Posted in Adult, eBooks & eAudio, Fantasy, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult

6 Black Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors to Read this Summer

Sick of spaceships? Toured pseudo-medieval Europe too often? Try these 6 science fiction & fantasy stories from black authors. You’ll find yourself anywhere from a magical version of modern Nigeria to a post-apocalyptic Brazil. With expansive worlds and fresh perspectives, these books can freshen up any sci-fi or fantasy reader’s bookshelf.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

If N.K. Jemisin’s deluge of accolades and unprecedented three consecutive Hugos aren’t enough to persuade you to pick up The Fifth Season, perhaps a violent world of regular nigh-apocalyptic cataclysms and a earth-shattering mage on a far-ranging quest of vengeance to save her kidnapped daughter will entice you.

Continue reading “6 Black Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors to Read this Summer”
Posted in Adult, eBooks & eAudio, Fantasy, Games, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Horror

Insert Coin to Continue

The last few weeks have been good for gaming, but even I can get burned out after a few days. Sometimes, you get caught up in the story or world you were playing in, though. This week I found a few books that are set in some favorite videogame worlds.

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The Infernal City (Libby/Monarch)

This novel is set after the Oblivion Crisis. Though I feel like to fully enjoy it, you need to have played The Elder Scrolls III, or at least The Elder Scrolls Online. The novel visits places in Morrowind like Vivec City and mentions the fall of the Ministry of Truth. That may not be as much of an issue for other people as it would be for me, though.

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Posted in Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Teen & Young Adult

Social Distancing with a Book Club

“Social Distancing” is an ubiquitous term these days with the spread of COVID-19, coronavirus, because it affects all of us. In simple terms, it means that we should avoid physical contact and close proximity to each other.

Book clubs are gatherings of readers sharing in discussion, and in the case of the Book to Art Club, sharing art supplies. Due to the spread of coronavirus many of us are cancelling in-person meetings for the foreseeable future. This is disappointing to do, but it helps protect you and your club members from getting sick, and that is extremely important. However, cancelling isn’t your only option. Clubs can meet virtually via video chat, like Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, or Microsoft Teams, just to name a few, or through a conference telephone call.

The Mead Library Romance on the Rocks book club met this week over Skype, and it worked well. It was new for many of us, so we struggled slightly with connecting to the group, versus everyone connecting individually with me because they connected through my Skype invitation, but that was easy to fix.

What you need to make this work is to create a group in Skype for your book club. Next, invite your members by email through the group to join. You can also add members to the group manually after they’ve created a Skype account. Then, all you and your participants need to do is click on the camera or phone icon at your designated meeting time. Skype allows participants to connect by video or phone, and covering your camera is always an option, for those who want to join the discussion but not be on camera.

The Moonlight & Murder book club will meet on Skype in April to discuss Alexander McCall Smith’s The Department of Sensitive Crimes, and the Book to Art Club will meet on Skype in April and May. These discussions are open to teens and adults.

The Book to Art Club discusses books while making hands-on projects, so to keep the making element, I have asked participants to work on a project at home during the discussion, and I hope to share pictures of the projects in our group Facebook album. April’s Book to Art Club read will be Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, which will inspire steampunk projects related to a girls’ dirigible finishing and assassin school, and May’s discussion will be Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, a Harry Potter-like fantasy featuring a curse, a talent competition, umbrella traveling, a giant cat and magical rooms. I’ve included links on the book titles to make it easy to join these discussions, and I hope you will. Digital book copies may be available through digital sources such as Overdrive/Libby and RB Digital.

Posted in Adult, Fantasy, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Horror, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult

I Have Issues

I spend too much time talking about movies and games, so this month I am doing something different. I go through bouts where I get absorbed into comic series. This month I thought I would share some of my favorites. The items in this blog post will take you to the first volume of the series in Mead’s collection.

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The Black Monday Murders

The Black Monday Murders is a blend of noir mystery and occult horror. The gist of the series’ story is that bankers are being murdered in horrific, cult-like ways. As Detective Dumas follows the clues, he discovers that there is a world of magic schools hidden behind international banking. The premise tickles my fancy, but what has stuck with me is the use of color and shadow. The art is surreal at times, but somehow the color and shadow ground it. I feel like this one, in particular, is the hidden-ish gem of this blog post, but I have to do my due diligence to mention this series is on hiatus. The artist and co-creator, Tomm Coker, had to step away due to some health concerns, so this series currently stops after volume two.

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Posted in Fantasy, Games, Horror, Science Fiction, Top 5

Looking Back at the 2010s

An era has come to an end. Goodbye, 2010s. Hello, 2020. I figured for this month’s blog post that I’d look back and share some of my favorite games of the decade.

Minecraft (PS4/Xbox One)

As a freshman in college, I had been reading about this new game that people were amazed by. You could build anything you could imagine they said! There was just one catch. Everything was made of cubes. I decided I would look into this Minecraft. It was the first game I ever bought that was in an incomplete state. When I bought it, there was only the one mode that would later be called Creative Mode. I didn’t play it too much in that state. Eventually, I would play the new Hardcore Mode, usually dying from falling into lava, and then for a bit on private servers.

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Posted in Contemporary, Fantasy, Film, Horror

The Weather Outside is Frightful

I love Christmas, but usually, by this time of the year, I’m done with all the cute and cuddly stuff. Or at least that’s my excuse for why most of my favorite Christmas movies are spooky. If you’re looking for a festive movie that’s lower in sugary sweetness, give these a shot.

Krampus

From the opening montage alone, Krampus won my heart. Seeing people deck each over a toy during Black Friday sets the tone of Krampus. This is a movie that borrows the moralistic slasher rules of older horror movies, like Friday the 13th, and applies that framework to Christmas. Being greedy and only wanting presents? Watch out for Krampus. Bullying your cousin? Watch out for Krampus. It’s refreshing to have a Christmas movie that brings up that the holiday isn’t very jolly anymore and gives us a better reason than coal to be good.

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Posted in Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Kids 5-12, Science Fiction, Uncategorized

Graphic Novels for Kids Part 2

Last month, I gave recommendations of graphic novels for early readers. This month, I have graphic novel recommendations with more complex storylines that are best suited for kids ages 8-12 years old. Though they are certainly not limited to these ages – teens and adults may enjoy them too! Fluency and reading stamina are more established for this age group. While these readers may be at a higher reading level, some may still be reluctant to read traditional chapter books – or they may simply enjoy the visual appeal of graphic novels. In either case, graphic novels are a great option! The full-length stories in the following graphic novels are longer and have more challenging vocabulary, but still have sequenced pictures paired with the text to allow readers to easily follow the plot of the story.

5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel

This fast paced and engaging sci-fi/fantasy story, with beautiful illustrations is the first book in the series. War erupts and Oona Lee – a clumsy sand dancer, with the aid of an athlete, and a boy from the slums team up on a quest to save their world. Oona learns a lot about herself during their quest and gains control over her powers, leading to victory…for now.

Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is the first book in the science fiction Hilo series. DJ comes from a family of high-achievers, while he feels like he isn’t good at anything. His life changes when he meets Hilo, the loveable robot from an unknown origin, who falls to Earth. DJ and his friend Gina must help Hilo figure out his identity and save the world in this funny and action-packed story.

Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

The Stonekeeper is the first book in the sci-fi/fantasy Amulet series. This story is a bit dark and intense at times, but exciting and fast-paced. Emily and Navin lose their father in a tragic accident, and then a while later they move with their mother to their great-grandfather’s abandoned house for a fresh start. Things take a strange turn pretty quickly when their mother disappears. The children track her down in an underground world full of strange creatures. An epic adventure ensues as they bravely battle to rescue their mother.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson

Phoebe releases the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, from a magic spell and is granted one wish. She wishes to become best friends! Readers will enjoy this witty story of the friendship between an awkward girl and an arrogant unicorn. This book has simple but expressive illustrations and is the first book in this lighthearted series.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole, until Astrid decides to sign up for roller derby camp and Nicole signs up for dance camp instead. Astrid has to learn how to be strong on her own, and push through insecurities and self-doubt. This is a great story about perseverance, changing friendships, and becoming your own person at a vulnerable point in life.

Continue reading “Graphic Novels for Kids Part 2”
Posted in Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen & Young Adult

8 New Twists on Fairytales and Myths

There were two sisters, one dark and one fair. There is a beast in the woods. There is a witch in the deepest part of the forest, or the ocean, or high in the mountains. Seven brothers have been turned to swans. Fairytale tropes are timeless and authors love to subvert and play with new versions. Here a handful of the best modern retellings and adaptations.

The Mythic Dream edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

Editors Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe have a remarkable knack for collecting luminous fantasy short stories by some of today’s top authors, including the reigning queen of fairytale retellings, Naomi Novik. With a lineup that includes Rebecca Roanhorse, sci-fi powerhouse Ann Leckie, and Seanan McGuire, these stories should offer a sneak peek into what fantasy will look like for upcoming years.

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Posted in Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, New & Upcoming, Nonfiction, Romance, Science

8 Books to Watch For This Fall

Big names are dominating the fall book press: Margaret Atwood, Bill Bryson, Jon Krakauer and Stephen King are all releasing new titles this season. Here’s what to watch for (and reserve early).

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Over 30 years after the initial release of Atwood’s celebrated dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, she returns to the Republic of Gilead. Set 15 years after the van doors shut behind Offred, the sequel offers the “testaments” of three more women from Gilead.

Release date: September 10

Continue reading “8 Books to Watch For This Fall”