Weekly Book Giveaway: <i>A Darker Shade of Magic</i>, by V.E. Schwab

This week's Book Giveaway is V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic. It's giving off a distinctly UnLunDun vibe, but I'm hoping I will like it better (or at least that it will be less pretentious). A full review will follow later today ....more

At least it's creative.

And speaking of webtoons, this weekend I started reading Witch Workshop, the latest effort from Goong author So-Hee Park. (English-translated chapters are available here.) So far it's not as instantly charming as Goong, but it's worth reading for the magical curse besetting one of the main characters: after an ancient ancestor tortured a witch, the men of the family were doomed to only be attracted to extremely old women. I'm not sure how I feel about that hook from a feminist perspective (one day I hope to be a VERY old, very attractive lady), but the various scenes of Park's teen-dream protagonist blushing furiously as he glances adoringly at the heroine's grandmother are still pretty funny ....more


According to the Guardian, "Researchers at Poland’s Institute of Nuclear Physics found complex ‘fractal’ patterning of sentences in literature, particularly in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, which resemble ‘ideal’ maths seen in nature." This may well be true—I'm no mathematician, and the concept of multifractals makes my head spin a little—but it doesn't make Finnegans Wake one iota more readable ....more

<i>The Deal, The Mistake</i>, and <i>The Score</i>, by Elle Kennedy

I recently read Elle Kennedy's The Deal, The Mistake, and The Score, a collection of fun, loosely-connected New Adult romances set in the college hockey world. In The Deal, aspiring singer Hannah Wells sets out to overcome a past trauma with some no-strings-attached sex with her new pal Garrett Graham, the captain of her school's championship-winning hockey team. In The Mistake, Garrett's teammate Logan meets the perfect girl.. ....more


I recently picked up a copy of Jane Mayer's nonfiction book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. I love books about financial scandals, and this one is even juicier when you take into account the contents of this New York Times article, which alleges that the Koch brothers (the primary subjects of Mayer's book) may have hired a PI firm to discredit Mayer, digging into everything from her writing to her college experiences... from 40 years ago, which seems pretty weaksauce to me, unless her college years involved, like, ritual sacrifice ....more

<i>Little House on the Prairie</i>: the movie

THR recently posted an update on the upcoming Little House on the Prairie movie reboot: apparently, the project has moved from Sony to Paramount and they've hired Martha Marcy May Marlene filmmaker Sean Durkin to direct. I guess Durkin's experience with filming in isolated wilderness areas will come in handy, although I'm not sure I would have chosen someone whose last major film was about a cult as the director for such a family-friendly project ....more

<i>By Possession</i>, by Madeline Hunter

On a recent trip to the beach, I picked up a battered copy of Madeline Hunter's 2000 novel By Possession from a Little Free Library. As longtime readers of the site know, I rarely read pre-Regency romance novels (I can't get fully invested in any sex scene when I'm wondering when the participants last bathed), but hey: I'd already finished the books I brought with me, and the price was right. Set in 1326, By Possession is the story of Addis de Valence, a knight freshly returned from the Crusades, and Moira Falkner, one of his serfs ....more

Weekly Book Giveaway: <i>By Possession</i>, by Madeline Hunter

This week's Book Giveaway is Madeline Hunter's historical romance novel By Possession. Please note: I picked this particular edition out of a Little Free Library, and it is trashed. Totally readable, though, and at least we're recycling! ...more

<i>Cheese in the Trap</i>, by Soonkki

Today we're going to review something a little different: an ongoing Korean webtoon by Soonkki called Cheese in the Trap. Normally I would wait to cover this kind of thing until it was finished and fully translated, but A) I'm not that patient, and B) this story is so good, you guys—it's totally worth the inconvenience of reading it online. The heroine of Cheese in the Trap is a hardworking young woman named Seol Hong ....more

Same issue, different book

Literally only a few months after the flap over the depiction of slavery in the children's book A Fine Dessert, there is another, virtually identical controversy: according to the Guardian, Scholastic has decided to pull the children's book A Birthday Cake for George Washington over similar concerns about the depiction of slavery. I'm not sure why this problem did occur to them earlier (maybe they were blinded by thoughts about birthday cake?), but you'd think this level of racial insensitivity would be easier to avoid ....more