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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

There was a snafu last month with the February reviews — everything is fixed now, and they have been posted simultaneously with the March reviews. The IGMS book reviews for February are:

Title: Witchlanders
Author: Lena Oakley
EAN: 9781442420045

Take all the classic elements of fantasy and swirl them around (stirred, not shaken), and you have Witchlanders. There’s nothing particularly unique about the world that Lena Oakley has created in this novel, but she does not trivialize those tropes we love so dearly, ultimately making Witchlanders a thoroughly pleasurable read. (Read more)

 

Title: Shadow Ops: Control Point
Author: Myke Cole
EAN: 9781937007249

The day that John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars hit the stands, I dropped everything and read it straight through (thus putting my novel-in-progress and the fate of this column in jeopardy for a few days). Unfortunately TFIOS is not remotely science fiction or fantasy, and as I’ve already slipped a biography in here at the end, I won’t expound on it at the moment. Suffice it to say that I do not recommend it if you are not already a John Green fan (start with Looking for Alaska). I also suggest that you have some seriously adventurous Max Mayhem-style mass market fiction on hand to dive straight into when you finish drying your tears. (Read more)

 

Title: Happy Accidents
Author: Jane Lynch
EAN: 9781401341763

I had no idea what to expect of Jane Lynch’s memoir when it showed up, but I liked the title: Happy Accidents. I didn’t understand the fascination with Sue Sylvester until I became a fan of Glee, but I had been a fan of Jane Lynch in general, from her work in Christopher Guest’s projects Best in Show and A Mighty Wind to her surprise (for me, anyway) cameo appearance as Meryl Streep’s sister in Julie & Julia. I cracked the spine of Happy Accidents mostly wondering whether the tone would be more “Sue Sylvester” or “Dry Biography Written by Someone Else.”  To my surprise, Happy Accidents was neither. (Read more)

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I’ll post the March reviews tomorrow. xox

 

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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

New reviews up at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show!

Title: Extraordinary: The True Story of My Fairy Godparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess
Author: Adam Selzer
EAN: 9780385736497

“Do you believe in fairy tales?” asked the back cover of Extraordinary.

“Why yes, thank you, I do,” I replied to no one in particular.

This book was recommended to me by fabulous book blogger Bonnie Lynn Wagner from A Backwards Story (http://abackwardsstory.blogspot.com). The full title alone had me ordering it in a heartbeat, and when the book finally arrived, I just stared at the cover in shock for a while. If I had encountered this book on a shelf in the bookstore, there’s no way I wouldn’t have picked it up – it’s a perfect “homage” to the movie poster from Disney’s Enchanted. (Read More)

 

Title: Magic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews
EAN: 9780441014897

Like visiting beloved family members, December has always been the time of year when I enjoy re-reading my favorite books. Annual classics have gone from Little Women and Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series to Sharon Shinn’s Jovah’s Angel and Robin McKinley’s Deerskin. This time around, my December re-read was The Hunger Games. And while I was at it, I took a chance on a book series that was unfamiliar to me, but on the re-read list of my good friend Laura. (She swapped me the first two books for Meredith Ann Pierce’s Darkangel Trilogy. How could I say no?) (Read More)

 

Title: Finish This Book
Author: Keri Smith & (your name here)
EAN: 9780399536892

This one’s not a sci-fi or fantasy (unless you want it to be), so I’ll be brief.

A few years ago, Keri Smith took the world by storm with a little title called Wreck This Book. It was a fabulous and wonderful thing that encouraged both creativity and willful destruction of one’s own property.

Smith’s sophomore effort, Finish This Book, unfortunately doesn’t even come close to the phenomenon of Wreck This Book. Finish starts out with the story of Smith having found a loose manuscript in the wild, pages everywhere, and you are going to help her put it back together and finish it. (Read More)

 

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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

Also on my to-do list: New Princess Alethea reviews are up over at IGMS! (It *says* October, but they really mean November.)

 

Title: The False Princess
Author: Eilis O’Neal
EAN: 9781606840795

As a Princess, I am always drawn to books with the word “Princess” in the title. I’m usually disappointed when I read the jacket copy. I was not disappointed, however, upon discovering Eilis O’Neal’s The False Princess, and I snapped it right off the shelf.

The book begins with our heroine, Nalia, princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor. But within the first fifteen pages, we discover (as does Nalia) that she is not the royal princess at all. Sixteen years ago, an oracle told the royal couple that there would be an assassination attempt on the princess before her sixteenth birthday. In response, they had baby Nalia spirited away and replaced with a common girl. That girl was Sinda Azaway. And now that she has turned sixteen, it is time to remove the glamour, reveal her true origins, and send her packing so that the real Nalia might be welcomed home… (Read More)

 

Title: The Grimm Legacy
Author: Polly Shulman
EAN: 9780142419045

How fabulous is this premise: You’re hand-selected by your favorite high school teacher and given a personal recommendation for an internship at a very special lending library — a library with a large collection of magical objects from all of Grimm’s fairy tales. But there’s a rumor of a monster attacking people in the hallways, and magical items keep disappearing. So do pages. Awesome, right?

Elizabeth is recommended by a professor to start working at the New York Circulating Material Repository, the keeper of the Grimm Collection. Working alongside her is the beautiful Anjali and handsome basketball star Marc, on whom she’s had a crush most of her high school career. Friendships intertwine with the adventure here, inside a fairly predictable plot… (Read More)

 

 

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What’s the Password?

The password for the deleted scene of “Counterclockwise” is what the people from Nodnol (Tertiary Kingdom) are commonly called.

You can read “Counterclockwise” over at IGMS.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!!

xox

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Protected: “Counterclockwise” Deleted Scene

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

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The Origin of “Counterclockwise”

Okay, People. Here’s how it’s going to go down:

First, you’re going to pop over to SideShow Freaks and read my essay about the idea behind my timetwistedsteampunklovestory “Counterclockwise.”

Then, if you haven’t already, you’re going to want to read “Counterclockwise” over at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

When you’re all done with that, you’re going to come back here and realize that I have posted–as a special bonus for Guy Fawkes Day–a secret deleted scene/alternate ending for “Counterclockwise.”

One minute after that, I’ll post what the password to access that scene is. (Of course I’m going to password-protect it — the scene’s not going to mean anything to anyone who hasn’t read the story, and I don’t want to be a big Spoilery Princess.)

This is all very particular, and super-kind-of-special because today is GUY FAWKES DAY, and Mr. Fawkes is sort of pivotal in the creation of my slippery-twisty-timey-wimey-backwards-and-forwards universe. Trust me–if you do this all today, you will be very glad you did. There’s just this whole other layer of awesome. But if you can’t make it today, that’s okay…I promise I won’t blow up Parliament. Much.

Happy bonfire night, everyone!

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“Counterclockwise” Now Up at IGMS!

My alternate-reality-time-travel-romance “Counterclockwise” is now live over at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show — just in time for Guy Fawkes Day!

I’m also honored to be in the sixth anniversary issue. Happy anniversary, IGMS!

Yes, I know it’s only an excerpt — just splurge for the subscription, folks. This is a really great magazine. I promise you, it’s worth it. And what an awesome illustration I got from the fabulous Kevin Wasden, right? What’s even more clever is how it changes throughout the story. (Which you can only see if you buy a subscription!)

I wrote my “origin” story and sent it in today — it will be posted over at SideShow Freaks in the very near future.I mean near like…before or on Guy Fawkes Day.

And because Guy Fawkes Day plays such a huge part in this story, I will be posting (password-protected for those who don’t like spoilers) a deleted scene from the original ending of the story ON GUY FAWKES DAY.

[The password: What the denizens of Nodnol in the Tertiary Universe are called.]

If you liked the movie “Somewhere in Time,” you’ll like this story. If you read it, I’d love to hear what you think! Email me: akontis at gmail dot com! xox

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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

New reviews are up at Intergalactic Medicine Show! (Actually, they’ve been up for a while, but every time I’ve tried to post about it, my site has been down. We’ve moved to a new server now, so all should be well.)

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
EAN: 9780312650087

When a publisher puts a Publisher’s Weekly quote like “For fans of The Hunger Games” on a book, those are some pretty big shoes to fill. I loved The Hunger Games and recommend it often, so my bar was set pretty high. Fortunately, this quote turns out to be quite true. It’s a dark, postapocalyptic story told from the first-person point of view of a fifteen year old girl. Enclave is also blessedly written in past tense, as opposed to the sometimes-awkward present tense that threw me out of The Hunger Games from time to time (thank you, Ann Aguirre). Read more…

 

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier (translated from the German by Anthea Bell)
EAN: 9780805092523

Just as Grimm’s Fairy Tales hailed from Germany, so too did Kerstin Gier’s steampunkish time-travel fantasy Ruby Red, and with much the same beauty of style. I fell in instant love with every piece of this book: the gorgeous cover, the prologue (which I admit I went back and reread more than once during the course of the novel), the snippets taken from diaries and chronicles and the secret writings of Count Saint Germaine (which I flipped back to often as well – perhaps there should have been an appendix). I fell in love with sixteen-year-old Gwyneth Montrose, and the private school she attends in London, and her best friend Lesley, and James – the ghost she can see and talk to there. Read more…

 

Title: Touched By an Alien
Author: Gini Koch
EAN: 9780756406004

I’m always on the lookout for great new science fiction. It’s a tougher thing for me to find than one might think. I’m on a lot of review lists and I receive books all the time, but if it’s science fiction then it usually turns out to be either 1) hardcore military SF or 2) book 3 of 5 in a series. (Or Steampunk, which I still hesitate to call SF instead of Fantasy. Your thoughts?)

Now, I have no qualms about reading book 3 of 5 normally, but if that’s all my column turns into, you guys will get seriously turned off. And while I am anxiously awaiting Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops, most space marine stories typically make my eyes glaze over. So I took a trip to the bookstore and scanned the shelves, desperate for a title to jump out at me. Know what I found? Space marines. Book 3 of 5. Steampunk. And stuff I’d already read.

Just when I’d almost given up, my finger stopped on the spine of this book: Touched by an Alien. I laughed at the title and then the cover, which features a smoochy couple with guns surrounded by flying monsters and fighter jets and chaos. PERFECT. Read more…

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Still Not An Award-Winning Author

But I still get to be part of this anthology! It includes the top four Intergalactic Medicine Show readers’ choice stories, some more award winners, and other favorites. I’m a favorite! And in seriously good company. AND I’M ON THE COVER.

Table of Contents:

“Trinity County, CA” by Peter S. Beagle
First appeared in IGMS issue #18

“Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain” by Von Carr
First appeared in IGMS issue #17

“The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived” by Keffy R. M. Kehrli
First appeared in IGMS issue #19

“The American” by Bruce Worden
First appeared in IGMS issue #20

“Silent as Dust” by James Maxey
First appeared in IGMS issue #7

“Horus Ascending” by Aliette deBodard
First appeared in IGMS issue #8

“End-of-the-World Pool” by Scott Roberts
First appeared in IGMS issue #12

“A Heretic by Degrees” – by Marie Brennan
First appeared in IGMS issue #10

“The Never Never Wizard of Apalachicola” by Jason Sanford
First appeared in IGMS issue #20

“Beautiful Winter” by Eugie Foster
First appeared in IGMS issue #13

“Blood & Water” – by Alethea Kontis
First appeared in IGMS issue #9

“Mean-Spirited” – by Edmund R. Schubert
First appeared in IGMS issue #16

“Robot Sorcerer” – by Eric James Stone
First appeared in IGMS issue #10

“Aim For The Stars” – by Tom Pendergrass
First appeared in IGMS issue #15

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[Update: You can preorder the anthology here from Spotlight publishing — it will ship mid-December.]

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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

My new Intergalactic Medicine Show reviews are up!

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
EAN: 1594744769

“I slammed out of the Priest Hole and started walking, heading nowhere in particular. Sometimes you just need to go through a door.” -Jacob Portman

I almost feel bad writing a review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, because part of the mystique is coming across the cover of this book, with its vintage black and white picture of a solemn young girl wearing a tiara and levitating about six inches off the ground. Such photographs are integral to the telling of this story, as they are both what inspired author Ransom Riggs to tell this tale, and sixteen year old Jacob Portman to go chasing his destiny. (Read more)

 

Title: There Is No Wheel
Author: James Maxey
(e-book)

James Maxey is one of those writers that is so good at what he does, it actually makes me mad. I shouldn’t like his characters. They are sometimes reprehensible, creepy, horrible, or all three . . . and yet, like a train wreck, I can’t look away. I am so fascinated by their idiosyncrasies that I have to find out where they might go, what they might do, and the depths to which they might sink. James is one of those writers who can sum a person up in a few sentences and be dead on accurate. His words cut to the bone and leave his characters bare, body and soul. (Read more)

 

Title: Cowboys and Aliens
Author: Joan D. Vinge
EAN: 0765368269

Readers tend to fall into two camps: those who prefer reading the book before they see a film, and those who prefer to read the book after. I fall into the latter category (unless it’s completely unavoidable, like Harry Potter). I’m not one for sweeping generalizations, but I feel safe saying that 100% of the time, the book contains more information than the movie. (Read more)

 

 

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