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?

[Book Review] Possessed priest seeks renegade shaman

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold 


Penric, a demon-possessed sorcerer and a divine of the Bastard’s Order, is content doing scholarly things in the court of the Princess-Archdivine. But when an investigator needs the services of a sorcerer to track a runaway shaman accused of murder, the Princess-Archdivine assigns Penric to accompany Senior Locator Oswyl on his mission into the snowblown winter mountains to capture the shaman and bring him to justice.

Bujold has yet to disappoint. With a few deft strokes, she paints a cast of intriguing characters with rich internal lives and motivations. Brilliant pacing, an engaging plot, and all delivered with that deft  touch I’ve long come to associate with this series. This is also one of the few – if not the only – series (and I count all the Five Gods books in this) that I can think of that handles religion and fantasy beautifully, with a mixture of grace, humanity and irreverent humor. (Lackey’s Valdemar world is the only other one that comes to mind, but there, the spiritualism takes more of a ba Continue reading

[Book Review] Clocks, souls, and a bunch of pissed off werewolves

Shade Chaser by Clara Coulson

Shade Chaser.png

In the last book, we had rookie detective Calvin Kinsey take on an ancient, angry god-entity as it tried to murder its way through Aurora, Michigan. In Shade Chaser, murder and mayhem are afoot once again. When the former mayor, prominent city witch, and a local ware wolf are found brutally murdered in the basement of a popular city bar, it’s up to Cal and his gang of elite investigators to unravel an interspecies conspiracy.

Things (and buildings) continue to explode all over the place. Bodies are discovered in unexpected places. Cal continues to make questionable life choices. Continue reading

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!

[Book Review] Short stories and Shadowed Souls

Book Review: Shadowed Souls, edited by Kerrie L. Hughes & Jim Butcher

Shadowed Souls.jpgThis has been a great month for short story collections and Urban Fantasy. I just finished Patricia Briggs’ Shifting Shadows, a collection of stories from her Mercy Thompson werewolf world, when this book popped up on my radar. Shadowed Souls. Am I on a short-story-collections-that-have-‘Shadow”-in-their-title kick? Seems so!

So Shadowed Souls. Where do I start? How about with the list of authors:

Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff, Anton Strout, Kat Richardson, Kevin J Anderson, Lucy A. Snyder, Jim C. Hines, Erik Scott de Bie, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Rob Thurman.  Just writing out all these author names is setting my heart aflutter all over again. The stories span the entire spectrum of mood and tone, from playful banter and zany world-building, to chilling darkness and regret. Continue reading

Love, ghosts, and traitors in WWI London

The Book I Ended Up Reading. Cuz Cover.

Ghost Talkers

Yep. It’s historic fantasy, a genre I don’t often read, but after a couple weeks of agony and watching the publication date of this new release creep up on me (and past), I broke down and went for it.

Man, am I glad I did.

The Plot:

London. World War I. Ginger Stuyvesant is an American heiress and a powerful medium serving in the British Spirit Corps, a secret, spiritualist force in the military tasked with hearing the field reports of dead soldiers and passing along military intelligence. Continue reading

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