This month in the mine shaft: January


  • The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★
  • The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★
  • The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy ★★★★☆
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor ★★★★☆
  • Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells ★★★★☆
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick ★★★★☆
  • I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley ★★★★☆
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben ★★★★☆
  • Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★☆
  • Trickster by Jeff Somers ★★★★☆
  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal ★★★☆☆
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham ★★★☆☆
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling ★★★☆☆
  • I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi ★★★☆☆
  • Shade Chaser by Clara Coulson ★★★☆☆
  • Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern ★★☆☆☆






Onward to February! What’s on your to-read list?

Want to buddy read something?

Blogging, birthdays, and blogaversaries

The wonderful Audrey Writes Abroad launched this blog birthday tag to celebrate her blog year anniversary! Then Elizabelle tagged my buddy-read mischevian-in-crime Tash who tagged me, and so here we are. Happy Blogaversary, world!

The Rules:-

  1. Say you’re a champion out loud.
  2. Write a post in which you answer the questions below. (You can change or add questions if you want to.)
  3. Tag as many blogging champions as you wish so we can all create a huge chain of Champ Happiness and enlighten everyone’s day and possibly prompt a full hour of perfect World Wide Peace.
  4. Link this page in your post so I can read everyone’s answers and know more about you!

How old is your blog?

As of me writing this, my blog is exactly this old:

5 Years
8 Months
14 Days
18 Hours
25 Minutes
46 Seconds
Give or take a few days. My blog is a January baby that took its first steps on Tumblr before being unceremoniously dumped here.
Astrology sign: Aquarius.
Birthstone: Red garnet.
Mission: Books.

What was your blog’s first words?

My first ever post and book review starts, rather ominously, “A novel of the Liaden Universe, the front cover says.”

This first post (later reposted here from Tumblr) was a review of the space opera read, A Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Rather tellingly, it is a scathing one-star. It was closely followed by another review, titled, There’s a terrified reader down there.

While there have been a great number of five-stars, the dead canary hall of fame has included…

What are you most proud about your blog?

I should probably say something about books and reading and literature, but five years. Five years. That’s like, half a lifespan of a domestic canary.


If you had to describe your blog in one picture what would it be?


What are your hopes for your blog’s future?

I wouldn’t mind another five years of amazing.

In what Hogwarts House would your blog be and why?

Ravenclaw, because that raven wishes it were a bright, yellow canary.


I nominate anyone else who wants to celebrate their blog birthday!

Call for blurb submissions: Pitch Slapped is back!

Gosh, folks. It has been a while.

Here are the news: we’re resurrecting “Pitch Slapped,” a series on blurbs and pitches, in which authors send us their blurbs and blurbs-in-progress, and we break them down and offer critique and suggestions.

If you would like us to give your blurb a pecking, shoot us a note at or use our contact form. If you know someone who’s working on a story, send them (and their blurbs) our way too.


Chirp, where has the summer gone?

Summer is for the non-fiction birds.

This canary has gone off the reservation. Over the last few months, I’ve been off the radar, munching my way through the nonfiction selection of my local library. It’s been a bit of an adventure, but, as the summer winds down, I’m finding myself drifting back to my usual reading roosts in fantasy and science fiction.

But here are some of the highlights from my nonfiction adventures:

 Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog   Hallucinations Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the MindDrunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave
The Mind's Eye Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality The Woman Who Fell from the Sky The Snake Charmer: A Life and Death in Pursuit of Knowledge
Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety  Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty  Salt: A World History The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
 The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People  Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

My favorites of the bunch:

  The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of "Unadoptables" Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailArgo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History
 Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus Design Basics Index: A Graphic Designer's Guide to Designing Effective Compositions, Selecting Dynamic Components & Developing Creative Concepts

And onward! Keep an eye out for some advance reviews and book-chatter goodness.

Canaries, what have you been reading?

[ Small Chirp ] Making a comeback–Artemis Fowl

I was in line at a coffee shop when I got a book-reading tip from my dino-headed canary friend. There was an eighth Artemis Fowl book coming out,  the text message informed me.

“Whaaaat?” I said.

“Your coffee, ma’am,” the guy at the register explained, but that did nothing to clear up my confusion. An eighth book? I thought the Artemis story arc was over with the seventh book?

Then excitement set in. The Artemis Fowl series had it all–wit, adventure, brilliant and vivid characters, and a fun dose of plot action. And now, the series just might be making a comeback with Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian (July 2012). Continue reading

Readers, today is your last day to vote!

Canaries and Canary Friends!

Come vote for theCanaryReview at Goodreads and support our flock of fluffy yellow birds.

We are up for the Young Adult category in the Independant Book Blogger Awards. If you are a fan and enjoy our blog, please vote for us.


And we’d love to show you how much we appreciate your support. After you vote, shoot us an email at We’ll send you a canary doodle, a first-page review (if you’re an author), a bird-themed limerick, or something else that’s full of fun, feathery awesome. (And if you’ve already voted, have no fear–I have your emails on hand!)

Chirp! Vote now!

Independent Book Blogger Awards

This Week’s Mine Shaft–Upcoming Reviews

Coming this week…

Advance Review of Snuff by Terry Pratchett (Street Date Oct 11, 2011). I’ve been sitting on this book for over a month, and it’s almost time to let this advance review fly. Fly review, fly!

H.E. Ellis, author of The Gods of Asphalt, will be talking about her all-time favorite read–and that one book that deserves to be taken out back and beaten up–in our guest series, Best and Worst.

JediCanary will be taking us on a tour of the 20th Anniversary Edition of Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn and all the reasons it’s a must have.

Robin has told you all about it, but now, we’ll be giving you our side of the story. This Friday’s Pitch Slapped article will be a peek behind the scenes at our revision process.

If you’d like a heads up when we post, subscribe to The Canary Review or follow us on Twitter!

What are we reading?

JediCanary: The Hunger Games Trilogy (YA, Dystopia)

CanaryTheFirst:  Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce (YA, Fantasy) and Infidel by Kameron Hurley (Fantasy)

TheOtherCanary:  Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Lit Fic)

What’s on your reading list?

About Us

TheCanaryReview is an independent online reviewer with a focus on a variety of genres, including Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, and Young Adult fiction. We post regular articles and spoiler-free advance reviews.

Who are we?

CanaryTheFirst, Editor-in-Chief:

Naiya got lost reading and still hasn’t managed to clamber back to the land of the living. She has two degrees worth of literature, speaks three languages, and wants to be even more yellow and fluffy when she grows up. Her weaknesses include library cards, Mango Lassi, and amnesia plot twists.

Preferred genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Romance.

theothercanary, Senior Managing Editor

Science journalist by day, canary by night, Meg lives with a cat named Dragon and a computer named Steve. She has a writing degree from John Hopkins and a Nook that she plans to utilize to its full capacity the next time she needs to escape zombie raptors.

Preferred genres: Young adult, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Science Nonfiction.

Past Canaries:


MoonblindCanary, Reviewer Extraordinaire

This canary wrote her first 100,000 words when she was in middle school. One cat, a degree, and many cups of coffee later, Kat has several manuscripts and a fantasy series to her name. She spends her free time feeding the army of squirrel minions that live beyond the sliding glass door and traveling in her white car with panda markings.

You can find her personal blog at

Preferred genres: sword and sorcery, dark fantasy., Reviewer Extraordinaire

A born pirate, this canary was crossing oceans and commandeering her parents’ books since she’d barely hatched. These days she’s still flying from editing to youth work to grad school. In her free time, she spends as much time by the ocean or in the pages of a great book as she can. She’s planning to set up a nest with another dashing bird with the same swashbuckling spirit. Someday she will finish the entire stack of books by her bed. Yarr.

You can find her personal blog at

Preferred genres: Literary fiction, dark fantasy, magical realism, really good YA (really good anything).

A Stray Canary, Reviewer Extraordinaire

This California Canary is a born wanderer. After studying English and Russian Literature at Cal, she migrated to the Northeastern United States and set up nest in Philadelphia. She spends her days reading, writing, and rebuffing her loved ones’ attempts at domesticating her. You can follow her personal blog at

Preferred genres: 19th C. Russian, black humor and satire, Postmodern


If time and money were no issue, this canary would spend all day in the library. She has written poetry and fiction with banana slugs at UC Santa Cruz, taught English to high school students in France, and is currently completing an MFA in poetry. Catch up with her at

Preferred genres: Literary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Speculative Fiction


When she was six, Jennifer discovered the force and put her yapping pet dog on the roof. She was never the same after that, and neither was the dog. Her favorite drink is Tazo Refresh in a stainless steel thermos and her secret superpower is making students cry. She owns a light-saber and knows how to use it. Favorite authors include Peter David, David Sedaris, and Jim Butcher.

Preferred genres: Science Fiction, Star Wars, Fantasy.


Once upon a time, this canary decided she was gonna grow up to be a nurse.  Then she got side tracked by the catalog of Lit courses and ended up with a degree in English Lit, Education and too many minors. A self-professed romantic, she will read anything that strikes her fancy, Robin McKinley to Bill Bryson.

She has two adorable children and a loving husband and works at a full time job that is so horrible it is driving her back to Jesus. She gets to read all she want while biking or walking at the gym:  “You’ll know I’m working out if I have reviews posted.”

Preferred genres:  Fantasy, Fiction, Nonfiction, Nifty Fiction…


Become a Canary:

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a canary? Send us an email with your reading preferences, a writing sample, and why you want in on our feathery team.