Amaryllis, by Jayne Castle

amaryllisTitle: Amaryllis

Author: Castle, Jayne (Author’s Website)

Genre: Romance, futuristic romance

Bibliographic: Pocket Books, 336 pages, Mass Market Paperback List Price $7.99, , ISBNs 9780671569037, 9780671021436, 9781574901399, 9781451624014

Publication Date: October 1, 1996

Rating: ★★★☆☆/♥♥♥♡♡ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Futuristic, character-driven, fast-paced, steamy

Why I picked it up: This book was required reading for my readers’ advisory class. I would not have picked it up otherwise.

S.I.A.S.: Lucas Trent and Amaryllis Lark both have mysteries to solve, not least of which is why they are so drawn to each other.

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The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

5thseasonTitle: The Fifth Season

Author: Jemisin, N.K. (Author’s Website)

Genre: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic Fiction, Epic Fantasy

Bibliographic: Orbit, 512 pages, Paperback List Price $15.99, Audiobook List Price $23.60, ISBNs 9780316229296, 9780316324977

Publication Date: August 4, 2015

Rating: ★★★★★/♥♥♥♥♡ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Multiple perspectives, authentic, complex, world-building, compelling, gritty, lyrical

Why I picked it up: I’ve been making a point of reading novels that the Sad Puppies disapprove of, and when this one won the Hugo I bumped it way up on my list.

S.I.A.S.: Essun is on a quest to get her daughter back, even though the world is ending.

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Saints, by Gene Luen Yang

saintsTitle: Saints

Author: Yang, Gene Luen (Author’s Website)

Genre:  Graphic novels, historical comics, historical fantasy

Bibliographic: First Second, 176 pages,Paperback List Price $15.99, Box Set (with Boxers) List Price $34.99, ISBNs

Publication Date: September 10, 2013

Rating: ★★★★☆/♥♥♥♡♡ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Sympathetic, character-driven, moving, serious, bold illustration, cartoony, muted colors

Why I picked it up: It was assigned for discussion in my readers’ advisory class, along with Boxers.

S.I.A.S.: Vibiana has found a home in Catholicism, but many in China don’t understand or approve.

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Boxers, by Gene Luen Yang

boxersTitle: Boxers

Author: Yang, Gene Luen (Author’s Website)

Genre:  Graphic novels, historical comics, historical fantasy

Bibliographic: First Second, 328 pages, Paperback List Price $18.99, Box Set (with Saints) List Price $34.99, ISBNs 9781596433595, 9781480615113, 9780606323048, 9781466843806

Publication Date: September 10, 2013

Rating: ★★★★☆/♥♥♥♡♡ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors:  Sympathetic, character-driven, moving, serious, bold illustration, cartoony, muted colors

Why I picked it up: It was assigned for discussion in my readers’ advisory class (which was very exciting, since I really liked American Born Chinese).

S.I.A.S.: Bao is fed up with Christians taking over China, so he raises an army of Boxers.

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A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magicadarkershadeofmagic

Author: Schwab, V.E. (Author’s Website)

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

Bibliographic: Tor, 416 pages, Hardcover List Price $25.99, Paperback List Price $15.99, Audiobook CD List Price $29.99, Audiobook List Price $27.99, ISBNs 9780765376459, 9780765376466, 9781466851375

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Rating: ★★★★★/♥♥♥♥♡ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Likeable, strong female, plot-driven, world building, fast-paced, atmospheric, descriptive

Why I picked it up: I was given a free copy of the audiobook and decided to listen to it for INFO 220.

S.I.A.S.: Kell’s been smuggling between the Londons for years, now someone’s set him up.

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The Girl with Ghost Eyes, by M.H. Boroson

ghosteyes

Title: The Girl with Ghost Eyes

Author: Boroson, M.H. (Author’s Website)

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Mythological Fiction

Bibliographic: Talos, 288 pages, Hardcover List Price $24.99, Paperback List Price $7.99, Audiobook List Price 19.95, ISBNs 9781940456362, 9781940456669

Publication Date: November 3, 2015

Rating: ★★★☆☆/♥♥♡♡♡ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: strong female, action-packed, atmospheric, compelling, lush, richly detailed

Why I picked it up: A few months ago, I read Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie and absolutely loved it, and this book keeps getting recommended as a read-alike.

S.I.A.S.: Li-lin, a Daoist priest with the ability to see ghosts, has to use all her skills and cunning to try to defeat her father’s old enemy.

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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree StreetTitle: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Author: Pulley, Natasha (Author’s Website)

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Steampunk

Bibliographic: Bloomsbury, 336 pages. Hardcover List Price $26.00, Paperback List Price $16.00, eBook list price $10.99, Audiobook List Price $24.95.  ISBNs 9781620408339, 9781620408346, 9781410482242, 9781620408353.

Publication Date: July 14, 2015

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡ ♡ (The rating scale is here.)

Appeal Factors: Intricately plotted, atmospheric, compelling, richly detailed

Why I picked it up: I was thinking about reading this for awhile, since it was selected by the Book of the Month Club, but I didn’t quite want to commit to buying it in hardcover. When Audible included the audiobook version as part of a buy-one-get-one-free sale, I decided to take the plunge. It seemed interesting, because I really like fantasy set inside of real history — plus Gilbert and Sullivan make an appearance, which can only be a plus.

S.I.A.S.: A boring civil servant’s life is turned upside down when a mysterious pocket watch saves his life.

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