Staff Picks by Tag

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All of Us with Wings Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781641290340
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Soho Teen - June 18th, 2019

Is it fate that intertwines 17-yr-old Xochi and 12-yr-old Pallas, or is it simply kindred spirit? On the night of the Autumn Equinox, they cast a playful spell and summon two eerie, green forest children - "Water Babies" in Native American lore - but these creatures do more than cause vivid dreams. Told from multiple POV's (including a bookstore cat!) with interludes in verse and oral storytelling, Keil's debut is a lush, magical novel of first loves and found family. 

 

A delightfully dark "New Adult" read for fans of Francesca Lia Block, Sherman Alexie, and Hayao Miyazaki. 


Review by Danielle

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Magic for Liars: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250174611
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Tor Books - June 4th, 2019

If The Dresden Files and The Magicians had a book baby, this would be it. Our heroine is an ordinary private eye hired to solve a murder at a boarding school for magical teenagers. Unfortunately, it's also the school where her magical twin sister, Tabitha, works. As Ivy gets further involved in the inner workings of the school, its faculty, and its students, she questions her sanity and skill. Can she keep up appearances, find the killer, and reunite with Tabitha?

 

Excellent storytelling with a plot that had me guessing "whodunnit" until the last 50 pages.


Review by Danielle

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780735220171
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Riverhead Books - February 5th, 2019

"Truth is just another story." Herein lies, Tracker's testimony.

 

A nose for hire who loves no one and believes in nothing, Tracker is recruited by his shape-shifting friend, Leopard, to find a missing boy of mysterious origin. However, truth turns out to be a slippery thing and is always in contention as Tracker struggles to unravel the real reason behind the quest as well as his own motivations for continuing the journey. Who is right and who is wrong? What is truth? Why this child? Half-truths, hidden intentions, unreliable characters and his own mouth are constant sources of conflict for Tracker.

 

While containing all the classic elements of a fantasy novel (a fellowship, a quest, magical lands, etc.), Marlon James concocts a wholly original tale infused with African myth and lore. James has woven a rich and complex epic packed with violent action and nightmarish creatures both known and unknown.

 

Warning: This book will demand your full attention, but it's oh so worth it. Rated R.


Review by Laura

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Spellslinger Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316525756
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Orbit - July 17th, 2018

De Castell's Spellslinger series is an adventure to take: magic, intrigue, exile, friends, enemies, frenemies, and eyeball eating Squirrel-Cats. The series has it all. I blazed my way through the first four books of Kellen's journeys and the fifth is almost here (out in May!).


Review by Alex

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A Winter's Promise: Book One of the Mirror Visitor Quartet Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781609454838
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2018

I think I’ve been waiting all my life to find this book. Or, perhaps, I’ve just been waiting for it to find me. With any translated novel there's a kind of unnameable wonder. So, I don’t know if it’s just the beauty of the translation itself from its original French text or something else entirely, but I haven’t read a book this magically alive since Harry Potter. Think of all your expectations of what a fantasy novel can be and know that this novel will surpass every single one. Gah! So this is love.


Review by Claire

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Fire Logic: An Elemental Logic Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781618730886
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Small Beer Press - January 29th, 2019

I love almost everything put out by Small Beer Press, and when I got a copy of Fire Logic in the mail, I read it and immediately blazed through the rest of the series. Fire Logic is the first in an epic fantasy series about a brutal civil war where every character and plot point pivots around history, philosophy, and the aftermath of violence. It's gentler, in later books, and slower than series like Erika Johansen's Tearling books or Ann Leckie's Radch series (though if you like Kalr 5 and her tea cups, you'll also love Garland and his ladle). The questions these books ask repeatedly are, what systems are working to narrow our choices? And what kind of radical thinking will allow us to see another path?


Review by Christina

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The Raven Tower Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316388696
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Orbit - February 26th, 2019

Ann Leckie is so intelligent and so wise about the way she crafts her stories. What we have here is a slow burn fantasy novel told from the perspective of an ancient god that resides in a huge rock, a plot summary which does not sound even remotely exciting. But friends, I'm here to tell you that it is. You will see life evolve, languages emerge and change, cultures form and get subsumed, and religious worship come into being. There is war, there is blood sacrifice, there are fully developed queer / trans characters. There is the deep, echoing feeling that life existed before you were born and will continue after you die.


Review by Anje

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The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781633884236
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pyr - June 12th, 2018

I know you need something super gay, magical, and dramatic to start your new year off appropriately. The Last Sun is a tarot-inspired (yes!) noir-fantasy mashup starring a moody fallen prince and his foul-mouthed bodyguard that you will love. Rune and Brand eke out an uneasy existence as mercenaries and criminal dogsbodies, but when they're hired to find a nobleman's missing heir they're plunged into deeper waters than ever before. In New Atlantis, the island kingdom built from a patchwork of scenery borrowed from the human world, the dead rise again, the courts go to war, and Rune must confront the bloody night that destroyed his family.


Review by Christina

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Strange the Dreamer Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780316341677
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 22nd, 2018

You won't want to miss a single sentence, word, not even one comma of this magical adventure. Goddesses, librarians, lost cities, adventures, fantastical dreams--have I convinced you yet? No? Well, then let me just add that this was hands down one of the most beautifully-written and imaginative books I've read in years (and, hold on to your hats folks, because the sequel is even better!). Now, what are you still doing here reading this review? Grab the book and start dreaming--I mean, reading!


Review by Claire

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781328567659
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

At first glance, this is a well researched series about an order of medieval assassin nuns sired by Death Himself, so I was pretty much already sold. But THEN I started reading it, and could not stop. For weeks. I burned through all 3 books (and the related upcoming February 2019 release Courting Darkness) in like a week and a half. 

The series takes place in 15th century Brittany, a time when everyone is at war, the duchy has been inherited by a 12 year old girl, and the Catholic Church chose to actively subsume pagan beliefs in order to gain acceptance among a reluctant populace. It is one of these old pagan gods, Mortain, now considered the patron saint of death, that our heroines worship and struggle and fight for. But they are also fighting for themselves. 

The history is fascinating, the trauma is brutal but very well handled, the romance is the healthy and supportive (but fuuun) kind that you want your teens reading about, and the weapons are historically accurate. Don't you want to read about young women finding self actualization and liberation through violence and subterfuge and epic battles? DON'T YOU?

 

 


Review by Anje

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