Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bloggiesta Day 2

Even though it's day 2 of Bloggiesta, I didn't get anything done yesterday, since my internet was sulking in its room. But it's fixed now! Yay!

Of course, then today I had to go grocery shopping and finish a book that was about to be overdue, so I still wasn't all that productive. I have been working on a new header – the purple and brown color scheme is starting to look a little dull – but I'm not quite satisfied yet. I'd appreciate any suggestions! I'm using Picnik, and have absolutely zero Photoshop expertise (and also zero Photoshop) so just keep that in mind.

And version 2. I still think there's too much white (blue) space, but it's an improvement.

And the quotes version. I might be leaning towards this one.


Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi
Melina Marchetta
Published 1999 (1992) by Orchard Books (Hachette)
YA contemporary

This heartwarming tale of family and self features Josephine Alibrandi, an Italian-Australian student in her final year at a strict Catholic high school. Because of the circumstances of her birth, she and her mother are frequently the topic of disapproving discussion among the Italian community, and though Josie knows who her father is, she has no desire to meet him. But when he moves back home, she doesn't have much of a choice. Not that she'll go down without a fight, of course. But as she gets to know her father, as well as to see another side of her mother, Josie learns more about her family and her own life.

YA authors take note: this is what real teenage melodrama looks like. Josie is loud and dramatic, but it's charming rather than annoying. Because Marchetta is such a great writer, I found it easy to relate to Josie's problems and sympathized with her when she got angsty about them. More of her problems were related to family than boys, which was refreshingly normal.

There were definitely some emotional moments in this book. Marchetta does a great job with these scenes, making them seem real and touching. Basically, this book, like Marchetta's other works, seems very true, with realistic characters and situations. If you haven't read any of her books yet, you really should!

Quality: Good
Enjoyability: Excellent

In the same aisle
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stars of Angels and Demons

The "Stars of..." series is a feature I'm doing here at Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy to highlight the best books in different areas of the fantasy genre. Say you want a book about shapeshifters or wizards or mythology, or maybe you want to read some political or heroic fantasy. Stop by here every Thursday, and I'll have recommendations for you! Click on the book covers for links to the first book in the series and on the series name for a list of the books in it on Goodreads.

If you think there's something I missed in this category, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments! I haven't read everything out there, obviously, and I'd love some recommendations myself.

Series are alphabetical by author.

Stars of Angels and Demons
This is going to be the last "Stars" post, at least until I read some more books in other categories. I feel like I should be singing REM right now, with all these Apocalypses and all. Not that all of them are about the end of the world, but they do all feature angels and/or demons (though not necessarily the kind you find in the Bible), so it works.

I'm kind of sad that there aren't more YA books on here. I've read a bunch, but only two were decent enough to be on the list, and even those weren't my favorites. The adult books, however, are all excellent!


Kelley Armstrong
Women of the Otherworld
12 books, ongoing

WotO features many different supernatural creatures, including half-demons, demons, and even an angel or two. The variety makes the books interesting even when many series run out of steam, and the world is fun and interesting. Kelley Armstrong is a captivating writer, and I definitely recommend this series as well as the YA spinoffs.

Kim Harrison
10 books, ongoing

A witch, a vampire, and a pixy walk into a church.* Sound like the opening line of a joke? Nope, that's just Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks getting home from work. When the three of them left the supernatural law enforcement force, Inderlander Security, they didn't expect it to be quite so exciting, but that's what happens when you're walking around with a death threat on you. Rachel is constantly having to extricate herself from dangerous situations and thrives in it, even when she discovers things about herself she really didn't want to know.

*Technically, the pixy flies, but that's neither here nor there.

Richard Kadrey
Sandman Slim
3 books, ongoing

After spending years in Hell, Stark returns for vengeance on the people who murdered his girlfriend. Dark, destructive, and funny, this series is definitely going places, and it's well worth a read if you're interested in a break from the lighter stuff. There's lots of grand theft auto and murder and general mayhem. What more could a girl want?

Robert Kroese
2 books, ongoing

Mercury Falls is a wonderfully witty, tongue-in-cheek tale of a jaded reporter and a rather abysmal angel preventing the Apocalypse. Somehow this superficially silly story manages to tackle such broad ideas as free will and the meaning of life. The style reminds me a bit of Douglas Adams, but while Adams's wild tangents occasionally irritated me, Kroese's writing keeps to the point while still being hilariously absurd.

Richelle Mead
Georgina Kincaid
6 books, concluded

Richelle Mead is as funny and captivating as always in this series starring succubus Georgina Kincaid. Ever since she sold her soul to an imp, Georgina's been working for Hell. In 21st-century Seattle, she also works in a bookstore, where she meets author Seth Mortensen and is immediately intrigued. Unfortunately for her, it's not that easy for a succubus to find love. There's a surprising amount of action and near death for a story about a succubus, and quite a few touching moments as well.

Diana Rowland
4 books, ongoing

Kara's your typical small town detective – except instead of going out for a few beers at night, she summons demons from another plane. Her peculiar expertise means she's the only one with any hope of solving certain crimes, only she has to do it without the department finding out about her extra-curricular activities. Kara is very relatable, and the series is full of all kinds of surprises.

Nalini Singh
Guild Hunter
4 books, ongoing

Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series is dark and dangerous, as well as horribly addicting. These aren't the sort of angels who'd be interested in joining any kind of heavenly host – though they'd certainly be up for destroying one. Elena is a hunter, and Raphael is an Archangel. It's definitely an interesting and steamy combination.

Danielle Trussoni
1 book, ongoing

Think The Da Vinci Code meets urban fantasy. Angelology is intelligent with overwhelming you with facts and background. The background is actually very good, using history to explain the nephilim (or possibly vice versa), and Angelology is definitely worth reading.


Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices
4 books and 2 books, ongoing

Shadowhunters keep humans safe from the Downworlders who would hunt them, but not all of them agree on how to accomplish that. With a detailed world and an interesting cast of characters, TMI and ID are definite must-reads for any fan of YA fantasy.

Laini Taylor
1 book, ongoing

A captivating, beautiful world and stunning writing make Daughter of Smoke and Bone one of the better paranormal romances out there. Though the second half was slightly disappointing, the characters shine and Karou's friends are simply magical.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any other suggestions? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Check out previous "Stars of" posts:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moonstone by Marilee Brothers

Marilee Brothers
Unbidden Magic #1
Published 2008 by Bell Bridge Books
YA urban fantasy
Review copy from NetGalley

Bite-Sized Review
I'm honestly not sure what to say about Moonstone. It contains many things I don't really like – a prophecy, overly credulous characters, simplistic designations of good and evil – but as much as these things irritated me, I never found myself wanting to put the book down.

King-Sized Review
Moonstone begins the day before Allie's fifteenth birthday, when she first discovers her paranormal abilities. Events progress rather quickly after that: she's visited by a spirit guide, finds out that she's the star of a prophecy, gets a magical moonstone, gets to know a cute boy, and discovers the existence of secret magical organizations. The problem I had with credulity wasn't precisely the events themselves, which were fairly interesting, but with Allie's reaction to them. After about eleven seconds of disbelief, she accepts the existence of her abilities and the prophecy. With tangible evidence of her own power, that part isn't really an issue, particularly for a fifteen year old, but the prophecy is a translation of faded words in a foreign language written by a person who died over a hundred years ago. Not once does anyone say, "Hey, I wonder if this is right?" much less "Why should we believe what this unsubstantiated paper says?" and that really bothered me. Prophecies should only be a plot device if they themselves are a point of contention. They can provoke a fascinating discussion of free will and determinism, but they should never dictate the plot on their own. It wasn't even a very good prophecy.

A second concern was Allie's relationship with her mother, Faye. Faye is a terrible mother. She never did anything that wasn't for her own benefit, and yet Allie regarded her with more affection and understanding than most teenagers have for the best of parents. She demonstrated astonishingly little resentment for her mother's ridiculous antics (pretending she had fibromyalgia to try to get disability money from the government, inviting her sleazy lawyer over, completely neglecting Allie so that her disease would be believed). Allie seemed far more like the parent than her mother, which can certainly work, but not like this. She's a teenage girl, not a saint, and there really should have been a lot more resentment and argument between them.

Finally, the entire conflict rubbed me the wrong way. There's a certain amount of motivational background that has to be present in a story for it to be believable and enjoyable, and that backstory wasn't there in Moonstone. The two (that's it?) sides were honestly just boring. There was a good side and an evil side, all based on some sort of palmistry, and that is basically all the background in this book. That's the kind of lack of support that really bothers me – couldn't there be some explanation of why these groups hated each other? It's much more interesting to see how good people do terrible things for the best of reasons, or bad people turn out to be better than expected. Simple genetics? Meh. Of course it's always possibly this part of the story will develop more in the rest of the series. I'm sure there will at least be more background. But for now, I'm quite dissatisfied.

All that aside, I did mostly enjoy the book and I plan to try the next one soon, though not immediately. This is definitely a lighter and younger read, but if you keep that in mind it could be a decent way to spend an afternoon.

Quality: Poor
Enjoyability: Acceptable

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


So after much consideration, I decided to sign up for Bloggiesta this weekend. I have some improvements I want to make (especially since Picnik is going away soon – sad), so I figured I'd spend some time hanging out with and getting advice from other bloggers while I do.

Signups are still open here if you want to join in!

These are some of the things I want to get done:
-Spiff up the banner/button
-Update my review/feature pages
-Make buttons for new features that I want to start
-Figure out how to do those drop down pages
-Catch up on a few reviews
-Whatever other stuff I come up with

Top Ten Books I'd Play Hooky With

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted weekly by the lovely ladies at The Broke and The Bookish.

For the sake of not boring you all with the same ten books I always post, I arbitrarily decided that "books I'd play hooky with" means light, spring/summery reads that you could take to the park and read in an afternoon. Of course, it turns out that none of my books are exactly what most people think of as "beach reads" (I know, you're shocked, right?) so some of them may be kind

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help
Douglas Anthony Cooper

For the crime of talking to people who aren't really there (otherwise known as ghosts) Milrose Munce is sentenced to Professional Help. With the help of fellow Professional Helpee Arabella, he must find a way to escape before he can be Cured. This book is hilariously absurd and lots of fun to read. There are grotesque ghosts and explosions and other fun things, so you should definitely check it out.

Rachel Hawkins

Another light(er) book, Hex Hall is funny, sweet, and cute. When Sophie uses her witch abilities in public one too many times, with disastrous results, her father sends her to Hecate Hall, a sort of school for supernatural delinquents. Though she's supposed to be safer there, it turns out there's even more danger at Hex Hall than there was in the normal world.

Kevin Hearne

Atticus O'Sullivan, snarky Druid extraordinaire, stars in this urban fantasy about the Celtic pantheon. It's always interesting to see different myths crop up in UF books, and Kevin Hearne does a great job incorporating Irish mythology as well as more well-known legends like vampires, werewolves, witches, and all sorts of gods and goddesses.

Darynda Jones

Not a page of this book goes by without Charley Davidson saying something Impressively Witty. Yes, it's a little ridiculous, but it's fun, which is the point of this list. Charley can see and interact with the dead, an ability she's used to help her father and uncle, both detectives, and to start her own private eye business. But it turns out there's a lot more to her ability than she ever imagined possible.

Sandman Slim
Richard Kadrey

Have you noticed that my idea of "light" frequently involves lots of explosions? This is like the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the ice cream of the "explosions" pile. There's lots of death and destruction, but it's fun death and destruction. Sort of. Okay not really. Stark returned from Hell intending to wreak vengeance on the people who killed his girlfriend. Fine, I have no idea why I put it one here, except that it reads like a really exciting action movie. That's fun and light, right?

Robert Kroese

I think I've read this book about six times and it's been hilarious every single one. If Douglas Adams wrote a book about the Apocalypse, it would look like this, but not as good. Plus, you should definitely read it this year, before the world ends in December. It's double theme appropriate!

Robin McKinley

I absolutely did not put this on here just because I want to include it on every list I ever write. Nope. I'm totally impartial. But it does have a heroine whose magic is tied to sunlight, and part of it takes place in the summer! You can just ignore all the blood and gore and death and those kinds of things. It's called Sunshine, therefore it is appropriate. QED.

Rick Riordan

Look, I found some books that actually are light! It's just a coincidence that they're at the end of the list. And there are still definitely people trying to kill other people in them. But they fit my definition of light, which is pretty much that they make you laugh while trying to kill your favorite characters. Anyway.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is an absolutely wonderful series. It contains actually accurate Greek myths (I'm looking at you, The Goddess Test), lovable characters, and a truly great story. Percy's narration is a lot of fun to read, and these books are easy to get through. Great for a warm afternoon!

Scott Westerfeld

Why is it that a girl pretending to be a boy is always such a fun story? Leviathan has not only that, but cool steampunk/...bioengineering steampunk? I have no idea what to call the Darwinist creations. Terminology aside, Leviathan is great for it's setting, characters, and story.

Patricia C. Wrede

This was easily one of my favorite books growing up, and it cemented my love of dragons forever. Princess Cimorene doesn't particularly enjoy being a princess, and has no desire to get married. So she runs off and becomes a dragon's princess, leading to some excellent scrapes and situations.

So that's it for this week! What did you pick for this topic? Leave your links in the comments!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Jill Hathaway
Slide #1
Published March 27, 2012 by Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
YA paranormal mystery

Bite-Sized Review
Slide was an excellent debut novel: it had suspense, drama, mystery, and humor, and I really cared about the characters. I definitely recommend this one to anyone who thinks it sounds even vaguely interesting.

King-Sized Review
Sylvia Bell has a unique ability. If she’s touching something with emotional value when she falls asleep, she slides into the body of whoever values the object. Vee regards this ability mainly as a curse until she finds herself in the body of a killer. With no way to explain and everyone else believing Sophie committed suicide, it’s up to Vee to investigate.

Having to be a mother for her younger sister after their own mom died made Vee more mature than most YA heroines, which was a refreshing change. Vee’s obvious affection and concern for Mattie was very well done, as was the occasional flare-up of resentment for her father for not always being there for his daughters. Vee was more than a girl with a strange superpower; she was a well-rounded character with a story that existed before and after the pages of this book.

The murder mystery aspect of the book was also excellent. I never guessed who the murderer was, though I did suspect numerous other people throughout the course of the book. Discoveries I thought were unconnected to the main plotline turned out to be bound together, which really makes me want to re-read Slide at some point to see how everything fits when I know who the culprit is.

The only issue I had with the book – and it was a minor one ­– was that occasionally the way the breaks in the story were written made it difficult to tell how much time had passed. The story would stop in the morning, and in the next section it would be the following morning, with no indication of how the intervening time was spent. However, it didn’t really detract from the story except for those few moments, and it wasn’t too complicated to pick up what was going on after a few sentences.

Overall, Slide was a great book, and I hope to see more from Jill Hathaway in the future.

Quality: Good
Enjoyability: Excellent

In the same aisle
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why Grammar Matters

Use proper grammar you must.
Its really good to see people use the right grammar when their writing expecially about books. Good grammer is really important, when your trying to be taken seriously. I think everyone should definately try, to check they're grammar alot everyday, when there writing for other readers and I. I cant bare it when everyone uses bad grammar

If the previous paragraph made your eyes bleed sixteen* times, congratulations! You already have grammar skills and do not need to read this post; however, you should anyway because it's awesome and has pictures. I promise that (almost) everything after this will be grammatically correct and apologize profusely for the blood leaking from your orbits. Sadly, I cannot be held liable for any damage to your physical or emotional well-being resulting from my intentionally atrocious writing. I'm quite certain of this because I consulted the lawyer I keep in my closet for emergencies like this one.

I'm guessing that the vast majority of people reading this post are book bloggers or readers. (And by vast majority I mean 10.99 of the eleven people who will actually read the entire thing. If you are the remaining 0.01 people, leave a comment! I want to know how one-one hundredth of a person reads. Do you have eyes?) Although everyone should be able to write in reasonably correct sentences most of the time, it's particularly important for book bloggers because you are talking about books. You would not trust a plumber whose pipes leaked. (I mean that in a completely literal sense. Don't give me that look.) Why would you trust a book blogger with poor writing skills? It demonstrates a lack of either knowledge or concern, neither of which bode well for the reliability of reviews.

If you're a writer who is or wants to be published, grammar is even more important. If the grammatical errors in your blog posts, tweets, and Goodreads comments are frequent and/or egregious, I'm not likely to read your book. Writing well in public fora, however, will reflect much better on your published works. I still may not read your book, but at least it will be because I don't think I'll like it rather than because assault charges will not advance my career (or so my lawyer keeps reminding me. He says the same thing, rather pointedly, about kidnapping, but I'm pretty sure he's joking).

Sometimes misuse of words can actually obscure what you're trying to say. For example, let's look at one of the most frequently misused words in the English language, nonplussed. Nonplussed really means "so surprised and confused that one is unsure how to react" [OED], but unfortunately, it's often used to mean the opposite, so much so that it's becoming accepted practice. Because of this confusion, sometimes it's not clear whether the writer wants the word to mean "aghast" or "unperturbed," which bothers me almost as much as the fact that so many people are using it wrong in the first place. Correct grammar and usage not only make your writing easier to read but also add clarity and certainty to your words.

Of course, I don't mean that you can't make mistakes. Just yesterday I noticed that I used "it's" instead of "its" in a recent review, causing a single tear to trail artfully down my cheek because I'm classy like that. Everyone makes mistakes occasionally, and that's completely understandable. The grammar police will not break down your door for a few mistakes. Unless you live in North Korea. The lawyer in my closet told me I couldn't make any promises about the grammar police in North Korea.

It's also perfectly acceptable to misuse grammar deliberately. (Look, I just excused my original heinous grammatical errors! Win.) Sometimes you want to make a point or be funny, and the best way to do it is with the grammatical skill of a drunken six-year-old. (My closeted lawyer says that I have to point out that six year olds should not be given liquor. I think that should be obvious, but he's the lawyer. He also says that he needs a drink, but I chose to ignore that because I only have one beer left, and it's mine.) For an example that wasn't written for this post, here is my Facebook status from the day I graduated from college:

I done got me a diploma so I kin shows other folks how good I'm edumacated.

See, it's funny because I had just graduated after four years of expensive schooling, and...never mind. The point is, it would have been boring had I just said "I graduated!" Fine, but boring. And I was a little freaked out, so I felt the need to joke about it.

I'm not going to tell you what proper grammar is because I can't think of a way to make that entertaining. Fortunately The Oatmeal has already done several amusing posts about it, and Hyperbole and a Half also has this hilarious post about surviving bad grammar on the internet. They are very funny, and you should proceed to read the rest of their posts if you haven't already.

I will freely admit to being an outlier on the grammar issue. I was one of those strange children who enjoyed diagramming sentences in middle school. I went through an extra book of diagramming exercises because I thought it was fun. Sometimes I still do it in my head to figure out whether or not what I want to say is correct. Despite that, there are a few grammar rules even I don't care about. The one that I can think of off the top of my head is not ending a sentences in a preposition (see the previous sentence, which was, believe it or not, entirely coincidental), but I'm sure there are others. If the grammatically correct way sounds really awkward, I don't think we need it. But otherwise, mistakes like "for you and I," "the narrator's thoughts effected my perception of events," or "a large number of books were read" feel like nails on chalkboard in my head. Nails on chalkboard in your head are much more problematic than they are in real life; you can't just cover your ears. I want to avoid the nails-on-chalkboard feeling in my head.

On the bright side, grammatical errors do provide virtually inexhaustible quantities of entertainment.
I should also mention that this post is not directed at anyone or any group of people in particular. If anything, avid readers do have better-than-average grammar. It's more the frequent occurrence of certain errors all over the internet that prompted this post. If you disagree with me, feel free to castigate me in the comments, or alternatively, point out any errors in my post in as scathing a manner as possible. Of course, if you are also a grammar freak, I would appreciate your comments as well. We could start a grammar freak support group.

*I'm almost positive that sixteen is the number of errors the italicized paragraph contains. I'm good at grammar but bad at counting. Numbers are hard.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In My Mailbox #8

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, and it's an opportunity to show off all the books we've gotten!

This time I managed not to go crazy at the library, so I for once I don't have eight library books to list. But I do have a few fun things!

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (review)
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Even though I am supposed to be on a book buying ban, when I found out that Rachel Hawkins was going to be doing the release party for Spell Bound right near me, I had to buy a copy. I had a great time and really enjoyed the book! And The Giver was 25 cents on a Kindle daily deal – that barely even counts as a purchase!

From the library
I never said I didn't go to the library, just that I didn't go crazy! Look, I managed to walk out with only two books for an entire two week period! That's practically a miracle.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Death of King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, adapted by Peter Ackroyd

From NetGalley
Railsea by China Miéville
Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

My amazing friend Maria was generous enough to send me this book because she loved it so much. As you can see from the monster bookmark, I'm reading it now and so far I'm really enjoying it. Thank you so much, Maria!

And finally, it's not a book, but I did see The Hunger Games yesterday. I was really pleased; I thought they did a great job overall and the emotional scenes in particular were really good. Have you seen it? What did you think?

Leave your IMM links in the comments and I'll definitely stop by!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Andrea Cremer
Nightshade #3
Published January 3, 2012 by Philomel (Penguin)
YA paranormal romance

Bite-Sized Review
If you prefer romance to action and don't mind angsty teenagers and love triangles, this might be a good book for you. And if you've read the rest of the series, I assume you'll read this one as well, but just note that it doesn't live up to the promise of the first book.

King-Sized Review
**WARNING: This is the third book in a trilogy. This review contains spoilers for the previous books, and discusses in general terms the events of this book.**

Bloodrose sounds like quite the adventure. After meeting Shay, learning that her life was a lie, teaming up with the Searchers she thought were her enemies, watching most of her pack get hurt, and finally rescuing Ren from the Keepers, Calla was ready for this war to be over. But to accomplish that, they needed to find the Elemental Cross that only the Scion could wield to stop the wraiths. And Calla needed to choose between Shay and Ren.

The Nightshade series always had an interesting premise. Lies are a good start. Follow that up with exciting conflict, genuine characters, a little tragedy, and a dash of romance, and you probably have an excellent series.

It's the dash of romance that's a problem.

You see, as it happens, I enjoy baking along with reading. When your recipe calls for a dash of salt, and your final product ends up two-thirds salt, it is not palatable. Or even edible. The same is true for books. If you're writing a book that's supposed to be about truth and doing the right thing, but it's 90 percent melodramatic love triangle, it will not accomplish anything. I was under the clearly mistaken impression that the love story had been resolved when Calla slept with Shay in Wolfsbane, but sadly we had to revisit it ad nauseum in Bloodrose as well. So much of the book was devoted to the love triangle that the actual story, retrieving the swords of the Elemental Cross and using them to defeat the Keepers, was rushed and incomplete.

Not only did the attention to the romance negatively affect the book's pacing, it was also highly detrimental to Calla's credibility and likability as a character. It was obvious who she was going to choose, so dragging it out the way she did just made her seem cruel and manipulative.

Without actually saying anything specific, the ending was a huge cop-out. For one thing, the story itself went something like this: love triangle angst indecision whining EVENT angst love triangle infighting EVENT anticlimactic decision whining arguing angst banter EVENT THE END. It's not a structure that really promotes closure or satisfaction, particularly with the obviously contrived way everything worked out. It was neither logical nor believable, and while the last few chapters, in spite of their absurdity, actually did make the ending seem less easy, even then the characters never really seemed to struggle. Because of that, the conclusion had a fake quality that detracted from the book almost as much as Melodramatic Love Triangle did.

Despite all that, I did mostly enjoy reading this book. It was easy to get through once I got into the story, and as I said, the world is quite interesting. Most of the relationships were sweet, if a little too abrupt to be genuine (another disappointment to lay at Love Triangle's door). Nightshade was easily the strongest book in the series, with Wolfsbane and Bloodrose trailing far behind.

Quality: Poor
Enjoyability: Acceptable

In the same aisle
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stars of Dragons

The "Stars of..." series is a feature I'm doing here at Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy to highlight the best books in different areas of the fantasy genre. Say you want a book about shapeshifters or wizards or mythology, or maybe you want to read some political or heroic fantasy. Stop by here every Thursday, and I'll have recommendations for you! Click on the book covers for links to the first book in the series and on the series name for a list of the books in it on Goodreads.

If you think there's something I missed in this category, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments! I haven't read everything out there, obviously, and I'd love some recommendations myself.

Series are alphabetical by author.

Stars of Dragons

I was born in the Year of the Dragon. I'm not sure which came first, learning that or being obsessed with dragons, but I've always loved them and, like Hagrid, have always wanted one. There are many books about dragons out there – I have an entire shelf of them, though those are mostly Anne McCaffrey's Pern books. Since I sort of ran out of epic fantasy sub-genres and dragons bridge all sorts of genre gaps, I decided to make this week about my favorite mythical creatures.

Elizabeth Haydon
6 books, completed

Symphony of Ages stars Rhapsody, a Singer looking to escape her old life. When she falls in with a pair of criminals, she finds that her escape takes her much farther than she ever expected. SoA is a highly engrossing epic fantasy series with some great characters and an interesting world.

Mercedes Lackey
4 books

Raising a baby dragon, you guys! I love baby dragons the best. This lighter epic fantasy has a lot of wonderful friendships and love. And dragons.

Anne McCaffrey
17 books

This was one of my first dragon series, and it's actually scifi! It seems more like fantasy, especially in the first few books, but it's a very interesting take on dragons, and I still want a green of my very own.

Robin McKinley

More baby dragons! This book is much more rambling than action-packed, but I love it anyway, and I love how different and mysterious the dragons are.

Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
3 books

In this series, dragons are (mostly) good and elves are (mostly) evil. Shana, a girl who grew up with dragons, has to find her home, and in the process manages to turn the whole world upside down. This is another one of my comfort series, and I definitely recommend it.
Naomi Novik
6 books, ongoing

The Temeraire books are about the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. They're quite adventurous stories that take you all over the early nineteenth century world, and though they're occasionally a bit slow, they're definitely worth checking out. And they have dragons.

Patricia C. Wrede

4 books, completed

This probably was the first dragon series I read. Cimorene is probably my all-time favorite princess, as she is as un-princess-like as it is possible to be. These books are both fun and brilliant, and I recommend them to all ages.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any other suggestions? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Check out previous "Stars of" posts: