


Elizabeth Tammi shows that she is a talented writer with this story about the Greek myth Atalanta. I enjoyed that this book addresses the harsh realities of Ancient Greek womanhood while also giving the women of steel protagonists a happy ending. There is not any shaming of women who are not as physically capable as the strong female Atalanta, which was a breath of fresh air. It is definitely a slow burn romance about Greek gods and goddesses, but the ending is worth it. If you grew up reading books about

The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale
5
Rated by Anne G
Jul 10, 2020

“... If we don't tell strange stories, when something strange happens we won't believe it.”
― Shannon Hale, The Goose Girl


The Goose Girl is a nice Grimm fairy-tale inspired piece of fiction. The fantasy fiction is well written, and quite creative in its own way. I stayed up all night reading this leisurely paced book. This is absorbing, exciting, and has a descriptive writing style. It is a slow moving tale at first, and some might be tempted to stop reading in the opening chapters where we are introduced to the excessively timid Princess Ani. Ani is a girl taken from her position as

The Undefeated

By Una McCormack
4
Rated by Anne G
Jun 24, 2020

In The Undefeated we have a lovely novella with a leisurely pace by Una McCormack. This space opera is an introspective reminiscent view of a sixty-year-old's life. The novella blends science fiction life on other planets, colonialism's rise and fall, and an eerie near-apocalyptic setting.
The science fiction novella in the far future in which a woman travels to her childhood home as war looms between humans and modified humans called "jenjers" that humans have enslaved. Much of the story is the protagonist Monica and her homecoming.  I enjoyed the lyrical writing style and the journey

Akata Witch

By Nnedi Okorafor
5
Rated by admin
Jun 9, 2020

“Lesson one,” Anatov said. “And this is for all of you. Learn how to learn. Read between the lines. Know what to take and what to discard.”
― Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch


This young-adult culturally diverse fantasy, set within the modern times, centers on Sunny Nwazue, an adolescent born to Nigerian parents in the United States. A couple of years before our story begins, Sunny's family moved back to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, where our primary woman of steel currently lives with them just outside a tiny town. Sunny “confuse[s] people,” she explains in her own voice, not only thanks

The Winter Duke

5
Rated by Julia B.
Apr 24, 2020

As the daughter of the duke, Ekata was born into a world of cut-throat politics and tenuous alliances. Unlike her siblings, though, all she wants to do is escape and study the life sciences she finds so fascinating. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances throw her into the thick of the court politics she has tried all her life to avoid. She must learn quickly how to navigate her situation and hold her head high if she wants to retain her position- and her life. I love the political intrigue throughout the book. It's not something that I've found done in a compelling way in many YA books, but

Apr 17, 2020

Shortly before the library closed due to the novel coronavirus, my co-worker, Adam, loaned me a set with all five of the original Planet of the Apes films - three of which are currently in the Johnson County Library collection, and two of which are available to stream from home on IndieFlix. This pentalogy (five!) of films includes Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). I really only had plans to watch the first film, and maybe try out

The Way of Kings

By Brandon Sanderson
5
Rated by admin
Mar 4, 2020

 


Ah, the one and only Brandon Sanderson. If you are a fan of high fantasy you are probably familiar with his works and can reminisce on the first Sanderson book you experienced. I say experienced- not read- because working the way through a Sanderson novel alongside his characters is an adventure. I started digging into Sanderson’s works with the Mistborn trilogy, which I highly recommend. The trilogy is a great introduction to Brandon Sanderson’s works as it is shorter, but still provides that intricate worldbuilding and thought provoking storytelling for which he is so well known. Since

Three Hands for Scorpio

By Andre Norton
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     Three Hands for Scorpio is the last adult book for young adults of Lifetime Grand Master of Fantasy, Andre Norton, who passed away on March 17, 2005 after a long and extremely fruitful career.  Her magically detailed world-building skills, upright, against-all-odds characters, and fast pace will be sorely missed.  Tor rushed a copy of this book of women-of-steel into print, so that the 93-year-old author could see it before she died.  It is the last manuscript she penned alone, and has an action-packed storyline.  I have read most of Ms. Norton's books, and especially enjoyed her women

Deerskin

By Robin McKinley
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     You know, sometimes you just need some escapist fantasy about self-discovery in women.  McKinley's seventeen-year-old girl Lissar was just the ticket for me last night. Deesrkin is a beautiful, haunting, and sometimes painful coming-of-age story that ends with a message of hope.  The first half of the fantasy fiction is really about the traumatic aftermath of a violent assault and rape by the heroine's own father.  These dark themes are handled appropriately, realistically, and with great compassion but they do make for some hard reading in the gateway fantasy.   


     If you have any

Dealing With Dragons

By Wrede, Patricia
5
Rated by admin
Feb 21, 2020

"Well I'm not a proper princess then!" Cimorene snapped. "I make cherries jubilee and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs-- or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!”


I have slowly been making my way through a long list of fantasy fiction books I have wanted to read or reread.  Dealing with Dragons is one of those re-read upbeat books; possibly it was “the” book that honestly got me hooked on reading. 


I cannot sing enough praises about this fast-paced book, in particular for its excellently written main character.  This is one of the best “fractured fairy

The Secret Hour

By Scott Westerfeld
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     The Secret Hour has a very imaginative paranormal premise, and it was enjoyable to read; I finished this book for reluctant readers in two sittings.  I love the idea of a hidden hour after midnight where only a select few can visit, and the continuing threads of mystery and “what’s going on?” kept me reading this urban fantasy.  The characters are not all best buddies, but are unique individuals with their own motivations which are shown in the fast pace.


     The premise is original and interesting with a compelling writing style.  It is definitely written with a young adult audience

Middlegame

By Seanan McGuire
4
Rated by Heather C
Dec 18, 2019

I am not one that is normally drawn to the fantasy genre.  I mean, sure, I read all of the Harry Potter books (because they were fantastic!).  I am a huge fan of the Xanth series and don't even get me started with the Incarnations of Immortality series (if you haven't read that series, I highly highly recommend it) but I find myself drawn more to thrillers or mysteries or anything with vampires and witches.  So, with that being said, I love how this book drew me in from the get go.  


Just the blurb on the jacket alone got me excited to read this book:


Meet Roger.  Skilled with words

Trickster's Choice

By Tamora Pierce
5
Rated by Anne G
Dec 11, 2019

     I previously read Trickster's Choice with courageous teenage girls a little over a decade ago, and I wanted to revisit it.  I had forgotten just how easy it is to get drawn into Aly’s adventures which cause her to become a slave as a girl, and I am so glad to have revisited because it was similar to visiting with an old friend.  This is the story of Alianne Cooper, who wants to be a girl spy, and is the daughter of Spymaster Cooper and the famous Lioness of Tortall and champion of the throne.  Certainly Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite writers in this genre, and Alianne (Aly) stands

The Assassins of Tamurin

By S. D. Tower
4
Rated by Anne G
Nov 1, 2019

     The Assassins of Tamurin is on my top ten favorite adult books for young adults list.  I read this Asian-influenced fantasy for the first time nearly 15 years ago, and I have probably read it at least that many times since.  The Canadian author made me fall in love with the characters, even the characters I think I hate.  Everyone in this fantasy fiction is detailed, alive, and real.


          This culturally diverse book has an engaging story line and a lovable strong female lead character.  When I re-read this I thought it was too good to be a first effort; the story flows along

Just Ella

By Margaret Peterson Haddix
4
Rated by Anne G
Oct 21, 2019

                “Why did everyone like that story so much when it wasn’t true?  Why was everyone so eager to believe it?  Was it because, in real life, ever after’s generally stink?”


Just Ella, a book for reluctant readers, is a retelling of Cinderella, and it is about a girl named Ella who has already won her freedom from her stepmother at the ball and moved into the palace.  But training to become a princess is not what Ella thought it would be like in this fairy- tale and folklore-inspired fiction.  While being constantly told to act like a “proper lady” by an evil decorum instructor and

A Hero Born

By Jin Yong
5
Rated by Andrew P
Oct 11, 2019

Touted as a Chinese Lord of the Rings, Jin Yong's A Hero Born, makes it's debut English translation. This story follows Guo Jing who was born during the Song empire. After his father, a Song Patriot, is murdered, he is taken up into the Mongolian steppes. There he is raised in Genghis Kahn's army before meeting The Seven Heroes of the South who tell him he is fated to fight in a competition to determine who is the greatest master. Filled with historical intrigue and epic kung fu battles, A Hero Born will delight fans of Wuxia stories like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 8 diagram pole fighter

Scarlet

By Marissa Meyer
5
Rated by Megan K.
Oct 8, 2019

The second book in the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet, is a take on the well known tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The main character and namesake of this second installment of The Lunar Chronicles is Scarlet, a farm girl on the outskirts of a small French town. Caution: some unintentional spoilers may be in the full review.

Kill the Farm Boy

By Delilah S. Dawson
3
Rated by Hilary S.
Sep 27, 2019

First, I must admit that I picked Kill the Farm Boy solely on its cover. I had no familiarity with either author before, nor had I read any reviews. I thought it looked like a fun and easy read, and that was exactly what I was in the mood for, so I tried it out. It is a lighthearted fantasy, packed in humor. But it's the type and quality of humor that makes this either a "love it" or "hate it" for many readers: poop jokes (lots of them), raunchy sex jokes and innuendo (lots of those, too). The idea is a good one - take the typical fairy tale trope and turn it on it's head by introducing

Jul 17, 2019

There is a lot of music in the world. But have you ever thought about the music that is set in space? Here are a few space concept albums that fit perfectly into our summer reading theme, A Universe of Stories.


Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino


This space-inspired concept album features the Arctic Monkeys as the lounge band on the moon. It blew my mind to realize they are playing the Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino as the lounge band. Give this one a few listens to appreciate the nuance and lyrics. I especially enjoy the thought of putting a taqueria on the roof and

Flight Vol. 6

By Edited by Kazu Kibuishi
4
Rated by Megan K.
Jul 17, 2019

The sixth anthology of short graphic novels, Flight Vol. 6 was a beautiful read. I found out about the series from a coworker who is well-versed in the graphic novel genre. Since all the books are anthologies, I did not feel the need to read the series in order. Furthermore, the sixth book was the only one available at my location, so it made my choice easy! For someone that has trouble reading graphic novels, this collection of short stories was perfect. The art styles varied greatly between selections, which made for an engaging read. Some of the stories were wordless, focusing on detailed

Jun 20, 2019

The Legend of Zelda, the Wind Waker HD is an outstanding, unique entry in the already well-loved Legend of Zelda video game series. This time, our courageous hero, Link, lives with his sister, Aryll, and kindly grandmother on peaceful and remote Outset Island. Great floods have submerged the once mighty kingdom of Hyrule and left only small, scattered islands in an endless ocean. One day, as Link and his sister are out exploring, Aryll is snatched and carried off by an enormous, malevolent bird. Link must brave the vast ocean with the help of his talking boat, a crew of dastardly pirates, and

May 6, 2019

In this book Hesina, the princess, takes the throne and immediately begins investigating her fathers death, believing him to have been murdered. She enlists the help of a convict who is much more than he seems. Hesina also learns who can be trusted and who can't be, and those who betray her are not who you would expect


I thought the cover was gorgeous. Honestly when I picked it up I figured Hesina would be travelling outside her kingdom to seek out the truth behind her fathers death, but the entire time she stayed in the palace. But I do like the crane on the cover. I think that specific

The Soul Keepers

5
Rated by Julia B.
Mar 18, 2019

When teenager Rhett dies, he becomes a skelletor on the Harbinger, which is a ship that collects souls when people die. Suddenly, a demon appears and wants some special power that Rhett seems to have. What could it be? How will Rhett and his new friends stop her? Or can they even? 


The most compelling aspect of the book with all it's different characters reacting to the situations they were put in and to each other. I loved the cover; it gave this creepy ominous vibe without telling much about the story but sort of hinting at things. Much like the book, the cover is suspenseful.


This

The Wicked King

5
Rated by Julia B.
Mar 7, 2019

Although this book was a sequel, it draws readers in even more than its predecessor, The Cruel Prince. Characters will be faced with even more difficult decisions, alliances will be formed and broken, all while Black manages to wow the audience with an even more intriguing world than before. I really enjoyed the cover. It well reflects the tensions in this book with the main characters and the Kingdom of the Sea, and between Cardan and Jude over the crown. The most compelling aspect of this book, other than the amazingly written plot, is the character development. All of the characters showed

Sep 10, 2018

Hi. My name is Hebah. I’m a giant nerd. I don’t just read genre fiction shamelessly; I also attend conventions dedicated to them. And yeah, going to a ComicCon isn’t really a big deal anymore, but I go to sci fi cons, which is probably a couple steps further along the grand scale of nerddom. This year, I attended WorldCon, or the World Science Fiction Convention, a science fiction and fantasy convention established in 1939. It is home to the Hugo Awards, the longest-running science fiction award around. Attendees vote on both the Hugos and future locations, so it moves around from year to year

The Gospel of Loki

By Joanne Harris
4
Rated by Dylan R
Aug 11, 2018

For many readers, Joanne Harris will forever be known as the author who brought them the delectable Chocolat. They'd likely be as shocked as I was to discover this gem from Harris, a collection of Norse myths all written from the perspective of the diabolical Loki!


(Sorry, Loki . . . I just couldn't resist!)


Anyway, The Gospel of Loki offers a chronological look at Loki's existence following his initial meeting with the Aesir, the Norse gods of Asgard. Obviously, as far as narrators go, Loki is about as unreliable as one gets. However, the strength of this book--aside from the stories

Jul 25, 2018

Prince Sebastian has a secret, one no one can ever find out. At night, he wears beautiful dresses and takes Paris by storm as a fashion icon named Lady Crystallia. Only two people know his dangerous secret, and one of them is his best friend, Frances, his dressmaker. But she dreams of greatness as a fashion designer, but as long as she remains a secret, she will never be able to gain recognition for her work. But how long can she put her dreams on hold to protect her friend?


I loved how this book turned around the YA cliche of a girl dressing up as a guy, but I honestly loved everything

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

By Bandai Namco
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 17, 2018

Before I say anything else, I just want to say, without qualifications, that I had a lot of fun playing this game.


I've previously talked about the first game in this series, but you're not going to be missing masses of plot if you start in with this one. There's a shared world—separated by centuries and what looks to be some continent-reshaping disasters—a similar art style, a handful of inside jokes, and a mythologized retelling of the first game's plot. Literally everything else is different.


The battle system is one of the biggest changes. Rather than throwing your creatures into

Cat Quest (PS4 Game)

By Gentlebros
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 9, 2018

Sometimes you want to play a game that is deep and meaningful, with intricate gameplay and insight into human nature, that will draw you in for weeks on end.


Sometimes you just want some cute fluff you can knock out in a matter of hours.


This is definitely the latter.


The creator's site describes Cat Quest as being influenced by The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Skyrim, and it really shows.


A playful parody, completely aware of its own silliness, this game is just a pure delight. It's packed with classic video game tropes like the silent protagonist with a talkative companion