Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
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Shadow Hero Review

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny LiewThe Shadow Hero (2014)
by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew

The Shadow Hero is based on golden-age comic The Green Turtle, whose hero solved crimes and fought injustice. But this masked crusader was hiding more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity…The Green Turtle was the first Asian American superhero.

Seventy years later, Gene Luen Yang revives this nearly forgotten, pioneering character and creates an origin story for the golden-age Green Turtle.

Pin for laterAdd The Shadow Hero to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

Graphic Novel Review

Shadow Hero is a fun superhero story with great family dynamics and a lot of humor. Hank’s mom is a powerful force, and her prodding to make Hank a superhero keeps the story moving at a fast clip. Their interactions will make you laugh, as will the quiet reactions of Hank and his dad in the background.

Shadow Hero reclaims a little known figure from golden age comics and brings his story into the limelight. Yang and Liew bring us the origin story of the first Asian American superhero. The comic works in details from immigrant life at the time, and Hing’s artwork provides a vivid vintage feel. It’s a fascinating look into the history of comics, containing an excerpt from the original Green Turtle comics and research notes. We need more kinds of stories in the comic world, and Shadow Hero is a welcome addition.

Recommended for:
Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang* Light, funny superhero story
* Charming family relationships
* Cultural reclaiming of golden age comics

Add The Shadow Hero to Goodreads or see more reviews

Read for the 2015 Eisner challenge
2015 Eisner Nominee: Best Publication for Teens

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Ten Horror Stories to Creep You Out

Ten Horror Stories to Creep You Out

Here at Come Hither Books, I cover mostly science fiction and fantasy. But recently more horror has been sneaking onto my to read list. So here are Ten Horror Stories I’ve enjoyed in the last few years. Take a peek into the shadows with me.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyLeviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey
My review
Series: Expanse #1
Teaser: Leviathan Wakes starts out science fiction noir in a world of teeming spaceports and isolated outposts, then takes a turn into Lovecraftian horror as the plot races forward. Great cross-genre read.

Revival by Tim SeeleyRevival, by Tim Seeley
My review
Series: Ongoing graphic novel series
Teaser: The dead come back to life in rural Wisconsin. But they aren’t your standard zombies. The dead keep their memories and personalities. How do you make room for those you’ve already mourned? How do you move on if you’re stuck forever?

Wild Fell by Michael RoweWild Fell, Michael Rowe
My review
Series: Standalone
Teaser: For a hundred years, the townspeople of Alvina have prayed the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay locked away. Jameson Browning purchased Wild Fell to start a new life. But what lurks in the house is devoted to its darkness and guards it jealously. It’s been waiting for him.

Tokyo Ghoul by Sui IshidaTokyo Ghoul, Sui Ishida
My review
Series: Ongoing Manga Series
Teaser: Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with Rize. But she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls.

Bones and All by Camille DeAngelisBones and All, Camille DeAngelis
My review
Series: Standalone
Teaser: Coming of age with cannibals. Maren is on her own at sixteen, with a horrifying habit and nowhere to turn. She sets off to discover the truth about herself and finds a makeshift family of her own. Accepting who you are is hard enough, but it’s even harder when you’re a monster.

Through the Woods by Emily CarrollThrough the Woods, Emily Carroll
My review
Series: Standalone, Graphic Novel Collection
Teaser: This collection of creepy illustrated stories for young readers shouldn’t be the scariest thing on this list. But it is. Through the Woods will remind you of the things that crept into your dreams after bedtime.

Dead Set by Richard KadreyDead Set, Richard Kadrey
My review
Series: Standalone
Teaser: After her father’s funeral, Zoe and her mother moved to the Big City to start over. But Zoe’s grief leads down a dark path. In an overlooked record shop, her father’s life is stored on a record and she can listen. For a price. First, a lock of hair. Then, a tooth…

Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Madman’s Daughter, Megan Shepherd
My review
Series: Madman’s Daughter Trilogy #1
Teaser: A retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, with all the building horror and monstrous experiments you would expect, and the addition of a new narrator – Moreau’s sixteen year old daughter, Juliet.

Bunnicula by James HoweBunnicula, James Howe
My review
Series: Bunnicula #1
Teaser: Okay, fine. This series is more funny than scary, especially when reread as an adult. But there will always be room on my horror list for this kid’s classic. How can you not love the story of a sarcastic cat and loyal dog trying to defend themselves against a vampire bunny?

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake
No review, but it’s the book that started my current horror trend.
Series: Anna #1
Teaser: Cas is a hunter, trained to kill ghosts like his father before him. But he’s never faced a ghost like Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood has killed every person who steps foot in her house. Until Cas.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is books outside your comfort zone.

Drift and Dagger Review

Drift and Dagger by Kendall KulperDrift and Dagger
by Kendall Kulper (2015)

Mal used to have a home, a best friend, and a secret. He lost all three the day Essie Roe exposed him as a blank: someone unaffected by magic. Everyone hates and fears blanks—even Mal.

Now Mal travels the world in search of dangerous magical relics with his partner in crime, Boone. When they learn of a dagger that steals magic, Mal may have found a way to even the score.

Pin for laterAdd to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

Book Review

Let me get this out of the way first. Drift & Dagger is a companion book to Salt & Storm, which I’m not at all interested in (too much romance for me). But Drift is a heist novel in a fantasy setting, and you know how I am about those. Reviews say it can be read separately, and even advise reading Drift first, so I did. And yes, Drift stands alone just fine.

Drift & Dagger is set in nineteenth century New England, at the height of the whaling industry, and you can practically smell the salt in the air. The world is saturated with magic, for everyone but Mal. But what makes him an outcast also makes him a uniquely-skilled thief. His quest for an illusive artifact will take him around the world, delivering enough capers and narrow escapes for anyone else who might share my weakness for con men. (If you do, check out my list of Ten Heist Novels to Fall For.)

But it’s character which keeps the story grounded. If you like morally ambiguous heroes driven by painful pasts, Mal is your man. His childhood friendship with Roe, revealed in bittersweet memories, provides the context you need to understand Mal and the quest for revenge that drives him. Drift and Dagger is a fun, fast fantasy in a unique setting, and only a minimal amount of romance.

Recommended for:
* Fast-paced heists with magic
* Flawed, morally ambiguous heroes
* Unique historical setting

If you like Drift and Dagger, check out these book recommendations!

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Ten Fantasy Books for Music Lovers

Top Ten Musical Fantasies

Music soothes the soul and draws us to dance. The beat works its magic; toes start tapping and heads bop along. With such an elemental effect, it’s no surprise that music has inspired many fantasy authors.

Here are ten books which capture the magic of music on the page. Be warned: lyrical prose and rhythms that leak off the page may have you humming along or seeking out songs online.

Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
Series: Kingkiller Chronicles #1
Why: The son of traveling performers tells an epic tale of magic and adventure in the voice of a talented poet and natural musician. You’ll be spellbound.

Soul Magic by Terry PratchettSoul Music, Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #16
Why: If madcap comedy sounds to your tastes, try Soul Music. This zany tale of music with a mind of its own also works as a good entry point to the Discworld series.

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffreyDragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
Series: Pern Series; Harper Hall #1
Why: For old school fantasy, try Dragonsong, where a young woman denied her music runs away to find her destiny, and ends up teaching wild dragons to sing.

Signal to Noise by Sylvia Moreno-GarciaSignal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Series: Standalone
Why: If urban fantasy is more your style, try this little-known gem. Signal to Noise tells a tale of musical magic in Mexico City. Read with the soundtrack, filled with classic jazz, rock and roll and 80’s pop, in both English and Spanish. Read my review.

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex BledsoeThe Hum and the Shiver, Alex Bledsoe
Series: Tufa #1
Story: In the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the truth of the Tufa people hides in the music they’ve passed down for generations. Bronwyn Hyatt will have to reconnect to those roots if she is to stop the restless darkness rising in the hills. (Read with bluegrass soundtrack.)

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. MyerLast Song Before Night, Ilana C. Myer
Series: Standalone
Why: Travel to a high fantasy world of bards and poets. This song-infused fantasy is told in flowing, lyrical prose that creates the feel of music on the page. This tale of poets off to restore enchantments to the land is the perfect read to bring your musical journey to a close. Read the review.

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanSeraphina, Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Why: Seraphina is a gifted musician who joins the court just as a royal is murdered. The investigation threatens to reveal the secret of her musical gift, which could endanger everything.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackThe Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black
Series: Standalone
Why: Ben has the gift of fae music and plays bard to his sister’s knight. But fae magic is hard to control, and he swears off music after a horrible accident. To save the day, he’ll have to face his fears and reclaim his magic. Read the review.

The Naming by Alison CroggonThe Naming, Alison Croggon
Series: The Books of Pellinor #1
Why: Maerad is trapped in a hopeless life of slavery and war, until a bard selects her as his next student. But the two musicians have a long road ahead, filled with danger and dark forces.

The City of Dark Magic by Magnus FlyteCity of Dark Magic, Magnus Flyte
Series: City of Dark Magic #1
Why: This bizarre, raunchy cross-genre read features Beethoven, espionage, time travel, sex and humor all rolled up into one weird story. Read the review.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Music & Books.

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If you like 5th Wave – 10 Tales of Alien Invasion

If you like 5th Wave - Ten Tales of Alien Invasion for Teens. Young adult book recommendations from Come Hither Books

As 5th Wave hits theaters, it’s the perfect time to stay up late with an action-packed story of alien invasion and conspiracy. Each of these young adult stories features aliens on Earth. Whether they are friend or foe, strangers or the boy next door, you can’t miss with one of these great science fiction stories.

If you like 5th Wave, try one of these extraterrestrial tales today.

Ten Tales of Alien Invasion for Teens:

1. We Are the Ants | Shaun David Hutchinson
2. Illuminae | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
3. In the After | Demitria Lunetta
4. Ender’s Game | Orson Scott Card
5. The Knife of Never Letting Go | Patrick Ness
6. Shade’s Children | Garth Nix
7. Midnight City | J. Barton Mitchell
8. Rush | Eve Silver
9. Assault | Brian Falkner
10. I Am Number Four | Pittacus Lore

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie topic.

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Ten New Books To Read

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books To Be Read

My TBR is all about looking forward, and many are not yet released. I’ve included release dates after each title to make things easier. Here’s ten of the books I’m looking forward to right now.

Ten new books to read:

1. Into the Dim | Janet B. Taylor | March 2016
2. The Girl From Everywhere | Heidi Heilig | Feb 2016
3. The Abyss Surrounds Us | Emily Skrutskie | Feb 2016
4. Silver on the Road | Laura Anne Gilman | Oct 2015
5. The Steep and Thorny Way | Cat Winters | March 2016
6. A Criminal Magic | Lee Kelly | Feb 2016
7. Ghost Talkers | Mary Robinette Kowal | July 2016
8. Truthwitch | Susan Dennard | January 2016
9. Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard | Lawrence M. Schoen | Dec 2015
10. In Midnight’s Silence | T. Frohock | June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR.

Top 5 YA Science Fiction & Fantasy Releases – September 2015

Top 5 YA Picks - Science Fiction & Fantasy for September 2015

September promises some great YA genre novels. Here are the top five new and upcoming Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for young adults. The list includes fantasy, science fiction and dystopian reads. Don’t miss these great YA new releases!

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessThe Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? What if you’re Mikey? He just wants to graduate, go to prom and maybe work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone blows up the high school. Again. Sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here comes out October 6 from Harper Teen.
By the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsSix of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
In Ketterdam, anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
Six of Crows comes out September 29 from Henry Holt.
By the author of the Grisha Trilogy

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsCourt of Fives by Kate ElliottCourt of Fives – Kate Elliott
Jessamy acts like an upper-class Patron and dreams of the freedom of the Commoners. Away from her family, she trains for the Fives, an athletic competition that offers glory to the best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos. When Kal’s powerful uncle threatens to tear her family apart, she’ll risk royal vengeance to save them.
Court of Fives is out now from Little Brown Books.
YA debut by the author of the Spiritwalker trilogy

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsZeroes by Scott WesterfeldZeroes – Scott Westerfeld
Ethan has a way with words. But he’s not just a smooth talker. He says things he doesn’t consciously know. Now, the voice has lied and Ethan’s in trouble. He needs help from the last people who would want to help – his former friends, the self-named “zeros” who possess the same double-edged abilities.
Zeroes comes out September 29 from Simon Pulse.
By the author of Uglies and Leviathan

Add Lizard Radio to Goodreads or see more reviewsLizard Radio by Pat SchmatzLizard Radio – Pat Schmatz
Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by a nonconformist, she’s surrounded by uncertainty. What is she? Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Strange events at CropCamp raise questions Kivali has never had to consider. She has Lizard Radio, a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. Will it be enough?
Lizard Radio comes out September 8 from Candlewick Press.
By the author of Bluefish

The Wrath and the Dawn Review

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn
by Renee Ahdieh (2015)

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings death. Each night Khalid takes a new bride only to have her strangled come morning. When Shahrzad’s friend falls victim, she volunteers to be his next bride. She vows to end the reign of terror once and for all.

Each night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid with stories to survive another night. But incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself beginning to fall for Khalid. All is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. Can love survive in this world of stories and secrets?

Pin for laterAdd to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Highly Recommended
5 Stars - Highly Recommended

Book Review

The Wrath and the Dawn is a lushly written retelling of the Arabian Nights. Rich language and silver-edged dialogue live up to the premise, while the romance provides something new. By fleshing out the world and characters of Arabian Nights, Ahdieh accomplishes something special: a hate to love romance that actually makes sense.

The slow-burn, complicated romance made this story for me (which is rare). Highlight, for minor spoilers:

There’s none of that hate is just the other side of love nonsense. Instead, they get to know each other, and find that many of their reasons for hatred aren’t quite true. As they learn more about each other, they find reasons for love. But that still doesn’t forgive the things that they have done.

With dark magicks and deadly curses, The Wrath and the Dawn satisfies as a fantasy too. The world building, though based on our own history, is elaborate and well-developed. Rich details and beautiful prose paint a landscape that’s a pleasure to sink into as you read.

Recommended as:
* Beautifully-written retelling of Arabian Nights
* Swoon-worthy slow-burning romance
* Diverse read from non-Western culture

If you like The Wrath and the Dawn, check out these book recommendations!

None of the Above Review

None of the Above by I.W. GregorioNone of the Above
by I.W. Gregorio (2015)

Kristin Lattimer has everything. She’s homecoming queen and a champion hurdler, with a full scholarship. She’s madly in love, and ready for the next level.

But her first time doesn’t go as planned. A doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex. She has male chromosomes and boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

Book Review

None of the Above is a thoughtful and sympathetic view of what it means to be intersex. It’s emotional and informative, without feeling like it has a message to push.

It’s easy to get caught up in Kristin’s story. You learn along with her, and deal with the emotional fallout as her condition is exposed. Her reactions, and those of her friends and classmates, are 100% believable. None of the Above will make you think about gender sensitivity in a new way.

Recommended for:
* Fans of thoughtful, realistic drama
* Explorations of identity
* Anyone interested in gender roles & sensitivity

If you like None of the Above, check out these book recommendations!

Cinder Review

Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder Add Cinder to Goodreads or see more reviews
by Marissa Meyer (2012)

Recommended for fans of:
* Fast-paced, accessible science fiction
* Fairy tale retellings translated into the future
* Mild romance with a long, slow courtship and believable development

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder is a gifted mechanic and a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover the secrets of her past to protect her world’s future.
4 Stars - Recommended
My result: Recommended

Read the full review!